Possible Duplicate:
How do I get my Mac to boot from an Ubuntu USB key?

I followed the instructions on Ubuntu.com to install Ubuntu onto a USB for a Mac. When I insert my USB in Mac OS X it now says The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer. Is this normal?

Also, when I start my Mac and press Alt the USB doesn't show up.

Does anyone know what I could've done wrong? I made the USB with the latest Macbook Air and am running it on a 2 year old Macbook.


You can't boot a normal USB key on a Macbook, since the Mac firmware requires you to have an EFI bootloader. Grub 2 has an EFI mode, but I never got it working.

Added: See FAQ here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1046568

  • I booted an UEFI laptop using 12.04 alpha the other day with nothing special. I didn't even consider it until afterwords. Is that more difficult with earlier versions? – Jo-Erlend Schinstad Jan 1 '12 at 23:04
  • 2
    No, a non-Apple UEFI laptop works fine. The Mac implementation is special when it comes to booting. – Ingolf Schaefer Jan 2 '12 at 10:19

You say you want to run the stick (install Ubuntu) on a two year old MacBook (not the MacBook Air). Unless your optical drive is broken, I would highly recommend just burning a CD and using the optical drive. AFAIK, nobody ever has trouble going that route.

In fact, the help page to make a USB boot stick for Mac recommends going the CD route.

If you insist on installing off the USB stick, I'd suggest installing ReFit. It can usually detect the USB stick. Whether you can actually boot off it is another matter. For example, see this other thread.


From the Ubuntu Forums:


Apple Intel Mac (Mactel) FAQ

Welcome to the Apple Users Forum at ubuntuforums.org. This forum is focused on providing community support on the installation and setup of Ubuntu running on Apple hardware.

This FAQ is targeted at Users with a Intel-based Macintosh computers (mactel) with Core and Core 2 CPUs or Xeon. If you have a PowerPC-based Mac (G3, G4, G5) Please see the PowerPC FAQ. Please be sure to always check this FAQ and the Mactel-Support Community Support Documentation before asking a question in the forum, and when asking a question in the forum, post your Mac's version string.

  • Can I run Ubuntu on my Mac? YES! You will have to reduce the size of your OSX partition in order to make room for Ubuntu.

    Read more from the link above. It is very detailed and descriptive.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.