How to Install VirtualBox on an Apple Silicon Mac

Install VirtualBox to run other OS on your Apple M1 or M2 Mac! Easy steps & download link.

Older versions of VirtualBox can work on newer Apple computers that use Apple’s own processors, like the M1 chip. These versions are meant more for developers to test things out rather than regular users.

You can get VirtualBox for free. It’s not too hard to set up a virtual machine (VM) in VirtualBox.

For normal stuff, VirtualBox works just fine. But if you need to do more demanding tasks, like running big programs or playing games, you might want to consider using something like Parallels Desktop instead.

If you don’t want to pay for Parallels Desktop, VirtualBox is a great choice because it’s free. Keep reading to learn how to download and set up VirtualBox on your Mac.

Can VirtualBox Work on Apple Silicon Macs?

Yep, VirtualBox has versions that can run on those new fancy Apple silicon Macs. But hold your horses! These versions are still kind of in the testing phase, so they might not be as smooth as you’d like. They’re like the rough drafts of software—there could be bugs crawling around, and it might not run as fast as you’d hope. Plus, you’ll need to use an older version because the folks at Oracle haven’t given the Apple silicon version a makeover in quite some time.

However, if you’re just planning to tinker around with Linux, you’re probably good to go. Despite its quirks, VirtualBox should handle most of the popular Linux flavors without too much fuss. So, while it’s not perfect, it’s still pretty handy for everyday stuff.

Here’s How to Get VirtualBox on Your Apple Silicon Mac:

  1. Go to the VirtualBox Downloads page.
  2. Scroll down until you see “VirtualBox 7.0.8.”
  3. Click on the “Developer preview for macOS / Arm64 (M1/M2) hosts” button to grab the version for Apple silicon Macs. Your Mac will download a DMG file, which you’ll find in your Downloads folder.
  4. Open that DMG file and double-click on VirtualBox.pkg to start the installer.
  5. Follow the instructions on your screen until the setup finishes. Your Mac might ask for your password during this process. Once it’s done, the installer might ask if you want to toss the DMG file into the Trash.
  6. Ta-da! You’ve got VirtualBox installed on your Apple silicon Mac. To launch it, you can use Spotlight Search, Launchpad, or just head to your Applications folder. Easy peasy!

Creating Your First Virtual Machine in VirtualBox for Mac:

Let’s walk through setting up your very first virtual machine (VM) in VirtualBox on your Mac. We’ll be making a Linux VM with Ubuntu, but the steps are similar for other operating systems. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Get the OS: First off, grab the ISO file for the operating system you want to install. If you’re starting with Ubuntu, you can snag it from the Ubuntu downloads page.
  2. Open VirtualBox: Fire up VirtualBox and hit the New button to start creating your VM.
  3. Name Your VM: Give your VM a name, choose where you want to store it, and select the ISO file you downloaded. VirtualBox usually figures out the rest if you’re using a popular OS like Ubuntu.
  4. Set Up the OS: If you want to customize things like user accounts, check the box for Skip Unattended Installation. If not, just skip ahead.
  5. User Details: If you opted for manual setup, now’s the time to pick a username and password for your VM’s main account.
  6. Allocate Resources: Drag sliders to assign RAM and processors to your VM. A good rule of thumb is to give it about half of your Mac’s RAM and CPU cores.
  7. Storage Options: Choose how much space you want to give your VM. Aim for the OS’s basic requirements plus some extra. For Ubuntu, I’d suggest at least 25GB.
  8. Double-Check and Finish: VirtualBox will show you a summary of your setup. Take a moment to make sure everything looks good, then hit Finish.
  9. Installation: VirtualBox will take a little time to install the OS. Once it’s done, you’ll see your new VM in the sidebar menu.
  10. Boot It Up: Select your VM and click Start to fire it up. And there you have it! Your first VM is up and running.

VirtualBox is handy for simple VM needs, but it’s not the best for gaming or heavy tasks. If you’re planning on doing more intensive stuff, consider using Parallels Desktop or UTM instead. They offer more support and features, though they might come with a price tag.

FAQ: Installing VirtualBox on Apple Silicon Mac

What is VirtualBox?

VirtualBox is a free and open-source virtualization software that allows you to run other operating systems within your existing Mac operating system.

Does VirtualBox support Apple Silicon Macs?

Yes, VirtualBox offers a native version with good performance for Apple Silicon Macs with M1 and M2 chips.

How to install VirtualBox on an Apple Silicon Mac:

  1. Download the installer:
    • Head to the VirtualBox download page.
  2. Get the Apple Silicon version:
    • Scroll down to find the Developer preview for macOS / Arm64 (M1/M2) hosts button and download it. This will download a DMG file.
  3. Open the DMG file:
    • Double-click the downloaded DMG file.
  4. Run the installer:
    • Locate and double-click the “VirtualBox.pkg” file inside the DMG.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions:
    • The installer will guide you through the installation process. You might be prompted for your administrator password.

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