How do I install VMware on a Mac

macOS How to install macOS in a virtual machine


The benefits of testing macOS in a virtual machine are many. For example, if you want to try out a program in a secure environment that makes deep changes to the system, the use of a VM is an effective means. A virtual environment is definitely better than a production system for testing beta versions of macOS. In the form of VirtualBox there is an excellent and also free solution to install virtual machines quickly and easily. In theory, VirtualBox also works with macOS, but in practice it usually looks different. The reason: Apple's operating system can only be installed on official Apple hardware, i.e. iMacs, MacBooks and co.

macOS as VM: Unfortunately not straightforward

When trying to install a macOS image in VirtualBox, the system only issues an error message and aborts the installation. After all: In Mac forums, shrewd Apple fans are always finding ways and means by which macOS works in VirtualBox. However, they are not only laborious to implement, as they are the Manipulation of system files require, they often only have a short half-life. Apple regularly publishes security updates for macOS, which also destroy an installation of the Mac operating system in a virtual machine. In practice, every small change in macOS requires a special adaptation of the system. The possibility of simply keeping the virtual macOS up to date via the Mac App Store is no longer available. Of course, macOS usually runs quite smoothly even without updates, with one unpatched system but you should only work in a virtual machine in exceptional cases.

The InsanelyMac forum, for example, provides an impression of how complex it is to install macOS in VirtualBox.

Virtual macOS: possible via Parallels

But there is a glimmer of hope for people who want to run macOS in a virtual machine. The catch: Unfortunately, you need one for that Mac. If this is available, setting up a virtual macOS is not only easy, but also completely free makeable. The solution delivers Parallels: The virtualization specialists have integrated the option of setting up macOS as a virtual machine in Parallels Desktop with just a few clicks. This works not only in the commercial, but also in the free version of Parallels Desktop.

Danger: Parallels offers one fully functional free 14 day trial, then this is extended automatically to a paid subscription. Cancel this accordingly in good time.

To do this, the program accesses the data on the recovery partition that is available on every Mac. From this, the tool pulls the data it needs to pack macOS into a VM. With the Lite version you have to download the macOS files manually, but this is done quickly. For Mac users, the effort can be worth it either way: With a virtual version of the system, you can safely test beta software, for example, or use a second user account with completely separate settings and programs in parallel.

How to install macOS in a virtual environment


1. Install the latest version of Parallels from the Mac App Store. The good news: To install macOS in a virtual machine, you don't necessarily need the commercial version of the virtualizer. You can also use the free versionParallels Desktop Lite to install. In addition to various Linux distributions, it also officially supports the establishment of a virtual macOS. You can find the version at this link:

2. Download the current version of macOS down. To do this, visit the Mac App Store and look for the current version (in our case High Sierra). Click on "load”And wait for the download to complete. If the macOS installer starts automatically, just quit it.

3. Start Parallels and click on "Install Windows or another OS”. Here macOS should already appear as an option that you click on. If this is not the case, click on "Image file" > "select a file”And open the MacOS Applications folder. You can find the one you just downloaded here macOS installation fileyou choose.


4. In the next step you determine where on your Mac the virtual machine should be saved. Of course, you can also display them on an external hard drive. Click on "Further”And follow the steps to install macOS in the virtual machine. When starting for the first time, select the point "Install macOS”And follow the instructions of the system.

5. After installing macOS in the virtual machine, the system's setup wizard starts. Here you have to have the language and the Time zone that macOS cannot automatically detect in the virtual environment. Just follow the instructions of the macOS installation wizard step by step. At the end you land on the desktop of your virtual macOS.

6. To ensure that a virtual machine runs smoothly within Parallels, you should also have the Install Parallels Tools. To do this, click in the upper right corner of the macOS VM window small, yellow warning triangle and select the command "Install Parallels Tools”. Then open the Finder within the virtual machine and click on the left under “equipment" on "Parallels Tools”. Now start by double-clicking on "To install”The installation of the tools, for which you have to enter your user password once.

After installing macOS in a virtual machine, you can try out the operating system as you wish. A large part of the functions that you can also use on a real Mac are available to you in the virtual environment. You can also exchange files between real and virtual macOS. The easiest way to do this is to drag and drop the relevant data into the Parallels window.