Of course you can boot Linux on new Macs and here is how

It’s annoying when you need to accept that people who really should verify the claims they make may sometimes choose to go ahead and tell the public lies, but this is what I think has happened with this story, because, despite all the B.S., you can in fact boot Linux on the latest Macs.

How to boot Linux on MacBook Air, Mac mini and T2 Macs

I’ve been disturbed by the eagerly shared claims that you cannot boot Linux on the latest Macs, it didn’t ring true and the fact these claims were coming out of the usual reality distortion circles of the “we love Apple but” tech press made me suspicious.

So I checked the claims to see if they are true.

Partial and twisted truths

And they aren’t entirely correct.

While it is true that you can’t boot Linux up while the T2 chip is running the Secure Boot process as support for a security certificate from Microsoft isn’t there, as Apple itself explained in 2016, but Apple has also made it possible to switch secure boot off, as Ubuntu explains.

How to switch off Secure Boot

  • Restart your Mac
  • Immediately your Mac begins the start up process hold down Command-R
  • Keep holding down those keys until you see the Apple logo or a spinning globe
  • Your Mac should open in the Utilities window.
  • In the menu at the top of the window look for the Utilities drop down, and select Startup Security Utility.
  • You’ll be asked for an admin ID and passcode.

Now you can switch Secure Boot from its default of Full Security to No Security.

Who coordinates the biased tales?

Once you’ve disabled Secure Boot you’ll be able to start Linux up whenever you like, which is handy if you’re a Mac user who does sometimes use Linux on their Mac – you can always activate Startup Security Utility when you’re done.

However, I’m not convinced there’s a lot of Mac users who’ll be too deeply impacted by this step – though there do seem to be plenty of Apple critics who are prepared to throw mud at its wall without actually verifying the problem first.

Bit by unwarranted bit they make their accusations stick.

The lack of objectivity across so much of the media infuriates me. What are we becoming? Who benefits? Because I think it’s quite likely someone benefits from this carnival of twisted criticism.

Make it stop.

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Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

2 Responses

  1. terl says:

    Still can’t netboot tho…. or backup apfs volumes.

  2. Victor Blakey says:

    Jonny

    To be honest I don’t think it is so much co-ordinated, but more a case of Lazy Journalism
    Many Journalists will look to others and copy what is said elsewhere, especially if it reinforces any of their currently held prejudices. Someone who for one reason or another is anti-Mac, will look for negatives and reiterate them without verifying the veracity or otherwise of the statements
    I work with a number of people who will often quote these types of comments as a reason to not use Mac, however they are often the same ones who are envious of my track record with my work and the length of time my laptops and other computers (Both Mac and windows) remain operational and useful (typically about 10 years) whereas they, with their ‘cheapest laptop to do the job now’ attitude are often being forced (due to failure or just being technologically outpaced), to buy a new laptop every 3 or so years

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