I am still trying to install Ubuntu 20.04 on my late-2011 17" macbook pro. I need to install Ubuntu alongside my macOS High Sierra install that currently is the only other (meaningful) occupant of the 2TB SSD.

The issue (for me) is that the Ubuntu 20.04 installer incorrectly concludes:

This computer currently has no detected operating systems.

I currently have rEFInd installed on this machine - which I did in anticipation of the Ubuntu install.

Why does the Ubuntu 20.04 installer fail to recognize the huge 750GB APFS partition as an installed OS? Is there anything I can reasonably do to "help" the installer see this, and install Ubuntu in the proper location?

  • 3
    The installer probably cannot read APFS, which is a proprietary Apple product, so it has no idea what's on that partition. – user535733 May 25 at 1:18
  • Because Apple won't open source the file system – Nmath May 25 at 1:25
  • @user535733 & Nmath: OK - that makes sense - I understand that APFS is a closed system (Assle is dismal in this respect), but are you also saying there is no way to install Ub20.04 on this system? The Ub20.04 page suggests this is possible - even mentioning a special "Mac image" - which I could never find. Surely there is a work-around? – Seamus May 25 at 1:42
  • @Nmath: Are there any "remedies" or alternate approaches for accomplishing my end objective (dual boot macOS & Ub20.04) on this machine? – Seamus May 25 at 1:45
  • Also: if I boot from the "Live System" I created on a USB stick, and run the Disks app in the Live system, it shows an EFI partition, and a 750 GB APFS partition. How could the installer not know? – Seamus May 25 at 1:50

Take a look at my answer here. I don't have the same machine as you so I can't try this out myself, but here are my suspicions:

  • As already mentioned in the comments, the Ubuntu installer cannot detect macOS because of the APFS formatting. This is not a problem though, because you can select "Something Different" as the install location and choose a previously created partition (see my linked answer).
  • From what I understand about the differences between our hardware (with / without T2-chip), you can follow my answer and just skip step "Boot and Install Ubuntu"#1.

You may have already made some changes to your system that you want to revert before following my instructions. To remove rEFInd, follow this answer. To remove entries in the EFI partition that the Ubuntu installer may have created, enter the following instructions in your Mac terminal (one after another):

sudo diskutil mount disk0s1
cd /Volumes/EFI/EFI
rm -r boot ubuntu
cd ~
diskutil unmount disk0s1

If there is no entry, you'll receive an error message at the rm-part (which is fine).

| improve this answer | |
  • Apologies for delayed feedback. Will try this tomorrow & be in touch. – Seamus Jun 5 at 9:29
  • Thanks for this - I was finally able to work through the install with some help from @DavidAnderson (see the chat record). Bottom line is your answer works perfectly, but there's a rough and confusing part when it comes to ubiquity -b (see chat for details). I'm selecting this as the correct answer, but please do try to make some edits on the answer you link to from above. – Seamus Jun 7 at 7:25
  • Thanks for your feedback @Seamus! I've updated the linked answer accordingly. – japhwil Jun 8 at 10:36
  1. Disable Full disk encryption.
  2. Install rEFInd and power off your computer. Turn it back on. DO NOT RESTART.
  3. Make some free space by shrinking the partition with macOS. Do not turn this into a partition. Just leave it unallocated.
  4. Select install alongside MacOS option. If this does not appear, check whether you are installing Ubuntu in the same firmware mode as MacOS. (Either UEFI or Legacy BIOS). You will not see this option if you have MacOS in UEFI and try to install Ubuntu in Legacy and vice versa. DO not proceed if this option doesn't appear.
  5. Alternatively, you can try the Something else option and partition manually. Even if you do this make sure that install alongside Ubuntu option is available.

Read how to install and dual boot Linux on a mac and How to Dual Boot Linux on Your Mac and Take Back Your Powerhouse Apple Hardware

| improve this answer | |
  • Could you provide more detail on this statement in Step 2: Turn it back on. DO NOT RESTART. It's not clear to me how to shrink a partition without starting macOS. – Seamus May 25 at 22:21
  • @Seamus I mean do not select the restart from power options. Shut down your Mac — a full shut down, not a restart — and boot it back up again. You should see the rEFInd boot manager screen. I assume you know how to install it? If you don't open a Terminal window by pressing Command + Space and, typing Terminal, and pressing Enter. Drag and drop the install.sh file from the downloaded zip file into the terminal window and press Enter to run it. – Sasuke Uchiha May 26 at 3:52
  • @Seamus Ah sorry. You have already installed it. And I assume that you have already shut down and turned on your computer by now. If your drive encryption is off, you can skip steps 1 and 2 – Sasuke Uchiha May 26 at 3:55
  • @Seamus I think your problem is explained in step 4... – Sasuke Uchiha May 26 at 3:56

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