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Reason: please use the first argument of the template to provide a brief explanation. (Discuss in Talk:Mac)

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Reason: Mentions AIF (/arch/setup). (Discuss in Talk:Mac)
Warning: ARM architectures are supported by Arch Linux ARM. However, it doesn't support M1 or future generation chip yet. For Linux support information for Macs with M1 chip, see Asahi Linux project. Both Arch Linux ARM and Asahi Linux are downstream projects that not officially endorsed by Arch Linux, you may go to Arch Linux ARM Forum and Asahi Linux Community for help.

Installing Arch Linux on an Apple computer is quite similar to installing it on one from any other manufacturer. However, due to specific hardware configurations, there are a few deviations and special considerations which warrant a dedicated guide. For more background information, please see the Installation guide and UEFI. This guide contains instructions that can be used on any Apple computer whose hardware is supported by the Linux kernel. Please see the "related" pages for model-specific tips and troubleshooting.

Overview

Summed up, the procedure for installing Arch Linux on a Mac is:

  1. Firmware updates: It always helps to start from a clean, backed up, and up-to-date install of macOS.
  2. Partition: Resizing or deleting the macOS partition to create partitions for Arch Linux.
  3. Setup boot loader: Making sure that the new partition is bootable.
  4. Install Arch Linux: Actual installation.
  5. Post-installation: Mac-specific configuration.

Firmware updates

Before proceeding with the installation of Arch Linux, it is important to ensure that the latest firmware updates for your Mac are installed. This procedure requires macOS. In macOS, open the App Store and check for updates. If your Mac finds and installs any updates, make sure to reboot your computer, and then check again for updates to make sure that you installed everything.

Note: If you uninstalled macOS or want to reinstall it, Apple has great instructions.

It is advisable to keep macOS installed, because Mac firmware updates can only be installed using macOS. However, if you plan to remove macOS completely, make backups of the files in /Library/ColorSync/Profiles/Displays/, which you will need in Linux for adjusting the color profile.

Partitions

Partitioning of the storage drive is no different from any other PC or laptop. However, if you plan on keeping macOS for dual booting, you should consider that, by default, a Mac drive is formatted using GPT and contains at least 3 partitions:

  • EFI: the ~200 MB EFI system partition.
  • macOS: the main partition containing your macOS installation. It is formatted using HFS+.
  • Recovery: A recovery partition present in almost all Macs running OS X 10.7 or newer. It is usually hidden from macOS but can be viewed with partitioning tools.
Note: In Macs that use the Apple Fusion Drive, the partition scheme could be different.

How to partition depends on how many operating systems you want install. The following options will be explained:

Arch Linux only

This situation is the easiest to deal with. Partitioning is the same as any other hardware that Arch Linux can be installed on. Please refer to the standard Installation guide for details.

Note: It is advisable to disable the Mac startup sound before proceeding with partitioning. Just boot in macOS, mute your system sound and reboot again to the Arch Linux Installation media. Please keep in mind that the volume of the startup sound can only be modified reliably in macOS.

If you want to configure your system in order to have full-disk encryption, please look at the Dm-crypt/Encrypting an entire system page for details.

An example for a very basic partitioning, that does not consider a separate /home partition nor encryption or LVM, is the following:

partition  mountpoint  size    type  label
/dev/sda1  /boot       200MiB  vfat  EFI
/dev/sda2  /swap       adjust  swap  swap
/dev/sda3  /           remain  ext4  root

Once done, you can continue to #Installation.

Arch Linux with macOS or other operating systems

You need to partition your hard drive while keeping the partitions used for macOS/Windows. If you wish to keep macOS, the easiest way is to use partitioning tools in macOS and then finish with Arch Linux tools.

Warning: If your macOS partition is encrypted with FileVault 2, you must disable the disk encryption before proceeding. After the macOS partition has been resized, FileVault 2 can be re-enabled.

Procedure:

  • In macOS, run Disk Utility.app (located in /Applications/Utilities)
  • Select the drive to be partitioned in the left-hand column (not the partitions!). Click on the Partition button.
  • Add a new partition by pressing the + button and choose how much space you want to leave for macOS, and how much for the new partition. Keep in mind the new partition will be formatted in Arch Linux, so you can choose any partition type you want.
  • If the above completed successfully, then you can continue. If not, then you may need to fix your partitions from within macOS first.
  • Boot the Arch installation media or LiveUSB by holding down the Alt during boot. Proceed with #Installation.

It is possible to resize the newly created partition from within the Arch installation media, or delete it in order to proceed with the creation of other partitions (eg. swap).

Tip: Instead of cluttering your drive with different partition, it is possible to use a swapfile instead of a dedicated partition. Another solution can be setting up LVM in order to use the newly-created partition as a container. Please refer to the linked articles.

Option 1: EFI

  • Run cgdisk

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Reason: This should explain why Mac OS "likes" gaps between partitions. (Discuss in Talk:Mac)
  • Delete the partition you made in Disk Utility.app and create the necessary partitions for Arch Linux. macOS likes to see a 128 MiB gap after partitions, so when you create the first partition after the last macOS-partition, type in +128M when cgdisk asks for the first sector for the partition. More information about Apple's partitioning policy can be read here. A simple example (no LVM, crypto):
Note:
  • The swap partition is optional on machines with 4GB of RAM or more. A swap file can be created later.
  • The easiest dual-boot option is to install rEFInd from inside macOS, to its root directory (default for install.sh). Following that, copy the driver folder from the installation tarball into the new rEFInd location, and uncomment the lines "scan_all_linux_kernels" and "also_scan_dirs" options in refind.conf. Configuration of boot options can then be done from a refind_linux.conf in Arch's /boot directory.
  • If you want to be able to boot GRUB from the Apple boot loader, you can create a small hfs+ partition (for convenience, use macOS to format it in Disk Utility.app afterwards). Follow the GRUB EFI install procedure, and mount your /efi directory to the hfs+ partition you created. Finally, finish up again in macOS by blessing the partition. This will set GRUB as the default boot option (holding alt at startup goes to the boot options screen still. See https://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/7468.html).,
  • An existing EFI system partition can be used by Arch Linux without needing to create an additional one.
  • For more information on partitioning, see Partitioning
partition  mountpoint  size          type  label
/dev/sda1  /efi        200MiB        vfat  EFI
/dev/sda2  -           ?             hfs+  macOS
/dev/sda3  -           ?             hfs+  Recovery
/dev/sda4  -           100MiB        hfs+  Boot Arch Linux from the Apple boot loader (optional)
/dev/sda5  /boot       100MiB        boot  boot
/dev/sda6  -           ?             swap  swap (optional)
/dev/sda7  /           15-20GiB      ext4  root
/dev/sda8  /home       remaining     ext4  home

Once done, you can continue to #Installation.

Option 2: BIOS-compatibility

  • Run parted as root.
  • Delete the empty space partition and partition the space as you would for any other installation. Note that MBR is limited to 4 primary partitions (including the EFI system partition). That leaves 2 primary partitions for Arch. One strategy is to have a system and home partition, and use a swap file (I have not tried to use logical partitions). Another is to dedicate one partition to a shared partition (see below).
  • Next, create new filesystems on those partitions which need them, especially the partition which will contain /boot. If you are not sure how to do this using mkfs.ext2 (or whatever), run /arch/setup and work through until you get to Prepare Hard Drive and use the "Manually configure block devices..." option, then exit the installer. This is necessary so that rEFIt will set the right partition type in the MBR in the next step (without an existing filesystem, it seems to ignore the partition type set by parted), without which GRUB will refuse to install to the right partition.
  • At this point you should reboot your computer and have rEFIt fix the partition tables on your hard drive. (If you do not do this, you may have to reinstall GRUB later on in order to have your Mac recognize the Linux partition.) When you are into the rEFIt menu, select update partition table, then press y. Reboot.
  • Done, you can continue with #Installation.

Setup boot loader

Using the native Apple boot loader with systemd-boot (Recommended)

Apple's native EFI boot loader reads .efi files located inside the EFI system partition at /EFI/BOOT/BOOTX64.EFI. Luckily, this is also the default install location for the systemd-boot binary. This means that booting linux using systemd-boot is very simple.

  • First, make sure you mounted the EFI System Partition at /boot
  • Proceed with #Installation normally
  • Once inside the chrooted environment, type the following command to install systemd-boot:
    # bootctl --path=/boot install
    The above command will copy the systemd-boot binary to /boot/EFI/BOOT/BOOTX64.EFI and add systemd-boot itself as the default EFI application (default boot entry) loaded by the EFI Boot Manager.
  • Proceed to systemd-boot#Configuration in order to correctly set up the boot loader

At the next reboot, the Apple Boot Manager, shown when holding down the option key when booting the Mac, should display Arch Linux (it will be displayed as EFI Boot as a possible boot option.

Tip: If you installed Arch Linux alongside macOS, you will be able to change the default boot location from system Settings inside macOS. If Arch Linux does not show up as a possible boot option, you will have to mount the EFI System Partition inside macOS before selecting your boot option:
$ diskutil mount disk0s1

Using the native Apple boot loader with GRUB

Installing GRUB to existing EFI system partition

If you would like to use GRUB as your main boot loader and use the "boot while holding the Alt/Option key" method to go back to macOS rather than using alternatives such as rEFIt (http://refit.sourceforge.net/, mentioned previously in #Option 2: BIOS-compatibility) then you must install GRUB to your Mac's already-existing EFI system partition.

The process is similar to #Using the native Apple boot loader with systemd-boot (Recommended). Just follow GRUB#Installation and add --removable when running grub-install.

Installing GRUB to a separate HFS+ partiton

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Reason: Uses partial upgrade procedure and explicitly lists many basic commands. (Discuss in Talk:Mac)

Despite using UEFI, the Mac native EFI boot loader does not use the EFI system partition for booting. Instead, it looks for .efi files inside all the partitions in internal and external drives and shows them as possible boot options if certain conditions are satisfied. For example, it can detect an existing macOS installation after checking that:

  • there is a partition formatted as HFS+
  • the partition contains the partition id af00
  • in the root of that partition, there is a file called mach_kernel
  • inside that partition, there a boot.efi file inside /System/Library/CoreServices

This means that configuring an Arch installation to be automatically recognized by the Mac boot loader is possible. Moreover, it simply requires a properly-formatted HFS+ /boot partition and does not require meddling with the EFI system partition. The advantage of this method is that it can coexist with macOS nicely and allows to avoid other boot loaders such as rEFInd. However, this requires manual configuration. The following steps will illustrate how to perform this configuration using GRUB.

  • First, while configuring a new Arch installation, create a separate /boot partition. Many tools are available in the Arch ISO, for example cgdisk.
  • Make sure the partition is at least ~250 MB in size, since it will be used to store the kernel as well as any custom kernel you will install in the future. Moreover, make sure the partition type is set as Apple HFS/HFS+ (it will appear as Apple HFS/HFS+ in fdisk/cgdisk or af00 in gdisk)
  • Since the Arch installation ISO does not include the hfsprogsAUR package, we need to install it in the installation environment before proceeding with formatting the new partition as HFS+, install hfsprogsAUR, then:
# modprobe hfsplus
# mkfs.hfsplus /dev/sdXY -v "Arch Linux"
Warning: Once inside the chrooted environment, do not forget to install the hfsprogsAUR package on the newly installed system as well. After the installation of the package, regenerate the initramfs while chrooted.
  • Once inside the chrooted environment, install the grub and efibootmgr packages.
  • Also, create a dummy mach_kernel file
# touch /boot/mach_kernel
# mkdir -p /boot/EFI/arch && touch /boot/EFI/arch/mach_kernel
  • The following steps install the GRUB UEFI application to /boot/EFI/arch/System/Library/CoreServices/boot.efi and install its modules to /boot/grub/x86_64-efi.
# grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=/boot

After that, remember to create a standard configuration file:

# grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

As you can see, the directory structure of the boot.efi is not correct, as the /System/Library/CoreServices directory is not supposed to be a subdirectory of the /boot/EFI/ folder. For this reason, we need to relocate the boot.efi stub in a location the Mac boot loader is able to recognize:

# mv /boot/EFI/arch/System/ /boot/
# rm -r /boot/EFI/

After that, you need to create the following file

/boot/System/Library/CoreServices/SystemVersion.plist
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<plist version="1.0">
<dict>
       <key>ProductBuildVersion</key>
       <string></string>
       <key>ProductName</key>
       <string>Linux</string>
       <key>ProductVersion</key>
       <string>Arch Linux</string>
</dict>
</plist>

At the next reboot, the Apple Boot Manager, shown when holding down the option key when booting the Mac, should display Arch Linux as a possible boot option. Selecting that option will boot GRUB.

Done! GRUB can now be selected on the standard Mac boot loader and you can boot into your newly installed Arch Linux.

Tip: After the installation, it is optionally possible to set a custom icon that will be displayed in the Mac boot loader. In order to do that, you need to install the wget, librsvg and libicns packages. After that, just follow the following commands:
$ wget -O /tmp/archlinux.svg https://archlinux.org/logos/archlinux-icon-crystal-64.svg
$ rsvg-convert -w 128 -h 128 -o /tmp/archlogo.png /tmp/archlinux.svg
# png2icns /boot/.VolumeIcon.icns /tmp/archlogo.png
$ rm /tmp/archlogo.png
$ rm /tmp/archlinux.svg

Obviously, you can replace the Arch logo with any other icon you like.

Other methods

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Reason: Section that describes boot loader setup for other setups should be revised and re-structured into more readable way (Discuss in Talk:Mac)
Tip: rEFIt is a popular boot loader for EFI-firmware computers (including Macs). It can be installed at any time during the installation. For instructions, please see #rEFIt.

If you are going for an Arch Linux-only setup, installing the boot loader is no different than on any other machine: Install systemd-boot, rEFInd or other boot loader of your choice.

If, on the other hand, you are dual/triple booting, then read on.

Using blessing

It is possible to boot directly from GRUB in EFI mode without using rEFIt through what is known as "blessing" after placing GRUB on a separate partition. These instructions are known to work on a MacBook7,1. It is advisable to host GRUB on either a FAT32 or HFS+ partition, but ext2 or ext3 may also work.

After the GRUB install is in the desired location, the firmware needs to be instructed to boot from that location. This can be done from either an existing macOS install or an macOS install disk. The following command assumes that the GRUB install is in /efi/grub/ on an existing macOS partition:

# bless --folder /efi/grub --file /efi/grub/grub.efi

Installation

Note: This section is only required if you want to have macOS installed along with Arch Linux. If not, follow the steps in the official install guide, then skip to #Post-installation.
  • Boot from the Arch Linux install CD, or from a manually created bootable USB drive.
Note: Some Mac users report strange keyboard output such as long delays and character doubling. To fix this problem, boot with the following kernel parameters: arch noapic irqpoll acpi=force.
  • Proceed through the installation as described in the Installation guide except in the following areas:
  • When the install process is complete, reboot your computer.
  • If using optical media, hold down the eject key as your Mac starts, this should eject the Arch Linux install disk.
  • If dual-booting macOS and Arch Linux, hold down the Alt (option) key while the system boots to use the Mac boot loader and select which OS to boot.

Tips and tricks

Color Profile

We can use color profiles from macOS.

First, install the xcalib package.

Second copy pre-saved color profiles placed in /Library/ColorSync/Profiles/Displays/ on macOS partition to ~/colorprofiles/ for example.

There are color profile files agree with in MacBook models; select the right one:

  • Color LCD-4271800.icc for MacBook Pro with CoreDuo CPU
  • Color LCD-4271880.icc for MacBook with Core2Duo
  • Color LCD-4271780.icc for MacBook (non-Pro) based on CoreDuo or Core2Duo.
Tip: Also macOS allows to save current color profile from Displays > Color section of the Mac OS System Preferences, in this case file is saved to /Users/<username>/Library/ColorSync/Profiles.

Finally you can activate it by running

# xcalib ~/colorprofile.icc
Note:
  • The previous command sets the color profile only for the current session: autostart it.
  • GNOME will revert the profile set by xcalib. It is preferable to set the profile using Color in settings.

Apple Remote

Install and configure lirc. See LIRC.

Make LIRC use /dev/usb/hiddev0 or /dev/hiddev0:

/etc/conf.d/lircd
#
# Parameters for lirc daemon
#
LIRC_DEVICE="/dev/usb/hiddev0"
LIRC_DRIVER="macmini"
LIRC_EXTRAOPTS=""
LIRC_CONFIGFILE="/etc/lirc/lircd.conf"

Use irrecord to create a configuration file matching your remote control signals:

# irrecord -d /dev/usb/hiddev0 -H macmini output_conf_file

Start lircd.service and use irw to check if it works.

Alternatively, use the following:

/etc/lirc/lircd.conf
begin remote

  name  lircd.conf.macbook
  bits            8
  eps            30
  aeps          100

  one             0     0
  zero            0     0
  pre_data_bits   24
  pre_data       0x87EEFD
  gap          211994
  toggle_bit_mask 0x87EEFD01

      begin codes
          Repeat                   0x01
          Menu                     0x03
          Play                     0x05
          Prev                     0x09
          Next                     0x06
          Up                       0x0A
          Down                     0x0C
      end codes

end remote

HFS partition sharing

Install hfsprogsAUR and use fdisk to list the partitions:

# fdisk -l /dev/sda
   Device  Boot     Start         End      Blocks   Id  Type
/dev/sda1               1          26      204819   ee  GPT
/dev/sda2              26       13602   109051903+  af  Unknown
/dev/sda3   *       13602       14478     7031250   83  Linux
/dev/sda4           14478       14594      932832+  82  Linux swap / Solaris

The "Unknown" partition is our macOS partition, which is located in /dev/sda2. We can use this in our fstab:

/etc/fstab
/dev/sda2    /path/to/shared/hfs_partition     hfsplus auto,user,rw,exec   0 0

It can then be mounted, and the content accessed.

HFS+ Partitions

Journaling

HFS+ partitions, now the default in macOS, are not fully supported by Linux and are mounted as read-only by default. In order to write to an HFS+ partition, the safe way is to disable journaling. This can be accomplished using the macOS Disk Utility. Refer to this Apple support page for more information or try to do it from the command line:

Find your partition:

# diskutil list
/dev/disk0
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *750.2 GB   disk0
   1:                        EFI EFI                     209.7 MB   disk0s1
   2:                  Apple_HFS macOS                   149.5 GB   disk0s2
   3:                  Apple_HFS Macintosh HD            599.2 GB   disk0s3
   4:                 Apple_Boot Recovery HD             650.0 MB   disk0s4

In this example we will use disk0s3 partition named as Macintosh HD. To know if journaling is activate or not you could execute:

# diskutil info /dev/disk0s3 | grep -i journal
    File System Personality:  Journaled HFS+
    Name (User Visible):      Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
    Journal:                  Journal size 49152 KB at offset 0x1176000

As you can read the journaling is active. To turn off the journaling you could execute:

# diskutil disableJournal disk0s3

To verify it is done execute the info command again.

If you get noting as output, then journaling is disabled.

However, if you fail to disable journaling. You can change "auto,user,rw,exec" in /etc/fstab to "auto,user,force,rw,exec" and mount it.

Yosemite and later

This section addresses error message when mounting hfsplus partition:

# mount -t hfsplus dev/sdX force,ro
wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/sdX, missing codepage or helper program, or other error.

Since Yosemite, HFS+ partitions are now wrapped a CoreStorage volume. Verify that you have an CoreStorage volume.

# fdisk -l /dev/sdX
Disk /dev/sdX: 298.1 GiB, 320072933376 bytes, 625142448 sectors
Units: sectors of 1* 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 4096 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes
Disklabel type: gpt
Device      Start      End         Sectors    Size     Type
/dev/sdX1   40         409639      409600     200M     EFI System
/dev/sdX2   409640     623872871   623463232  297.3G   Apple Core storage
/dev/sdX3   623872872  625142407   1269536    916.0M   Apple boot

HFS+ uses two volume headers, one 1024 bytes into the device and one 1024 from the end of the device. With the HFS+ partition wrapped in the CoreStorage volume the end of the partition is not actually 1024 bytes from the end of the /dev/sdX2 partition. To fix this you need to specify sizelimit=X when mounting.

To determine sizelimit do the following:

  1. Run testdisk /dev/sdX and select your drive
  2. Select EFI GPT
  3. Select Analyse and then Quick Search

Sample output:

TestDisk 7.0, Data Recovery Utility, April 2015
Christophe GRENIER <grenier@cgsecurity.org>
https://www.cgsecurity.org

Disk /dev/sdX  - 320 GB / 298 GiB - CHS 38913 255 63
    Partition     Start      End        Size in sectors
P  EFI System     40         409639     409600  [EFI]
P  Mac HFS        409640     623147815  622738176
P  Mac HFS        623872872  625142407  1269536

What you see now is the output of the HFS partition itself without the CoreStorage volume. Take the size in sectors (622738176 in this example) and multiply by the number of bytes in your logical sector size (512 in this example).

622738176 * 512 = 318841946112

Finally, mount your disk with the sizelimit=X option.

 mount /dev/sdX -t hfsplus -o ro,sizelimit=318841946112

UID synchronization for home sharing

In macOS

Note: It is strongly recommended that UID/GID manipulation be done immediately after a new user account is created, in macOS as well as in Arch Linux. If you installed macOS from scratch, then this operation is guaranteed to work after logging into your account for the first time.
Step 1: change UID and GID(s)

The default UID and GID on Arch Linux for a user is 1000, adjust the following steps according to your setup.

Pre-Leopard
  1. Open NetInfo Manager located in the /Applications/Utilities folder.
  2. If not done for you already, enable access to user account transactions by clicking on the closed lock at the bottom of the window, and entering your account password, or root password if you have created a root account.
  3. Navigate to /users/new_user_name
  4. Change the UID value to 1000
  5. Change the GID value to 1000
  6. Navigate to /groups/new_user_name, automatically saving the changes you have made so far.
Note: If you get an error message that the transaction is not allowed, log out and log back in.
Leopard

In Leopard, the NetInfo Manager application is not present. A different set of steps is required for UID synchronization:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click on Users & Groups.
  3. Unlock the pane if not already done so.
  4. Right-click on the desired user and select Advanced Options.
  5. Write down the value of the User ID field, you will need it later on. Change both the UID and GID to match the UID and GID of the account to be shared with in Arch.
Step 2: change "Home" permissions
  1. Open up Terminal in the /Applications/Utilities folder.
  1. Enter the following command to reclaim the permission settings of your home folder:
# find /User/your_user_name -user your_old_UID -exec chown your_user_name:your_user_group {} \;

In Arch

To synchronize your UID in Arch Linux, you are advised to perform this operation while creating a new user account. It is therefore recommended that you do this as soon as you install Arch Linux.

Now you must substitute Arch's home with macOS's home, by modify entries of /etc/fstab.

Mute startup chime

The startup chime volume is controlled by the EFI variable SystemAudioVolume-7c436110-ab2a-4bbb-a880-fe41995c9f82. So it can be muted with

# printf "\x07\x00\x00\x00\x00" > /sys/firmware/efi/efivars/SystemAudioVolume-7c436110-ab2a-4bbb-a880-fe41995c9f82

Bear in mind that the file may have the immutable bit set by default, which will prevent even root from overwriting the file. See File permissions and attributes#File attributes. To remove it, issue the following:

# chattr -i /sys/firmware/efi/efivars/SystemAudioVolume-7c436110-ab2a-4bbb-a880-fe41995c9f82

After that, run the printf command and it should overwrite the file properly. Verify the file's contents and then set the immutable bit again with chattr +i once satisfied.

Alternatively, you can use a macOS install disk to mute the chime. Boot from it, select language, then click Utilities > Terminal, and enter

# /usr/sbin/nvram SystemAudioVolume=%percentage
Note: Required formatting of the value provided for key SystemAudioVolume may differ depending on models and perhaps the version of macOS install media. If the above command fails to work, try enclosing the value in double quotes.

Troubleshooting

Merge-arrows-2.pngThis article or section is a candidate for merging with Mac/Troubleshooting.Merge-arrows-2.png

Notes: This section is long enough to be split into a dedicated subpage. (Discuss in Talk:Mac)

Tango-edit-clear.pngThis article or section needs language, wiki syntax or style improvements. See Help:Style for reference.Tango-edit-clear.png

Reason: Duplicated information, does not comply with Help:Style. (Discuss in Talk:Mac)

See General recommendations for system management directions and post-installation tutorials like setting up a graphical user interface, sound or a touchpad.

Video

Different Mac models have different graphic cards. To see which graphics card you have type:

$ lspci | grep VGA
  • If it returns a string containing Intel, read Intel graphics.
  • If it returns NVIDIA, read NVIDIA.
  • If it returns two lines, with both NVIDIA and Intel, your Mac has dual graphics. See MacBookPro10,x#Graphics for an example of one such setup that might apply in other cases.
Warning: Despite lots of confusion in online forums, the dual graphics on Mac are not Optimus-based, and treating them as such will break your graphics. See instead MacBookPro10,x#Switching to/from GPUs with gpu-switch or your laptop's specific article for instructions on setting up graphics switching.
  • Otherwise if it returns ATI or AMD, read ATI.

NVIDIA

If you boot in EFI mode and NVIDIA binary drivers are working only in BIOS mode (e.g. you get black screen on EFI boot), try the approach described on Ask Ubuntu.

For the backlight to work properly you may need the nvidia-bl-dkmsAUR package. If backlight control does not work afterwards, you should blacklist the apple_bl kernel module. If backlight control does not work even this way, try setting options nvidia_bl max_level=0x1ffff shift=11 in /etc/modprobe.d/nvidia_bl.conf.

Alternatively, you can choose to use the pommed-lightAUR package. If you do so, you may wish to change the step settings in /etc/pommed.conf.mactel to something around 5000-10000 depending on how many levels of brightness you desire (the max brightness is around 80000).

If the brightness does not function correctly through pommed, make sure you have installed the nvidia-bl-dkmsAUR package and insert

find . -name "*" -exec sed -i 's/mbp_backlight/nvidia_backlight/' '{}' \;

into the second line of the pommed PKGBUILD build() function and rebuild the package. See the following forum post for details.

Another possible solution is:

find . -name "*" -exec sed -i 's/nvidia_backlight/apple_backlight/' '{}' \;

Alternatively, run nvidia-settings, edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf and add this line into the Device section:

Option "RegistryDwords" "EnableBrightnessControl=1"

Save, reboot and check if the backlight control works. See Ubuntu's Wiki page for the MacBookPro5,5 for details.

iMac 2020 (with AMDGPU and 5k retina resolution)

Merge-arrows-2.pngThis article or section is a candidate for merging with Laptop/Apple.Merge-arrows-2.png

Notes: This should be moved to the model-specific page. (Discuss in Talk:Mac)

It seems amdgpu driver has problems to set the native 5k resolution. If the display gets corrupted during boot when amdgpu driver module is loaded, try forcing a lower resolution. Add e.g. video=2560x1440@60 to your kernel parameters.

Touchpad

The touchpad should have basic functionality by default. A true multitouch driver which behaves very similarly to native macOS is included in the xf86-input-mtrack-gitAUR package. Configuration options are documented in the readme.

The following mtrack options work well on a MacBook7,1:

 Option "Thumbsize" "50"
 Option "ScrollDistance" "100"

Probably, you also need to add:

 MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event10"

To disable tap-to-click (that is, to press down to click) by default, add the following to your mtrack configuration section

   Option          "TapButton1" "0"  
   Option          "TapButton2" "0"
   Option          "TapButton3" "0"

Natural scrolling

To configure natural two finger scrolling similar to macOS, refer to Touchpad Synaptics#Natural scrolling.

If you are using xf86-input-mtrack-gitAUR, you can simply swap the scroll up and scroll down buttons (along with the scroll left and scroll right):

/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-mtrack.conf
  ...
  Option "ScrollUpButton" "5"
  Option "ScrollDownButton" "4"
  Option "ScrollLeftButton" "7"
  Option "ScrollRightButton" "6"
  ...
Tip: For users looking to add more of macOS's multitouch gestures to Arch, xSwipe for Synaptics or fusuma for libinput provide these functions.

Older MacBook models

On older MacBook models (pre-multitouch, e.g. MacBook2,1), the touchpad will not function properly until you install xf86-input-synaptics. See Touchpad Synaptics for details.

Tip: gpointing-device-settingsAUR provides a simple GUI for configuring Synaptics.

Keyboard

Mac keyboards work by default. For swapping Fn keys with Fx keys see Apple Keyboard.

Map them with xbindkeys or through desktop environment preferences. Alternatively, install the pommed-lightAUR package.

Edit the /etc/pommed.conf according to your hardware, building it from /etc/pommed.conf.mac or /etc/pommed.conf.ppc example files.

Note that you can also run it without a configuration file, the defaults may work for you. Then enable/start pommed.service.

Note: See the Xorg input hotplugging page for other configuration information.

Keyboard backlight

The keyboard backlight is controlled by /sys/class/leds/smc::kbd_backlight. Write the desired value to brightness in that directory.

Both acpilight or kbdlightAUR (stalled since 2015) allow to control keyboard backlight though scripts. With the appropriate udev rules or sxhkd they allow light-level changes without being root.

Alternatively you might want to check out the Keyboard backlight wiki page.

Ensuring the keyboard backlight is on when entering the LUKS decryption password

This can be done via initcpio hooks. First, create an executable install script:

/etc/initcpio/install/mac_kb_backlight
#!/usr/bin/env bash

build() {
  add_module applesmc
  add_runscript
}

Next, create an executable hook:

/etc/initcpio/hooks/mac_kb_backlight
#!/usr/bin/env bash

run_hook() {
  if [ -f "/sys/class/leds/smc::kbd_backlight/brightness" ]; then
    echo 100 > "/sys/class/leds/smc::kbd_backlight/brightness"
  fi
}

Finally, add this custom hook to the HOOKS array in /etc/mkinitcpio.conf, and ensure it is placed before the encrypt hook:

HOOKS=(... mac_kb_backlight encrypt ...)

Remember to regenerate the initramfs images after these steps to include the custom script.

Wi-Fi

Different Mac models have different wireless cards.

You can easily check what card you have:

# lspci | grep Network
Note:
  • If your connection frequently drops, you may have to turn off Wi-Fi power management.
  • Eduroam or similar may crash your network manager. Simply delaying the connection after login should do the trick.

Fan Control

macfand-gitAUR is a fan control daemon that supports most Intel Macs, its configuration file is located at /etc/macfand.conf.

mbpfan-gitAUR is available for MacBook Pro users.

Power management

Powerdown is a very simple to set up set of scripts what will maximize your battery duration. A MacBook Air 2013 with powerdown provides about 11 hours of light usage with just powerdown installed. All the usual power management recomendations apply as well.

Disabling Thunderbolt

Linux still has poor power management for Thunderbolt adapters on Macs. This can cause the TB adapter(s) to be always-on and prevent the CPU from going into the deepest power-saving states [1], drawing ca. 2W additional power even when not in use [2]. An easy way to see the CPU states is using powertop. The problem arises when the CPU does not go below C3 as a package (Pkg%pc3).

One workaround is to add acpi_osi=!Darwin to the kernel parameters, thereby telling the firmware that the system is not compatible with macOS [3]. This should disable the TB adapter (at least on older Macs), and thus reduce power consumption greatly, but will probably come with side-effects (e.g. no Thunderbolt, maybe others?).

It is also possible to blacklist the thunderbolt module and then putting the controllers to sleep with

# echo auto > /sys/bus/pci/devices/0000:07:00.0/power/control

Check the correct device number with lspci. This can also be automated. This method reduces power consumption slightly, but still consumes 0.9 W more than the previous method on a MacBook Air 2013.

Suspend and hibernate

Issues were reported where the machine would "suspend immediately after resume" in certain conditions when suspending by closing the lid. This was solved by setting the option "sleep-inactive-ac-type" to "nothing" using dconf-editor, option path: org → gnome → settings-daemon → plugins → power).

See Suspend and hibernate for details on how to configure hibernation. Noticeably, you will need a swap partition or file (see the mentioned article for further instructions).

Slow wake ups from a suspend state can be resolved by disabling Thunderbolt. See #Disabling Thunderbolt.

Wake up after suspend

Occasionally a Mac laptop may wake up immediately after suspending. This may not be immediately evident as the screen may stay off despite the system being awake, and can be checked by seeing whether the keyboard backlight stays on.

In /proc/acpi/wakeup, check to see that XHC1 and LID0 are enabled. If they are, one can temporarily disable just LID0 with the following to see if the issue resolves

# echo XHC1 > /proc/acpi/wakeup

To make the change persistent, create:

/etc/systemd/system/suspend-fix.service
[Unit]
Description=Fix for the suspend issue
[Service]
Type=oneshot
ExecStart=/bin/sh -c "echo LID0 > /proc/acpi/wakeup"
[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

And then enable/start suspend-fix.service. To wake the system from this point, use the keyboard.

If this doesn't resolve the issue, XHC1 may be the issue and one can disable both it and LID0 temporarily with the following to see if it goes away.

# echo XHC1 > /proc/acpi/wakeup && echo LID0 > /proc/acpi/wakeup

Disabling only XHC1 is not recommended if you have this bug, since it may result in glitchy behavior. Disable both on every boot as follows:

/etc/systemd/system/suspend-fix.service
[Unit]
Description=Fix for the suspend issue
[Service]
Type=oneshot
ExecStart=/bin/sh -c "echo XHC1 > /proc/acpi/wakeup && echo LID0 > /proc/acpi/wakeup"
[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

To wake the system from this point, only the power button can be used.

Light sensor

The values can be read from /sys/devices/platform/applesmc.768/light: it returns two-tuples like (4,0).

If you want to use the built in light sensor to automatically adjust screen and keyboard backlight brightness:

  • Lighter — A simple perl script, easy to fine-tune. Ignores the second value - which always seems to be 0 - and uses the first number as measured environment lighting brightness value.
https://github.com/Janhouse/lighter || not packaged? search in AUR
  • Lightum — Requires Gnome or KDE but is older and more complete than Lighter
https://github.com/poliva/lightum || lightum-gitAUR

Sound

First of all follow ALSA wiki page, then if something does not work correctly, continue reading this part.

Kernel options

Edit your /etc/modprobe.d/50-sound.conf or /etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf appending this line:

options snd_hda_intel model=intel-mac-auto

This should automatically specify the codec in your Mac.

Warning: Every time you change /etc/modprobe.d, test it by rebooting.

Specific models may need more help. You can try specifying other options according to your hardware. All possible settings are listed in Kernel Documentation, available online:

Model-specifics

Merge-arrows-2.pngThis article or section is a candidate for merging with Laptop/Apple.Merge-arrows-2.png

Notes: This should be moved to the model-specific page. (Discuss in Talk:Mac)

For example, if you have a MacBookPro12,1, you might need

options snd-hda-intel index=1,0

instead. Alternatively, for MacBookPro5,X, you can use:

options snd_hda_intel model=mb5

(note that the jack output is controlled with "HP").

If you have an iMac8,1, you should instead use

options snd-hda-intel model=mbp3 position_fix=2

For Aluminium iMacs, see iMac Aluminium#Getting sound to work right

For MacBook2,1 (late 2008/early 2009)s with a SigmaTel STAC9221 A1 chip, use

options snd_hda_intel model=macbook

Disabling S/PDIF

Some (most?) Mac models have an optical S/PDIF audio jack in the same jack as the headphone jack. You can see it when it is active as a red light glowing out of the headphone jack. It can trick PulseAudio into preferring it and routing all your audio out it.

If you are not getting any sound in or out, confirm that pavucontrol > Configuration > Profile says "Analog Stereo Duplex" instead of "Digital"

or just run

$ pacmd set-card-profile 0 output:analog-stereo+input:analog-stereo

Also check if you need to edit /usr/share/alsa-card-profile/mixer/paths/ to workaround faulty plug detection causing PulseAudio to failover to "Digital".

See Laptop/Apple#Microphone for how to edit this to get the MacBook2,1's microphone to work.

Auto-Mute Mode

The internal speaker might not be disabled when using the headphone jack. To solve this, enable "Auto-Mute Mode".

You can either do this using alsamixer:

  1. Run alsamixer
  2. Press F6 and pick default:0 HDA Intel to get more detailed controls
  3. Use the arrow keys to select "Auto-Mute Mode"
  4. Press Space to enable it

or with amixer:

$ amixer -c 0 cset name='Auto-Mute Mode' 1

Optionally, run alsactl store as root to make the change permanent.

USB audio interface

In some cases, it can actually be easier to set up sound using a USB audio interface rather than the jack directly.

With pavucontrol, go to Configuration, choose Off for all devices and choose Analog Stereo Duplex for your USB device. You can then use the headphone jack on the USB device for speakers or headphones. This should work immediately and on startup.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth should work out-of-the box. See the article on Bluetooth to install and configure all software needed.

Magic Mouse

If you use a magic mouse you will find it works nicely out of the box. You might want to tweak some settings such as scroll-speed or acceleration. There is no GUI for this at this time. The only way to set these settings is to instruct the kernel driver (hid_magicmouse) with parameters. Create a modprobe config file for your mouse.

/etc/modprobe.d/magicmouse.conf
options hid_magicmouse scroll-speed=55 scroll-acceleration=1 emulate_3button=0

This will instruct the driver to have a fast scroll-speed, do exponential acceleration and do not emulate a 3 button mouse. You can find an overview of all parameters and their current settings in /sys/module/hid_magicmouse/parameters.

To try different settings without rebooting you can also set them through the command line:

# echo 55 > /sys/module/hid_magicmouse/parameters/scroll_speed

Webcam

iSight

Note: Linux kernel from 2.6.26 includes the Linux UVC driver natively. MBP 6,2+ (Kernel ~2.6.37+) iSight works out of the box without the need to use firmware from macOS. Only use isight-firmware-tools if it does not work normally.

iSight webcams on MacBooks or pre 6,2 MacBook Pros (6,2 came out around 2010) require the Apple's proprietary firmware that cannot be redistributed. It must be extracted from macOS and loaded onto Arch.

There is a pre-extracted copy at https://archive.org/details/macbook-isight-webcam-linux.

If you want to do it yourself you will need to install isight-firmware-toolsAUR to extract the firmware. This package also includes a udev rule and ELF binary that are necessary, even once you have extracted the firmware file into /lib/firmware/isight.fw, for the file to be loaded every time you boot your computer (namely /etc/udev/rules.d/isight.rules which uses /usr/lib/udev/ift-load).

Instructions:

First you need to get the firmware out of a particular file located on your macOS install. It is located in /System/Library/Extensions/IOUSBFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleUSBVideoSupport.kext/Contents/MacOS/AppleUSBVideoSupport.

Tip: The AppleUSBVideoSupport file from a OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) installation may not work properly. If possible, use the file from OS X 10.5 or earlier.

To mount the macOS drive if multi-booting:

# mkdir /media/macOS
# mount -t hfsplus /dev/sda2 /media/macOS

Then, install the isight-firmware-toolsAUR package.

Locate the AppleUSBVideoSupport file in the macOS directory listed above. Either copy it over to your Arch system (Any macOS installation should do, such as an iMac, not just one specific to your system) or, if multi-booting, mount the macOS drive and navigate to the directory. (On 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and 10.7 (Lion) the directory is /System/Library/Extensions/IOUSBFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleUSBVideoSupport.kext/Contents/MacOS.) In that directory you can go ahead and extract the driver:

# ift-extract --apple-driver AppleUSBVideoSupport

When it is done, check that the firmware has been found:

# ls /lib/firmware/isight.fw

Once successful, completely shutdown your Mac and start it back up again (to clear the hardware state of the webcam). Do not reboot.

It should be automatically loaded at boot; if it is not you can load the uvcvideo module manually or load it at boot.

FaceTime HD Camera

Recent Macs include the FaceTime HD Camera, which may be connected by PCIe. You can confirm this by looking for "FaceTime HD Camera" in the output of lspci. The bcwc-pcie-gitAUR package installs a facetimehd module (and firmware) to support these devices. The module should be loaded automatically after installation.

If the webcam shows incorrect colors, this may be due to missing sensor calibration files. Instructions for extracting the calibration files from Apple BootCamp drivers are given in this page: https://github.com/patjak/bcwc_pcie/wiki/Extracting-the-sensor-calibration-files

See Multimedia#Webcam for applications with which to test.

Temperature Sensors

For reading temperature just install lm_sensors. See the lm_sensors page for more information.

Avoid long EFI wait before booting

If your Mac spends 30 seconds with "white screen" before booting you need to tell the firmware where the booting partition is.

Boot macOS, if you do not have it installed, you can use the install DVD (select language, then click Utilities->Terminal) or another Mac with macOS (connect the two computers via firewire or thunderbolt, start the other Mac while holding the T button, boot your Mac while holding the Options button (alt)).

Either way, once you have got a macOS terminal running on your Mac you need to execute the following command if the booting partition is EFI:

# bless --device /dev/diskXsY --setBoot

or if the booting partition is not EFI:

# bless --device /dev/diskXsY --setBoot --legacy

See also https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=833215.

kworker using high CPU

Sometime with the addition of Yosemite, some users found that kworker CPU usage will spike, as discussed here. This is sometimes the result of runaway ACPI interrupts.

To check and see, you can count the number of recent ACPI interrupts and see if any of them are out of control.

$ grep . -r /sys/firmware/acpi/interrupts/

If you see that one particular interrupt is out of control (possibly GPE66), i.e., registering hundreds of thousands of lines, you can try disabling it (replace XX with the runaway interrupt):

# echo "disable" > /sys/firmware/acpi/interrupts/gpeXX

Disabling random ACPI interrupts could cause all kinds of problems, so do this at your own risk. If this fixes the problem, there is discussion about how to make a systemd service that automatically disables an interrupt at every boot here.

Mavericks upgrade breaks Arch boot option

For some multi-boot users who utilize a separate Linux boot partition, the OS X Mavericks upgrade may overwrite the boot partition with Apple's own recovery boot filesystem. This breaks the Arch Linux boot option in rEFIt/rEFInd. The best way to proceed in this situation is to abandon a separate boot partition and use the EFI system partition (ESP) to install the boot loader of your choice. It is also recommended that you use rEFInd instead of rEFIt as development on the latter has halted.

Assuming grub2 as the boot loader:

Use the Arch LiveCD to boot to a shell and chroot to your broken Arch Linux environment.

Mount the ESP on /boot.

Edit the fstab and remove the old boot partition and make ESP the new boot partition. Now mount the ESP as the new /boot parition.

# mount -a

Reinstall the linux package.

Create a new initramfs and vmlinuz in /boot.

# mkinitcpio -p linux

Install grub.

# grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=/boot --bootloader-id=grub --recheck --debug

Create a new grub.cfg file.

# grub-mkconfig -o /boot/EFI/grub/grub.cfg

Make sure that grub.cfg is in the same directory as grubx64.efi.

Generate a new refind_linux.conf file in /boot simply by running mkrlconf.sh which comes with rEFInd.

Exit the chroot environment.

Reboot. You should see a new entry for Arch Linux in rEFInd and it should boot to your Arch Linux installation.

See also