I installed Ubuntu on my macbook pro (8,1) a few months back using the rEFIt method (so it's an emulated BIOS). I want to give EFI mode a try. Unfortunately I have not found a clear guide on where to begin. I have read through scattered forum posts with hints about patches needed in the kernel and things like that, but I haven't seen any comprehensive guide.

I have seen this: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MactelSupportTeam/AppleIntelInstallation#Single-Boot:%20Ubuntu%20Only

That appears to be what I'm looking for. If it is, then my question is this: Is there a way to do EFI and maintain a dual boot environment? The dual boot guides on the same page require rEFIt. If that's not what I think it is, where can I find info on how to install with this method?

6 Answers 6


I have 2011 (I think it's early 2011) Macbook Pro 8.2. I'd had a lot of grief until yesterday, when I finally tried to install Ubuntu from the "normal" Ubuntu 12.04 (ubuntu-12.04-desktop-amd64.iso) instead of the MAC version (ubuntu-12.04-desktop-amd64+mac.iso). The latter gives you rEFI (emulated bios) - you actually cannot get EFI from the MAC version iso, as it only supports the BIOS booting (sic!). How misleading!

I used the "normal" iso after I put an new, empty SSD drive to my MBP 8.2 and in installed in EFI mode and everything (with the exception of the wifi firmware which needs to be downloaded) has been working without any problems since.

  • Thanks for this. This is basically what I ended up doing (except in a dual boot), but I plan on getting an SSD soon and doing exactly this. It's helpful that others have done it as well.
    – gregghz
    Aug 21, 2012 at 3:35
  • Got it to work on a mbp (8,2) just using EFI without any refit or refind. It does not work on a more recent retina mbp. I can install ubuntu but it won't boot. Do have any idea whether it works without additional boot managers on more recent mbps? Apr 3, 2016 at 9:15

I have a Macbook Pro 8,2 and when booting EFI mode instead of with CSM (BIOS), video is completely unusuable, even text only boot has a totally scrambled screen. I haven't found a work around for this yet, so I'm depending on the CSM.

As for rEFIt, it doesn't necessarily require CSM. It's just adept at finding various bootloaders for linux and Windows and Mac OS and presenting them to the user. Those bootloaders can use EFI mode, or may depend on BIOS which on EFI systems means the use of a CSM to "emulate" BIOS. I found rEFIt to be a little confusing as to what's going on and showed numerous options for booting only two of which would work. So I just restored to Apple's EFI startup disk selection menu using option key at startup.

What I've learned so far is that Apple's startup disk menu (option key @ startup) will produce a hard disk icon labeled "Windows" if the follow three things are true about that hard drive: it contains a hybrid MBR rather than a pure GPT, one of the partitions in the MBR has the boot flag set and it doesn't matter which one as long as it is not the protective MBR entry, the first 440 bytes of the disk (LBA 0) contains bootloader code.

In this case, you get a Windows labeled hard disk icon when using option key at startup and when choosing this option it basically means boot into Grub2. From there you can choose whatever your Grub2 configuration has found which could be one or more Linux and Windows installations on that disk.

  • How is your battery life using EFI boot? This is my major motivation for using EFI boot, even though the installation seems to be quite painfully difficult for an newcomer like me (link). I want to use integrated graphics only. When using BIOS emulation, Ubuntu only sees my discrete graphics card.
    – user24668
    May 14, 2012 at 7:55

I don't have a Macbook myself, but while looking for a way to install Ubuntu on my uefi notebook I stumbled upon this nice little guide below. After the rEFIt step, there are more steps to enable Uefi. I hope it helps!



I have a MacBook Pro 8,2 with ubuntu 12.04 and I got efi booting to work. I can get text mode to work, but i haven't been able to get a gui running. The screen that asks if you want to run ubuntu in low graphics mode comes up, but when you choose anything, it freezes and you have to force the computer off. Its a problem with the dual graphics. And vga switcheroo isn't working at all.

If i start 'failsafe x' from recovery mode, it still doesn't start. 'screens found but none have usable configuration' I've gotten it close to working by using the opensource drivers. (no fglrx) Adding 'blacklist radeon' to /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist And adding 'modprobe radeon' to /etc/rc.local. When i do this, the ubuntu splash shows up after grub-efi boots the kernel, and then the login drums play as if LightDM is running.

Installing apple_gmux didn't help at all.

If you use refit, you should see two entries for Ubuntu. One for grub-efi and another for the normal boot.

  • I have also (just yesterday) tried to install a fresh copy of 12.04 and it "just works" with efi. I didn't have to do anything special, the efi entry shows up in rEFIt and grub efi works fine. I can suspend and everything (I don't think hibernate works). I only have the one gpu, so switching isn't an issue (and it's intel so they have decent open source drivers).
    – gregghz
    Jun 29, 2012 at 14:52

I have an MacBook Pro 15" (2010) and i am able to dual boot with EFI. Try using Ubuntu 12.04 and follow the guide on this Wiki Page: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UEFIBooting.

Note: I have removed my windows installation to do this. Dont know if triple boot works this way.

  • Unfortunately, this guide is very fragmented and missing clear structure. :( I can't really follow the instructions for a Mac as it's mixed up with instructions for Windows computers. What steps did you take?
    – user24668
    May 14, 2012 at 8:09

You can use efi-booting but you cannot install Windows. The instructions to install ubuntu for efi are here: http://www.rodsbooks.com/ubuntu-efi/

  • Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference.
    – Oyibo
    Jun 9, 2013 at 19:42

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