Linux Mint 17 on the MacBook Pro

  9 years ago


The MacBook Pro is a great piece of hardware and a very popular laptop. It's also quite fussy when it comes to compatibility because it's an Apple computer and because it ships with components which drivers aren't open-source. So for all these reasons it felt important for the dev. team to acquire one, not only to write this tutorial and make it easy for you to install Linux Mint on it, but also for us to learn a bit more about some piece of iconic hardware and adapt/improve Linux Mint with it in mind.

This tutorial focuses on dual-booting Mac OS and the Cinnamon Edition of Linux Mint on the MacBook Pro 13" with Retina display (version 11,1).

It might help people using other editions or different types/versions of MacBook laptops although some of the information might differ slightly or might feel less relevant.


Note: In this tutorial we'll be using a dedicated /home partition so your Linux Mint operating system will be on one partition and all your data on another. That makes it handy to upgrade the operating system later on without impacting the data.

Boot into Mac OS first and open the partitioning utility. You should see one big Apple partition. There are in fact a few more (one of them being the EFI system partition) but they don't reall matter right now.

Resize the Mac OS partition to free some space on the hard drive and create three new FAT partitions at the end of the disk:

  • a partition for Linux Mint (between 20GB and 50GB)
  • a parition for your home
  • a partition for the swap (4GB)

The swap doesn't need to be big. Whether you've got 4GB, 8GB or 16GB RAM on your macbook, a 4GB partition should be more than enough.

The Linux Mint partition is only for the operating system so it should be small also. Linux Mint takes less than 10GB when installed and that can grow to 20-30GB as you install applications.

The home partition is where all your files will be, your pictures, your music, your movies... your virtual machines.. etc.. so this partition should be as large as possible.


The installation is quite simple. There's just one extra step... after the installer is finished, we'll need to fix the EFI boot order.

So first, let's proceed as with any other installation:

  • Download Linux Mint 17 64-bit
  • Burn it to a USB stick using mintStick
  • Shutdown the MacBook Pro (you need to Shut it down properly, not just reboot it)
  • Stick the USB stick into the MacBook Pro
  • Keep your finger pressed on the Option key (which is also the Alt key) and turn on the computer
  • You should see an EFI menu asking you which volume to boot
  • Boot from the USB volume

Once in the live Linux Mint session:

  • Double click on "Install Linux Mint"
  • In the partitioning screen:
    • Ignore small partitions between the big ones (don't delete them though). Look at the partition sizes to recognize your mint, home and swap partitions.
    • Your mint partition should be formatted as ext4 and mounted on /.
    • Your home partition should be formatted as ext4 and mounted on /home.
    • Your swap partition should be formatted as swap.
  • The grub target can be left as /dev/sda (assuming that corresponds to your hard disk)

At the end of the installation, don't choose to reboot just yet. If you did and you already rebooted, simply boot on the live stick again (you don't need to re-install).

Fixing the boot order

This is hard to understand at first but trivial to fix. So let's start by explaining things a little and then we'll see how to fix it.

First, you don't need refit or refind or any exotic boot manager. Now that you've installed Linux Mint, you just need to fix two things:

  • Mac boots Mac OS by default. We need it to boot our Grub menu instead.
  • Grub detects Mac OS but doesn't know how to boot it, so we need to fix that as well.

From the live session, open a terminal and type the following command to install efibootmgr (this will work whether or not you're connected to the Internet):

  • apt install efibootmgr

Then run the following command to see your EFI entries and your boot order:

  • sudo efibootmgr

For technical reasons which are outside the scope of this tutorial, Linux Mint 17 uses the name "ubuntu" as its EFI identifier. So you can see your two operating system in efibootmgr's output:

  • Mint ("ubuntu") is at address "Boot0000"
  • Mac OS is at address "Boot0080"

Now, check the "BootOrder". It defines what to boot and in which order. Its value is at "0080", so it's basically booting Mac OS.

Let's change it with the following command, to make it boot Mint first (which is at "Boot0000", or "0") and then Mac OS (which is at "Boot0080" or "80"):

  • sudo efibootmgr -o 0,80

Run efibootmgr without arguments to check things up. The boot order should now indicate that it will run Mint first, and if that ever came to fail.. it would then run Mac OS. In other words our MacBook now boots into Grub. From there we can select Mint or press Escape and type "exit" to boot into Mac (we'll fix the Mac grub entries to make it exit without having to type anything later on in this tutorial).

So let's reboot now, and we should boot straight into Mint's Grub menu.

Connecting to the Internet

The Macbook Pro uses a Broadcom wireless chipset. To connect to the Internet, we need to install its driver.

  • From the menu, run Administration -> Driver Manager
  • The Driver Manager warns that it cannot install drivers... (because we're offline)
  • Plug in the Linux Mint USB stick you used to install the operating system.
  • Once it's mounted, press the "OK" button in the Driver Manager to dismiss the warning.
  • Select the "bcmwl-kernel-source" driver
  • Press "Apply changes"

Wait for a moment while the driver is installed.

You can then exit the driver manager and click on the network applet to reach a wireless network.

rmwiseman 2 months ago

I've installed Mint 21.1 on my mid-2009 15" Macbook Pro and it worked very well, thanks. I didn't have to change the boot order, which surprised me, but that's fine.

Something else that surprised me is that there seems to be no way of getting the grub menu to appear. Even when I change the GRUB_TIMEOUT_STYLE from "hidden" to "menu", I still don't see a menu. Interestingly, it does seem to take longer to boot in that case, perhaps due to the 10s timeout that I set.

It is also perhaps telling that when I booted just now, I tried hitting the Esc and enter keys a few times on the black screen before the Mint logo appears, and the logo never appeared! Could it be that somehow grub "thinks" the menu is being displayed when it isn't, and I've interrupted the boot process?

By the way, I can still boot to OS X by (re)starting and holding down the Alt key, then choosing the relevant disk in the EFI(?) boot menu.

One other point of note in my installation was that it took me a while to get the backlight sorted. I couldn't change it with the keys at all (and I hadn't found the brightness slider beneath the battery icon in the tray at that point!) but I followed and got it working. (I had a bit of trouble installing nvidia-bl-dkms and in the end used the .deb file from Then I had to mess with /etc/pommed.conf to get the initial level right, which wasn't entirely straightforward. The solution was trial and error really, but was a useful reference (e.g., helping me find my backlight's max_brightness value), and I eventually found that the lcd_sysfs section in /etc/pommed.conf was the relevant one for my Mac's screen backlight. The range shown in the config file was wrong for me, so I needed init=128 and step=16 to start at about 12.5% brightness.

PiedPiper 6 months ago

I've just used this tutorial word for word to install MInt 21 Vanessa on my mid 2012 13" Macbook Pro. It worked seamlessly. Well done Clem!

AlexFerreira 3 years ago

Salut Clem from Brazil!

I've done the install and it was quite easy merci!! right now I just have one doubt before changing the efibootmgr

I have two hardrives (sda = 2TB with High Sierra/ sdb [ssd] also running sierra)
I've set my partitions in the following order:

root and swap sdb
Home sda

here is a copy of my efibootmgr:

alexferreira@alexferreira-iMac:~$ efibootmgr
BootCurrent: 0000
Timeout: 5 seconds
BootOrder: 0000,0081
Boot0000* ubuntu
Boot0080* Mac OS X
Boot0081* Mac OS X

How should change in order to Grub appear ? Right now, it boots straight to Min (wich is great). If I want to use Sierra, I just press alt then choose the Apple boot loader
But just having GRUB doing it would be way better.

Here is a lista of my fdisk -l :

alexferreira@alexferreira-iMac:~$ sudo fdisk -l
[sudo] senha para alexferreira:
Disco /dev/sda: 1,8 TiB, 2000398934016 bytes, 3907029168 setores
Unidades: setor de 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Tamanho de setor (lógico/físico): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Tamanho E/S (mínimo/ótimo): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Tipo de rótulo do disco: gpt
Identificador do disco: AB72C4BB-C804-459E-98DB-A59F0AD8A0FE

Dispositivo Início Fim Setores Tamanho Tipo
/dev/sda1 40 409639 409600 200M Sistema EFI
/dev/sda2 409640 2950950103 2950540464 1,4T Apple HFS/HFS+
/dev/sda3 2950950104 2952219639 1269536 619,9M Apple inicialização
/dev/sda4 2952220672 3906766847 954546176 455,2G Microsoft dados básico

Disco /dev/sdb: 447,1 GiB, 480103981056 bytes, 937703088 setores
Unidades: setor de 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Tamanho de setor (lógico/físico): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Tamanho E/S (mínimo/ótimo): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Tipo de rótulo do disco: gpt
Identificador do disco: B7396C80-7FF7-4D95-A0C3-3B4DE48EF77C

Dispositivo Início Fim Setores Tamanho Tipo
/dev/sdb1 40 409639 409600 200M Sistema EFI
/dev/sdb2 409640 662519351 662109712 315,7G Apple HFS/HFS+
/dev/sdb3 662781952 702767103 39985152 19,1G Microsoft dados básico
/dev/sdb4 703030376 937440903 234410528 111,8G Linux sistema de arquivos

Again, thank you so much for putting this tutorial out! I will translate it to Brazilian Portuguese, So more people can benefit from it!
and I'm looking forward to hearing from you !!


Alexandre Ferreira

kh694 3 years ago

Hi, I am trying to dual boot Linux Mint 18.1 Cinnamon on my iMac Pro (2017). I have a bootable usb that loads perfectly normally from my Mid-2013 MacBook Air, but when I try it on my mac, I get to the first boot menu and if I choose:
- Start Linux I -> all I can get is a black screen
- Start Linux (Compatibility mode) -> I get a black screen or a login prompt, I can login with usr mint,

no password, but then not sure what to do with the terminal session .... I also get a blue screen and error from xorg that no screens are available
- OEM -> also black

I have tried editing the Start Linux and Start Linux compatibility with "nomodeset" and "radeon.modeset=0" to no avail

Is there anything more I can do? Am I in a driver black hole?


mcfl33go 3 years ago

Fast forward a few years...I have a 2012 Mac Mini running Linux Mint 19.1 - with an appropriate hostname: macmintosh! I've got an Apple Cinema Display connected via Thunderbolt and the display's built-in camera, microphone, speakers, usb ports -- all work. My only two unresolved issues are:

1) system runs fairly "warm" to the touch, not a huge concern, but I haven't been able to get any power management functions to work well
2) if I suspend or hibernate, upon coming out of sleep, the monitor is blank. only way to get system back is to power-button (which I configured to do an auto-shutdown), then power back on.

Any suggestions on how to get good power management, suspend/hibernate working properly on the macmintosh? I assume this would apply to MacBook Pro and Mac Mini too. Thanks!

erikapekop 6 years ago

Great Tutorial Clem!!
Thank you very much!!!

The missing part of making Grub work, so that OSX can be found and can be started is found here:
Thanks to Gary Newell!!

The missing part:

Fix the Grub boot menu
From within Linux Mint (not the live version, the installed version) open up the terminal window again (4th icon from left on the bottom panel).

Type the following:

sudo nano /etc/grub.d/40_custom

When the editor opens enter the following lines at the bottom:

menuentry "Exit to Mac OSX" { exit }

Press CTRL and O to save the file and then CTRL and X to exit the file.

Now run the following command:

sudo update-grub

Reboot your computer and you should now have a new menu option called "Exit to Mac OSX". If you want to use Mac OSX select this option.

erikapekop 6 years ago

I just -last night- installed Mint 18 Cinnamon on my iMac late 2009.
NVidia GeForce 9400 worked out of the box.
Wifi was a bit harder. It seems if mint 'saw' my modem/router, but it was a bit hard to fill in the protection-code. How I managed it, I don't know, but after an hour it works! (Wifi: Air Port Extreme -Atheros 9280)

It works pretty well as far as I can see. From the usb-stick it also worked fine.

***For burning Mint to the USB-stick I used
It says it can work, but it worked well. See the explanation: they show it to you.
You have to press the alt/option key for a long time to reach the efi boot manager.

I only can't boot OSX at the moment.

iMac 21,5 Inch late 2009: C2D 3,06GHz Ram 12GB

After shutting down my Mac is hard to restart. My keyboard doesn't work. But I'm afraid that is a hardware issue
(disconnect mains plug, press power button for a while and it works again, in my case I have to leave the plug out for a couple of hours)

DorianM 6 years ago

Can I follow this tutorial also for installing Mint 18 Cinnamon on an iMac (end 2013)? Many thanks.

ChristianMercat 6 years ago

Hello, I installed linux mint 17.3 'Rosa' Cinnamon 32 bits absolutely uneventfuly on my MacBook Pro. I had to manually install hibernate to have the usual behavior (suspend on closing the lid). Apart from that, it worked out of the box without having to fuss around.

CPU~Dual core Intel Core2 Duo T7500 (-MCP-) speed~2200 MHz (max) Kernel~3.19.0-32-generic i686 Up~4 days Mem~1752.9/3012.2MB HDD~120.0GB(31.4% used) Procs~177 Client~Shell inxi~2.2.28
Graphics: Card: NVIDIA G84M [GeForce 8600M GT]
Display Server: X.Org 1.17.1 drivers: nvidia (unloaded: fbdev,vesa,nouveau)
Resolution: 1440x900@60.0hz
GLX Renderer: GeForce 8600M GT/PCIe/SSE2
GLX Version: 3.3.0 NVIDIA 340.96

gabriele_bianchi 7 years ago

Hi @clem

I would like to report on the experience of installing Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon 64-bits on a Macbook Pro 15,4 Retina, mid 2015 (version 11.4) alongside Mac Os X.

I have followed all your step with success, except for the last one regarding installing the driver for Broadcom Wifi via Driver Manager. Wifi works immediately after installation, without the need to install extra drivers, and in my case trying to install the driver suggested, i.e bcmwl-kernel-source, crashed the system.

The system works only partially, with an excellent desktop experience but with a system that does not switch off, does not suspend or hibernate. The details of what works and what does not, and what I have tried to make it work, are describer here

fhd_castro 7 years ago

Hi @clem,

thanks for this great tutorial, It helped me a lot yesterday.
I installed Linux Mint 17.3 MATE 64-bits in single boot on my mom's @mpilarddc ( MacBook (Early 2008 - MB403LL/A, specs:

I followed these steps:

* Partitioning:
I used the option to "Erase disk and install Linux Mint" in the Installation, so I jumped this step.

* Installation:
Instead of USB I used a DVD, because my mom's MacBook doesn't boot via USB.
And "Erase disk and install Linux Mint".

* Fixing the boot order:
I installed in single boot, so I jumped this step.

* Connecting to the Internet:
I did what you teached and It works fine!

Linux Mint is running 100% :)

Today I will ask my mom to send her hardware information to the Community's Hardware database.

*Sorry for my english.


Crissa 7 years ago

Question: What am I supposed to see when booting from the USB stick?

I get two options to boot into Cinnamon and one to test integrity. No errors return on any of these three, but booting into Cinnamon leaves me at a dead underscore.

What went wrong?

clem 7 years ago


Regarding the MacBook Air, I think it's a hardware support issue and your HDD isn't recognized by the kernel.

We tested this with a 4.4 kernel and the disk was successfully recognized.

I would suggest to wait until the release of Linux Mint 18 which will feature this new kernel.

hzambran 7 years ago

I'm trying to install Linux Mint 17.3 64-bit on a MacBook Air (Early 2015), with OSX 10.11.3 (El Capitan).

I followed this tutorial, but when I boot from the Live Mint USB and I arrived to the "partitioning screen", I don't see any partition, and my /dev/sda seems to be empty.

What I've tried so far:

1) turn off the encryption of the hard disk

2) disable SIP protection and install rEFInd 0.10.2, which is working properly at boot time

However, my /dev/sda still seems to be empty.

Any help about how to manage to install Linux Mint on this MacBook Air would be very much appreciated.

neuroservices 7 years ago

Is there a (relatively) straight forward way to make iSight work so I can use Skype?

foobaron 7 years ago

Another useful article on using nomodeset to solve blank screen boot problems...

foobaron 7 years ago

Another relevant link on booting the installer with nomodeset:
(see garethTheRed's answer and comments);

foobaron 7 years ago

Just wanted to report one tip that was a life-saver for me on installing on Macbookpro 8,3 (17", 2011):

* attempting to boot 17.1 64 bit MATE installer from USB key would just hang when it attempted to activate radeon drmfb.

* key to getting past this was to add the "nomodeset" option as follows: on the GRUB menu, type 'e' to edit the boot command; append " nomodeset" to the end of the line that starts "linux ..."; type F10 key to boot. Then the installer boots and works fine! This was also necessary when trying to boot this installer on macbookpro 4,1 (15").

* then I installed mint 17.1 as usual. When the install complete dialog came up, following the instructions above I did not reboot, but instead fired up Terminal to install efibootmgr, run it to check that all was correct, and finally shut down, removed the USB key.

* on boot I again needed to add nomodeset. I held the F6 key on powerup, and when I got the GRUB menu, again followed the step above to add nomodeset to the boot command. Booted up great.

* to add that flag permanently, I followed these instructions ( edited grub settings by typing "gksudo pluma /etc/default/grub"; changed the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT setting to be: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash nomodeset"; saved and exited from pluma editor; ran command "sudo update-grub". Now my system boots fine.

The one problem I'm still experiencing is that the system cannot suspend: attempting to do so makes the system hang with blank screen and blinking cursor.

By the way, I also tried the 17.2 64 bit MATE installer the same way, but it hangs on something else, and was not rescued by the nomodeset option.

wisdomlight 7 years ago

1. What is the best way to use my mac to create a live usb with linux mint on it?

2. if after having installed Mint on my Mac i wish to uninstall it, how easy or difficult will it be?

Vedex 7 years ago

Great and well explained. It's help me a lot. Best regards

clem 7 years ago

My layout is Mac UK so it might be a bit different. My tilde is between left Shift and the Z key, it requires Shift to be pressed. My @ sign is 2 + Shift.

trxtr 7 years ago

I just installed linux mint on an old macbook. What a re leave...
But I have one problem - I cant find the "at" symbol! And I cant find the "tilde" symbol. any Ide.

prestonR 7 years ago

Installed 17.2 Mate 64bit on a Macbook Pro 5.4 (2009) following your instructions, all worked well.
A couple of points to note:
- booting non-efi using the 'windows' bootcamp partition option allows the live dvd/usb to load without a graphic problem but needs refit/refind to be installed since the efibootmgr can't work there. It also limits you to a 32bit Mint.
- booting USB via 'efi-boot' needs 'nomodeset' and GRUB_GFXMODE=1024x768x16 in order to succeed. Broadcom driver installed ok if you do not try to install it together with the nvidia! Leave the nvidia for now. Install was all good (installed mint as the only OS on the disk!) but the efibootmgr install needs internet to complete. On re-boot system hung. I restarted an picked the second grub option 'recovery mode', pressed 'ok' at the popup and got a desktop, opened driver manager, ticked nvidia 'recommended' and the driver installed! Rebooted and got a beautiful fully working system!
To Clem and everyone who is working on this; you guys are fantastic!

Mark_Mint 8 years ago

Here's a question for Clem and other developers on Nvidia support on the Macbook:

How does Linux Mint do what Ubuntu cannot? What I mean is the combination of EFI booting and Nvidia's native driver. If I install it through "Additional Drivers" on Ubuntu, my screen is black upon reboot, but on Linux Mint, installing the drivers through Driver Manager works just fine.

I keep reading that Nvidia's drivers and Macbooks booted in EFI mode just don't play well together, but on Linux Mint there's no issue with this. What's the magic you guys do to make it work?



foobaron 8 years ago

After reading through all this and trying to boot from Mint LiveDVD, I have a few questions:
* I was able to boot and install from the Mint 17.1 MATE 32 bit LiveCD on an old Macbook, but I have no success at all on two MacbookPros (15" Macbookpro4,1 and 17" Macbookpro8,3). On the 15", none of the Mint DVDs I tried (17.1 MATE 64 and 32 bit; 17 MATE 64 bit) even show up at all when I hold option-key during boot. On the 17", two CD icons show up, one labeled "Windows" and the other "EFI". The Windows icon leads to a blank screen hang. The EFI icon leads to a grub boot screen allowing me to choose between regular mint boot vs. compatibility mode. Both run for a while, then hang.

So is the conclusion that you CANNOT boot from Mint DVD, and therefore must use USB key method as used in this tutorial? I also tried booting my 17" from a USB key with Mint 17 installed on it, and also from a USB hard drive with Mint 17 installed on it. In both cases, the drive did not even show up as a choice when I hold option-key during boot. Perhaps this is due to not having run efiboot on this system.

ronlawrence3 8 years ago

Thank you, this was a great writeup. I struggled with not having my mint productivity in OSX (focus follows mouse anyone?), and had to be able to switch back to mint. I would add the following information, based on my recent experience with mint 17.1:

If you are going to use cinnamon and HiDPI kicks in and you use external monitors, be aware that the support for this is pretty bad. What I did was create some scripts using xrandr to set up my common setups with scaling and turn off cinnamon's support for HiDPI. There is no support (at least not yet) for different settings per screen. I will at some point figure out how to toggle off HiDPI in cinnamon before my xrandr for external monitors, and toggle it back on when I want laptop only.

For instance, here is my "mon-home" script, where I have a 1080p monitor to the left of my macbook:

xrandr --output DP-2 --scale .6x.6 --output HDMI-0 --scale 1x1 --left-of DP-2 --primary

2. If you want to live in both mac and linux, and want to share files, read this: . I also had to install hfsprogs and run fsck on my mac drive before it would mount, and I disable journaling in OSX before booting to mint and re-enable it when I boot to OSX

clem 8 years ago

@kiwigander: If it doesn't work, go for it. You've reasons to experiment. Also note that all Ubuntu kernels are built for the latest LTS... so whether it's written Vivid or Utopic or Trusty doesn't matter, they're all built for Trusty.

mattkwarr 8 years ago

Everything went well until I tried to connect to my wifi. I followed the steps for fixing the problem, but when I click OK on the message to insert the USB stick, the message doesn't go away. I tried selecting the driver and clicking apply. It shows a loading bar, but then goes right back to the previous selection. I have restarted, and nothing changes. I have also tried the process of building the driver from a tarball. Yet another task that Linux has made overly complicated. At this point, I'm ready to say to hell with Linux and stick with OSX, which works.

curtvaughan 8 years ago

I don't doubt this has already been addressed, and if I don't get an answer I'll dig myself. I have a 2006 vintage MacBook Pro (intel) with a gig of memory and an 80 GB disk drive. Apple will no longer supply updates - Steve Jobs, r.i.p. - so I really haven't much to lose by wiping out OS-X and trying to install Linux. I'm running various Linux distros, including a couple of Mints, on both a Dell mini-10 netbook and on Virtualboxes on my IMac. I am not interested in a dual boot on the old MacBook Pro - just want to install Mint XFCE or some slim version of Mint successfully. If dual boot isn't needed, will it be relatively simple to install Mint from a live USB? Thanks for any info.

Wild_Penguin 8 years ago

Hi, nice howto!

You may wan't to upgrade some things (like the bootup menu) from info from my HW entry: (the GRUB menu part), and from (the WLAN driver part).

Some details to get proper operation might be different between different MacbookPro/Air models. I needed to fix a few things, see my HW entry. Maybe tehre's a Mint wiki page somewhere =).

(p.s. I'm resubmitting this since links got stripped away, probably because some spammers forced the admins to put up a link filter... hopefully they got trough now)

clem 8 years ago


Just a quick note to let you know about 17.1 coming out very soon now.

In Cinnamon we added support for configurable 2-finger and 3-finger clicks (by default they right-click and middle-click.. in Cinnamon you can middle-click to close windows in the window list applet, and it's also handy for pasting text you selected with the 1-finger click, in terminals for instance.)

In MATE we added support for Compiz out of the box. Mileage may vary depending on drivers/GPU. On the 13" Macbook Pro (only has 1 Intel GPU), it works perfectly with the open source drivers.

I still don't have any news about the camera. I don't know anything about Yosemite yet either, I'll have to look into it.

alexsoin 8 years ago

Hi, guys. I run into issue after updating to OS X Yosemite. Can't start my Linux Mint from USB stick (which worked like a charm before). Probably that update from Maverick to Yosemite uninstalled grub partition. I don't even know how to save my data, I had so many file and programs and I have no options even to read that USB drive I used before... Do you have any ideas how to restore it back? Thank you in advance.

Mark_Mint 8 years ago

Thanks gonzlobo, macfanctld is really helpful. My 2012 non-retina Macbook Pro is now cool, yet quiet. That's after I configured the values in etc/macfanctl.config the following way: increased fan_min to 2500 from 2000, degreased all floor and ceiling temperature values by 8.

Rebel450: My MacOSX Mavericks was getting so annoyingly slow, always giving me the beachball on a cleanly-installed system, that I completely replaced it with Linux Mint. And I'm not looking back. Things are smooth and fast now, and no more autosave and versions nonsense.

The only thing I miss is the Dictionary, because the one I have now, Artha, is not nearly as good as the Oxford one on MacOSX. But I can live with that.

Rebel450 8 years ago

Great HowTo, thank you -
but I could not imagine only one Reason
for installing a Linux instead of OS X on it -
except for testing proposes may be

gonzlobo 8 years ago

Thanks for the suggestion about loading nvidia drivers. I've been using macfanctld which is highly configurable. In fact, my laptop is really cool (but loud).

Mark_Mint 8 years ago

My Mac is definitely hotter than running MacOS, but I think what helped a bit is to install the proper Nvidia driver as explained here:

Still warm, as I say, but bearable.

Mark_Mint 8 years ago

Williamb, sorry about this late reply. Have you actually tried to follow these instructions here, i.e. no fiddling with refit, refind or any such bootmanager? (You probably have, but what exactly happens?) It worked fine on my Macbook Pro, but mine is a mid-2012 model - 9.1, I think. Let me tell you exactly how I did it.
- In Apple's Disk utility, I just decreased the MacOS partition to make room for Linux Mint. Then I formatted the unused space as Fat32. That's all. Note that I did not create a swap or home partition, since Linux will create swap itself if we let it.
- Booted with the Mint USB live stick (DVD should work just the same way I guess). I found the easiest way to create the live stick was from MintOS live running in virtualbox on my Mac. Mint has an ISO image creator.
- Installed Mint, using the option to install next to Mac OS but letting Mint do all the rest.
Then changed the boot order while still in the live session, as explained in this blog above.
- Rebooted into my freshly installed Linux Mint OS.
- Plug USB or DVD back in to install the wireless driver through driver manager. Later install latest Nvidia driver as per these instructions (easy):

Good luck!

JoGusto 8 years ago

Followed these instructions installing Mint 17 x64 on my MBP 5,1. Already had a dual-boot OSX/Win7... created separate partitions for Root, Home, and swap. Now my machine will boot OSX from the (Options at powerup) boot menu (showing little drive pictures where you get to choose an OS), but not only do I not get anything Grubbish, I also cannot boot Windows... says Missing Operating System.

This latter part is the part that bothers me the most! I didn't have any data there yet, just the OS and some tools installed. Now I'll have to redo that work, unless someone has a clever "disk repair" strategy. Mint was great while it was running off the live USB mintstick, but my install seems to have gone way south! Help!

gonzlobo 8 years ago

My installation went beautifully, although I have to admit I didn't follow Clem's exact instructions (saw the thread too late). I only have a 6GB swap partition and a 44GB / partition.

My only 2 existing issues:
1. Screen brightness always defaults to full bright on login. Not too much of an issue.
2. Laptop (2012 macbook pro 13") runs pretty hot, especially when playing video.

Mark_Mint 8 years ago

Hi Williamb,

I'm not sure about that tutorial, in particular, I have not tried that tool that they use to create the bootable Mint USB drive (Mac Linux USB Loader).

Why do you ask? Have you had trouble with the instructions laid out here? Maybe we can help you out.

Mark_Mint 8 years ago

Me again. Just wanted to let you guys know that I've managed to fix the freeze on return from standby/hibernate. The problem, as I suspected, was the Nvidia card, or rather its driver. Standby works after I installed the correct one using these instructions:

Mark_Mint 8 years ago

Hi all, I'm new to Mint but have some user with Ubuntu.

Thanks for this great tutorial which I followed to the letter (except for extra home partition). I'm more than happy with the result, but two things bother me:

- Like Vostro1000 and jpdamigaman my 2012 Macbook Pro (Model 9,1) heats up a lot.

- My computer won't resume from standby or hibernate. It asks for the password, then fails to proceed, leaving just the clock screen.

I suspect the Nvidia card. Cannot install the propriatory driver. If I select any of the Nvidia drivers in Driver Manager, it just won't do it.

These issues also occour when running Mint off a live usb. Neither will stop me from using Mint, but would be great if we could work out how to fix them.

chejofan 8 years ago

Hi, everybody!

Finally, I could fix the backlight bug in my MacBook Air.
The instructions appear in the following web page:

And, what's more... Some tricks to improve the battery life are described. After, I applied them, I have noticed an clear improvement in energy saving, and no more overheat issues.

With the configuration described in the page, the battery life with Mint is almost as good as with OS X. Just amazing!!!

Best regards!

clem 8 years ago

I finally found some time to look at the touchpad plugin in cinnamon-settings-daemon. I added support for 2-finger and 3-finger clicks, to respectively emulate right-clicking (already works out of the box) and middle-clicking (which is useful to close windows, paste text in terminal etc..). This should come in Cinnamon 2.4 / Mint 17.1. We're also look at palm detection and syndameon configuration.

@jpdamigaman: No heating here. For grub, follow barone's advice. Regarding wifi, I only had DNS issues after suspending (that could be my network not being setup properly though). I added "nameserver" to /etc/resolvconf/resolv.conf.d/head to force DNS resolution.

barone 8 years ago

You can edit the grub boot menu to make an option to exit and then it will go to OSX automatically as mentioned in the article.

> gksudo gedit /etc/grub.d/40_custom

Then at the bottom of that file, add:

menuentry "Exit to Max OSX" {

Save, and then run
>sudo update-grub

barone 8 years ago

Reporting back. Just installed Linux Mint 17 on a MacBookPro 13 w/Retina. Very smooth, but it did need the efibootmgr trick that you described nicely.

I just resized the Mac partition and let the rest of the disk space be unallocated. Then Linux Mint did everything by itself, no questions about partitioning whatsoever. It made a 8.5GB swap partition and used the rest as the Linux partition. If you want a seperate /home partition, then you must resize and repartition yourself. This can be done with GParted, which is included in the Live USB stick. But repartioning beforehand like in the article would be quicker.

One strange thing is that my computer name in Linux Mint was made to be:
myusername-MacBookPro-Invalid-entrylength-DMI-table-is-broken-Stop. This can be easily fixed by editing the file /etc/hostname.

barone 8 years ago

@clem @alexsion OK, thanks. Will try soon when my MacBook arrives.

clem 8 years ago

@barone: I just format them as FAT temporarily just to make sure they're visible in the installer (although that might not be necessary). Then during the installation I use two of them as ext4 (/ and /home) and one of them for swap.

alexsoin 8 years ago

sure, linux mint installer will format partitions for you (most likely in ext4). see the necessary size requirements in clem's article.

barone 8 years ago

Is there any reason you create 3 FAT partitions for Linux? That sounds like a terrible idea. Or does the Mint installer change the filesystems later?

Is is possible just to leave the space unformatted, and partition in the Mint installer?

alexsoin 8 years ago

@hollywood, how did you fix your camera? I assume "everything is working fine" includes all necessary drivers and stuff... please let us know

chejofan 8 years ago

Hi! What a weird bug! Never heard about it. It might be a corrupted file. I'd try to download again the iso and do a new fresh install. I recommend you to use the USB ImageWriter tool of linux mint. It always worked fine to me.
I'm a little bit curious about why you decide to erase completely OS X. Could you tell me something about your reasons?
Thanks and good luck ;)

hollywood 8 years ago

Hello all,
I installed LM17 on my macbook air 7,1. I completly erased os x and therefore only run linux. Everything is working fine except a really annoying bug:
sometime my computer freeze, I may switch to tty but cant do anything from terminal because when the lapotop freeze, terminal get filled with white characters and only thing I can do is reboot. I have no clue of what cause the bug sometime it happens just after the boot, sometime after a while whith plenty of apps open. If anyone heard of such bug and have an idea of how to fix it, please let me know. Weird thing is that before installing LM I was running latest gnome ubuntu and I did not had such bug (so I guess it should not be an issue with drivers or kernel). Thank you in advance for your help.

clem 9 years ago

Hi, just a quick note to let you all know this tutorial isn't finished. I definitely want to cover the touchpad, how to fix Grub and a few other things. I'll continue to update it as I tinker more with the macbook.

chejofan 9 years ago

alexsoin, your right! The work the mint boys have done is completely amazing. Almost everything works out of the box, and in a such difficult hardware as Apple is. I use mavericks less every day either. And I agree with you... we have to promote linux in general and mint in particular. I have been I distrohopper for two years, and without any doubt Mint is the best distro out there, with a wonderful community. I will stay here, and I'm very happy pf being a little, little part of this wonderful project.
Thanks all of you, guys

alexsoin 9 years ago

And I should say that I'm impressed with the quality of open-source OS, at least in case of Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon distro. Taking into account that it would be supported up to 2019, it's simply the best you can get for now. hiDPI support, all controls work fine, very nice appearance (which is completely customizable as well), good battery life and all that beauty runs as a portable USB system! I'm using my Mavericks Mac OS less and less with every single day :) Again, thanks to CLEM for writing up "Linux Mint 17 on the MacBook Pro", let's promote this article guys!

alexsoin 9 years ago

chejofan, my MBPR has Intel Iris Pro Graphic system, so not NVidia (which is kinda messy in terms of drivers support in linux). Not sure if my laptop hibernates or suspends when I close the lid coz it's the only way I use while stopping my work time to time. Unfortunately I have very little skills in coding and understanding of different distros, kernels and specific software so I'm hoping to hear from professionals how to fix a couple things.

chejofan 9 years ago

Hi, Alexsoin: I think you don't have this problem because your computer uses a different graphic card (may Nvidia, instead intel graphic of MacBook Air). I have found that it's a reported bug that affects the newer versions kernel. It does nothing to do with the distro (affects mint, fedora, ubuntu, arch, ...) May be could be fixed adjusting some parameters, but I have skills enought to do it. In Arch forums I have found a provisional solution for this issue: choosing hibernate instead of suspend when the tap is closed. May be it's not the ideal solution, but it "just works" ;)
Here is the bug link:

Clem, could you help me? Thanks

alexsoin 9 years ago

chejofan, I never had that issue with brightness controls (and hope I won't have it). Macbook's screens are so extremely bright and almost impossible to use at 100% levels. I had to give up on Ubuntu because of non-working brightness controls and issues with Wi-Fi adapter. IMO, Mint is much better version of Linux in terms of appearance, performance and usability.

alexsoin 9 years ago

Guys, what do you think about "calise" or any other app automatically adjusting screen brightness using macbook's light sensor? I kinda getting tired to drop both screen and keyboard backlit from 100% to 20-30% every time I boot to Mint. Is there any option to save these settings?

chejofan 9 years ago

Hi everybody out there!

The bluetooth touch mouse from logitech works great with linux mint. I can even forget about the touchpad.
I have observed a issue: the brightness control doesn't work after resuming the computer. I think is kernel matter because it happens to ubuntu too. Any way to fix it?
My computer runs a little bit hotter under linux, but there is not significant difference. I haven't watched a different fan activity either. As far as I know the battery life is great too. May be the temperature issue depends on the model. Have you tried psensor for monitoring the temperature.
I can even import pictures and movies from the iPhone, without iTunes! Linux Mint is sooooo great! Congratulations.
Keep on your hard work.

alexsoin 9 years ago

Okibo, in my case linux mint 17 boots when usb key connected. I don't need to type or press anything. If usb key isn't connected MacOS boots from SSD drive, no need to type anything either. See chejofan's comments with codes for installing grub.

clem, I tried a lot of drivers and codes (from allover the net) for fixing the camera and nothing works for me :( I guess I'll have to reboot to MacOS when I need Skype. And still my laptop runs quite hot but almost silent especially in comparison to MacOS (which is way colder but sometimes fans can get noisy).

clem 9 years ago


The battery is pretty good and the laptop doesn't run too hot. Note that I don't know how that compares with Mac OS as I rarely use it. Also, the model I have uses an Intel GPU so mileage may vary with models equiped with dual intel+nvidia cards and I live in a cold country...

Brightness works out of the box, there's two keys for screen brightness and two keys for keyboard backlight. They all work as expected.

I didn't look into the webcam yet but I heard it didn't work at all under Linux.

Regarding thunderbolt, I just heard support was coming in kernel 3.16.

HiDPI won't work in MATE but it works in MDM and Cinnamon. GTK2 apps don't look great though. Based on your tastes you might prefer HiDPI or you might prefer to drop "down" (which actually gives you a higher resolution but at normal dpi) to 1920x1200.

chejofan 9 years ago


I'm very glad knowing that the instructions worked in your case. My computer (MacBook Air mid 2013 13') seems also hotter than running OS X.
Some questions to Clem and the community: Is this kernel a kernel matter? How this affect the laptop health? Does anyone knows about compared battery life in this two OS?
Thanks in advance.

alexsoin 9 years ago

chejofan, your manual worked for me. I had only to change the pathway (Live USB name) to install grub. So I'm running Mint 17 Cinnamon from USB key on my MBPR 15 and very happy with it. Gotta fix only 3 minor things: camera for skype calls, reduce heat levels since laptop feels much hotter than while running MacOS and re-install Mavericks on main SSD drive.

chejofan 9 years ago

No, I'm sorry. I didn't even try it. I will tell you everything I eventually figure out. ;)

alexsoin 9 years ago

chejofan, thanks a lot for your comment. I'll try your approach and let you know here. There's no problem with internet actually since even in live session you can udate Broadcast WLAN and wifi starts to work. I made a portable USB key with mint17 cinnamon in Windows using special software. But it creates only 4Gb of disk space for progs and stuff (it's ridiculously little). I've just installed Skype and Wine and it ate 1Gb :( BTW, do you know how to fix the camera?

chejofan 9 years ago

Same thing happened to me. I think the reason is that, as Clem says, the computer boots OS X by default. Once installed mint, you need to boot from live session again, install efibootmgr, and set the boot order. This instructions worked to me:
1. Mint is installed, but it doesn't boot. Turn on the computer, with alt key holded. You will entry in the boot option menú.
2. Select booting from the mint installation USB.
3. Once in the live session type:
A) apt install efibootmgr (no internet connection needed)
B) sudo efibootmgr -o 0,80 (to boot grub as default)
4. Reboot the computer. You will entry in grub menu.
5. Select mint.
I hope this will work. Tell me about your results ;)

alexsoin 9 years ago

I've just tested both Linux Mint 17 Mate and Cinnamon on my MBPR 15". System looks and works amazing (no issues with volume, screen and keyboard brightness controls) in test mode. Especially Cinnamon looks great, doing perfect job with scaling down 2880x1800 resolution. I run into problem with installation of Linux Mint 17 on (not FROM) USB stick. I'm creating 3 partitions on my 128Gb USB 3.0 key - primary "/" ext4 with 60Gb, primary "/home" ext4 with 60Gb, swap with 6Gb and 2Gb just free space. Bootloader location is same USB stick as well. So installer runs smooth gives no errors and stuff and I don't see booting option with my Linux while restarting Mac. Same trick worked with Ubuntu 13 and 14, it's image on USB was working fine (always showed as "Windows" volume alongside MacOS and Recovery on Alt/Option restarts). Ubuntu is kinda suck. Can someone please give me an idea what is wrong with my installation and how it could be possibly fixed. Thanks in advance.

alexsoin 9 years ago

Can somebody test how brightness controls work for Macbook Pro Retina on Linux Mint 17? Thanks

chejofan 9 years ago

Another issue: the adapter thunderbolt-vga doesn't seem to work... Any idea to fix it.
I really appreciate your atention, Clem.

clem 9 years ago

@bkjaya1952: Regarding EFI boot order I guess it would be similar for any distribution.

@chejofan: I'll write more info soon, including info about the touchpad. In Cinnamon 2.4 I'll also add support for 3 fingers features (for instance it's nice to be able to paste text by emulating two-buttons clicks when clicking with 3 fingers.. and that's something Cinnamon doesn't support yet).

chejofan 9 years ago

Hi, again!
Any instructions to configure the touchpad? Its functionalities seems a little bit limited.

chejofan 9 years ago

Hi, Clem!

Great tutorial. It works perfect in a 4th. gen. Haswell 13' MacBook Air. Now I have the best of both worlds.


peterldg 9 years ago

I'm am running Mint Cinammon 16 on a MacBook Air (Haswell) - Very nice integration. Couple of issues:

-Quick scrolling on a webpage with lots of text results in artifacts. More details here:

-Also, I haven't figured a way to get the webcam to work.

I use Mint everyday and I am continually impressed. Thanks!

anandrkris 9 years ago

@ Clem - You have a good memory. Yes, have the mighty Mint Box II. (I had wanted a Mac Monitor for Mint Box but was told Thunderbolt is what is natively supported.) Well, men love their gadgets and never get satisfied. My Bro is a big apple fan, you see, and Mac Book is in wishlist for ages.

To be frank, I posed the question on HiDPI so that others can benefit. Maybe you were planning to touch on that aspect anyways.
- Hopefully applications will start changing when HiDPI display becomes mainstream.
- Thats why SVG format is welcome, i suppose. I love new Cinnamon 2.2 icons.
- Firefox working well is welcome news, for what use is system without a fine browser. :-)
- Thats no Consolation.

clem 9 years ago

Hi anand, didn't you buy a mintbox already? :)

I didn't look into the GPUs and drivers yet, but out of the box you're in 2560x1600 and Cinnamon 2.2 (which comes with hidpi support) compresses it to 2 pixels by 1x1 (so it looks like 1280x800 in terms of resolution, but it's twice the dpi of a normal screen).

Now, with that said.. although Cinnamon itself scales properly, that doesn't mean everything is smooth:

- GTK2 apps don't scale properly and look weird.
- Apps which use PNG icons don't scale perfectly.
- Firefox 29 looks good (very good in fact) but only after you modify a setting in about:config.
- The console looks tiny.

Of course you can turn hidpi OFF (when you do that it actually looks like 2560x1600... and everything's tiny) and lower the resolution to 1920x1200 for instance... and everything's in normal scale again.. but well, it's normal dpi :(

It will take time before all apps adapt to it I guess.

anandrkris 9 years ago

Great tutorial...Will be helpful when I buy Mac book :-)Cinnamon 2.2's HiDPI support will help in better retina display or they're are not related?

clem 9 years ago

The touchpad is another area where we can probably improve things a lot. You can get two-finger scrolling, even horizontally without much hassle, but when it comes to emulating the middle-button for instance (to paste text) or defining advanced settings, you're down to using synclient as the Cinnamon Settings for Mouse and Touchpad don't expose enough functionality.

That's not urgent of course so it's unlikely to be looked at prior to the Mint 17 release, but it's another example of how new hardware helps us refining software in Linux Mint.

clem 9 years ago

Sorry it's not finished yet. That MacBook Pro helped us identify problems with Mint and fix them at the same time.

For instance, drivers installation in offline mode was tedious in Mint 16. People needing broadcom drivers couldn't connect to the Internet without an ethernet cable and very few people knew how to install drivers in offline mode.

That got fixed yesterday. For a laptop like this one it makes a huge difference. It means you can launch the Drivers Manager, be told to insert the installation media, click two buttons and next thing you know you're connected to the Internet.

clem 9 years ago

@twodogs No I mean Mint 17. I know it's not released yet but it's going to span across the next two years. It's a huge release and it's just around the corner.

bagjunggyu 9 years ago

Thank you for Great Tutorial

twodogs 9 years ago

You mean Linux Mint 16, right?