How do I install Ubuntu as the only OS on a MacBook?

That is, I'd like to completely remove Mac OS X and install Ubuntu. I've tried dual-booting, but I've had so much trouble that I prefer to have only Ubuntu installed.

  • 1
    I'ld make sure you had 100% of the driver stuff worked out before I completely annihilated the OSX install. I never paid the Mac tax, but some folks have some weird driver issues (I answered a question about a driver issue over on SU). May 14, 2011 at 12:48

3 Answers 3

  • Insert the Ubuntu LiveCD into your Mac and Shutdown. Restart the Mac and hold the Option Key. When prompted select 'Try Ubuntu' .

  • Once the system is booted run Disk Utility from the dash .

  • Select your hard disk and click on Format Disk .

    enter image description here

  • Now select 'No Partition' . enter image description here

  • Now install Ubuntu normally .

To Avoid long EFI wait before GRUB
If your Macbook spends 30 seconds with "white screen" before GRUB shows, try booting from your Mac OS X install disc, select language, then click Utilities- Terminal, and enter:

bless --device /dev/disk0s1 --setBoot --legacy

Assuming that the bootloader is on sda1, otherwise /dev/disk0s2 if it's on sda2, etc.

  • 1
    I've done it like you said. Ubuntu is installed on a MBP3,1 with a CrucialM4 SSD. For Mac OS the boot time was 27s. With Ubuntu single boot it takes 47s! For almost 20 s I have this annoying white screen. Is this normal? Can I deactivate this?
    – user24668
    Nov 18, 2011 at 22:30
  • @Matt see this wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/…
    – Lincity
    Nov 19, 2011 at 13:50
  • I fixed this issue by installing and running boot-repair.
    – bleeves
    Jul 17, 2014 at 9:52
  • 1
    @bleeves Does boot=repair fix the 30sec white screen problem for sure?
    – user433732
    Nov 12, 2015 at 13:01

I just tried installing Ubuntu 14.04 on my Macbook Air Early 2014. The only thing that worked for me was:

  1. Insert Live USB, go for 'Try Ubuntu'
  2. Start GParted and delete all drives and partition table. Don't forget to apply the changes.
  3. Create a new partition table of MSDOS type (Under Device menu).
  4. Start the installation process.
  5. When asked for the location of the installation, please select 'something else'.
  6. You will see just one drive in that list. Select it and choose to install just one partition i.e. '/' or root.
  7. Ubuntu will give you a warning about what you are trying to do. Just say 'Continue...'
  8. Follow rest of the installation as is.

This still gives me the 30sec white screen which I believe can be removed with the ' bless' command. So far I haven't figured out how to create an encrypted root though.

I will try to edit this later and see if I can post some screenshots as well.


It is easier to just install Ubuntu from a Live CD across the whole hardrive than setting up dual booting. It should be the first option it gives you when you install from a Live CD. I find rEFIt to be a really nice boot menu for my macbook.

  • I've been using rEFIt for a dual-boot, but it doesn't boot Ubuntu anymore.
    – kunigami
    May 14, 2011 at 12:52
  • I have rEFIt dual booting OS X 10.6, Ubutu 10.10 & Ubuntu 11.04. It works great.
    – wildster
    May 14, 2011 at 13:12
  • Erasing whole hard drive for just installing Mach!! Sounds very dangerous !
    – Anwar
    Aug 2, 2012 at 11:04

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