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How To Dual-Boot Ubuntu and MacOSX on a Mac: Step-by-Step Guide

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In today’s digital world, having the flexibility to switch between different operating systems can be a valuable asset. This guide will walk you through the process of setting up a dual-boot system with Ubuntu and MacOSX on a Mac. This means you will be able to boot your Mac into either MacOSX or Ubuntu, depending on your needs.

Quick Answer

Yes, it is possible to dual-boot Ubuntu and MacOSX on a Mac. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this post, you can set up a dual-boot system that allows you to switch between the two operating systems on your Mac.

Prerequisites

Before we begin, ensure that you have a backup of all important data. The process involves partitioning your hard drive, which can lead to data loss if not done correctly. You will also need a USB drive with at least 2GB of storage and the latest Ubuntu ISO file, which can be downloaded from the Ubuntu website.

Step 1: Partitioning Your Hard Drive

1.1 Open Disk Utility

On your Mac, navigate to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.

1.2 Create a New Partition

Select your hard drive from the left panel and click on the ‘Partition’ button. Click on the ‘+’ button to create a new partition.

Note: The size of the partition depends on your needs, but it should be at least 20GB for Ubuntu.

1.3 Format the New Partition

Format the new partition as ‘MS-DOS (FAT)’ and give it a name, for instance, ‘UBUNTU’.

Step 2: Creating a Bootable Ubuntu USB Drive

2.1 Download and Install Etcher

Etcher is a free and open-source utility for flashing images to SD cards & USB drives. Download it from the official website and install it on your Mac.

2.2 Flash the Ubuntu ISO File

Open Etcher, select the downloaded Ubuntu ISO file, choose your USB drive, and click ‘Flash!’.

Step 3: Installing Ubuntu

3.1 Restart Your Mac

Restart your Mac and hold down the ‘Option’ key as it boots up. This will bring up the boot menu.

3.2 Select the USB Drive

From the boot menu, select the USB drive that you flashed with the Ubuntu ISO file.

3.3 Install Ubuntu

Follow the on-screen instructions to install Ubuntu. When asked about installation type, select ‘Something Else’.

3.4 Select the Partition

In the list of partitions, select the ‘UBUNTU’ partition that you created earlier. Click on ‘Change…’, select ‘Ext4 Journaling File System’ for the format, and set the mount point as ‘/’.

3.5 Install the Boot Loader

Ensure that the boot loader is installed to the ‘UBUNTU’ partition. You can do this by selecting the ‘UBUNTU’ partition in the ‘Device for boot loader installation’ dropdown.

3.6 Finish the Installation

Click ‘Install Now’ to finish the installation. Once the installation is complete, restart your Mac.

Step 4: Setting Up the Boot Manager

4.1 Install rEFInd

rEFInd is a boot manager that will allow you to choose between MacOSX and Ubuntu when you start your Mac. Download it from the official website and install it on your Mac.

4.2 Restart Your Mac

After installing rEFInd, restart your Mac. You should now see a menu that allows you to choose between MacOSX and Ubuntu.

Congratulations! You now have a dual-boot system with MacOSX and Ubuntu. You can choose the operating system you want to use each time you start your Mac. This setup provides the flexibility to take advantage of the strengths of both operating systems.

Can I dual-boot Ubuntu and MacOSX on any Mac?

No, not all Macs support dual-booting. It depends on the model and specifications of your Mac. It is recommended to check the compatibility of your specific Mac model before attempting to dual-boot.

Will dual-booting Ubuntu and MacOSX delete my data?

Dual-booting involves partitioning your hard drive, which can potentially lead to data loss if not done correctly. It is crucial to have a backup of all important data before starting the process.

Can I choose which operating system to boot into each time I start my Mac?

Yes, after setting up the boot manager (rEFInd), you will have the option to choose between MacOSX and Ubuntu each time you start your Mac.

How much space should I allocate for the Ubuntu partition?

The size of the partition depends on your needs, but it is recommended to allocate at least 20GB for Ubuntu. However, you can allocate more space if you plan to install additional software or store large files on the Ubuntu partition.

Can I remove Ubuntu and revert to only using MacOSX?

Yes, you can remove Ubuntu and revert to using only MacOSX. However, this process involves deleting the Ubuntu partition and restoring the boot manager. It is recommended to follow a proper guide or seek assistance to ensure a smooth removal process.

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