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How to Install Linux (Ubuntu Desktop 20.04) on an Apple Mac

This post will show you how to install Ubuntu Desktop 20.04 on a Mac using VMware’s Desktop virtualization software.


VMware Fusion* is a desktop virtualization program that lets you run multiple different operating systems on your Mac at the same time. This is great for developers because it allows you to test software on a machine similar to what is used in production. And when using VMware Fusion Pro* you can create snapshots that let you rollback changes, or you can clone existing virtual machines to speed up the deployment of test environments.

In this post, we’ll see how to create a Ubuntu Desktop 20.04 VM so that you can run Linux on your Mac without needing extra hardware.


Before we begin, you should have VMware Fusion* installed on your Mac and have downloaded the Ubuntu Desktop 20.04 ISO.

Let’s begin.

Create the Ubuntu Desktop VM

Open VMware Fusion, click + then New…

Click Install from disc or image.

Either drag the Ubuntu ISO image from finder into the box with the arrow or click the Use another disc or image… button.

The image below shows the dialog box after clicking the Use another disc or image… button.

After selecting the ISO, you should see it in the list of images. Select it, then click Continue.

Select Use Easy Install, enter a username and password, then click Continue.

Click Finish.

Give the VM a name and select a location to store the files, then click Save to create the VM.

Installing Ubuntu Desktop 20.04

Ubuntu Version 20.04 is a lot easier to install than previous versions and since we have used Easy Install there are no manual steps or wizards to follow. Simply power on the VM and wait for the installation to finish.

Click the play button to start the VM.

The check disk feature of the Ubuntu 20.04 installer will run.

Once complete the OS will start installing.

You will then be asked to login with the credentials you provided when creating the VM with VMware Fusion.

Once logged in, you might be asked to install Updates. Perform the updates and restart the machine.

That’s it. You may want to enter full screen by clicking View then Full Screen.

VMware Tools is required to make the VM run faster and it allows you to copy and paste between the Mac and VM. Since we used the Easy Install option, it should already be installed, if it’s not, you can read this tutorial to learn how to install it.

Final thoughts

VMware Fusion* is a great tool for developers when creating software for multiple operating systems. In this tutorial we saw, how easy it is to get a Ubuntu Desktop 20.04 VM running on a Mac.

So far I’m impressed with how well Ubuntu 20.04 runs on VMware Fusion. There was no need to mess with screen scaling as it looks okay on the retina display of my 2017 MacBook Pro.