How to Install Kali Linux on Mac [Dual Boot]

Installing Kali Linux on a Mac is a strategic move for cybersecurity enthusiasts and penetration testers aiming to harness the powerful tools of Kali on Apple hardware. This guide serves as a comprehensive resource for the step-by-step process to seamlessly installing Kali Linux (2023.4) into your Mac environment.

Requirements to Install Kali Linux on Mac

The recommended requirements for installing Kali Linux as a dual boot on Mac are:

  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Processor: 64-bit 2 GHz
  • Free Storage: 30 GB minimum
  • USB Drive: 4 GB
  • Internet access is helpful

14 Steps to Dual Boot Installation of Kali Linux on Mac

Follow the below steps one by one to install Kali Linux on your Mac in the easiest way:

1. Download the Kali Linux ISO File

After backing up data, the next step of installing Kali Linux is to download Kali Linux’s iso file from its official website. Choose the processor bit according to your PC hardware. I’m downloading a 64-bit installer of Kali Linux 2023.23 Changelog.Download the Kali Linux ISO file

2. Create a Bootable USB Drive

To create a bootable USB drive of the ISO file, use “Etcher”. It is a free and open-source application. First, Install Etcher on Mac. After installing, follow the steps:

  1. Open Etcher and select “Flash from File”.Click on flash from file to select ISO file
  2. Select the ISO file from the location where you’ve downloaded it.Select the ISO file of Kali Linux from the downloaded location
  3. Plug in a USB pen drive to the PC and click “Select target”.Clicking on select target to select USB drive
  4. Select your USB drive from the list.Selecting the USB drive for flashing from the list
  5. Finally, click on “Flash” to start flashing the ISO file into the USB drive.Click on flash to start flashing the ISO into the USBAfter that, Etcher will flash the ISO file into your USB drive and make it bootable.

3. Create Disk Partition

To create a Mac disk partition, follow the steps below:

  1. Open Spotlight by pressing COMMAND (⌘) + SPACE.
  2. Search and open Disk Utility.
  3. Click on View and select “Show All Devices”.Selecting show all devices from the view pane.
  4. Select the topmost device and click on “Partition”.Partitioning the Hard drive of Mac
  5. Click on the + icon.Clicking on the plus icon on partitioning
  6. Click on Add Partition.Clicking on Add partition
  7. Allocate space for Kali Linux and set the format as MS-DOS (FAT). Then click on “Apply”.Allocating space for Kali Linux
  8. Click on “Done” when the partition is created successfully.Confirming partitioning
Back up your important files to prevent data loss before proceeding to the next steps.

4. Boot Kali Linux from USB Drive

  1. Plug the bootable USB drive into the PC.
  2. Restart and hold the OPTION (⌥) key.
  3. Select “EFI boot” using the arrow keys and press ENTER.Selecting EFI boot

  4. Now, the BIOS window will appear on the screen. Use the arrow keys to select “Graphical install” and press ENTER.Selecting graphical install

5. Select Language

Select a language for the system and click on Continue.Selecting English as system language

6. Set Location

Select your location.

Note: You can select “United States” if you don’t see your country in the list.
Selecting location United States

7. Select Keyboard Layout

From the Configure Keyboard window, select the keyboard layout according to your preference.Selecting American English as keyboard layout

8. Configure the Network

First, type a hostname for your Kali Linux system, and click on Continue.

Note: Hostname should be a single word.
Entering linuxsimply as network hostnameNow, type a domain name for the network.Entering linuxsimply.com as network domain name

9. Set up Users and Passwords

To create a user account, first, enter your full name and click on Continue.Entering my full nameThen, type a short username for your system.Entering a short single-word user nameCreate a password. This password will be required every time you turn on the PC.Setting passwordFinally, click on Continue to move to the next step.

10. Set Time Zone

Select your time zone and click on Continue.Selecting time zone for clock

11. Allocate Disk Partition

To allocate the partitioned free disk to Kali, follow the steps below:

  1. Select “Manual” partitioning and click on Continue.Select manual
  2. Click on the FREE SPACE partition. Then click on Continue.Click on the free space partitioning
  3. Select “Create a new partition”.Select on create new partition
  4. Set the partition size and click on Continue.Setting partition size
  5. Choose “Logical”.Select Logical
  6. Set the mount point to root (/). Double-click on “Done setting up partitioning”.Double click on done setting up partitioning
  7. Select “Finish partitioning” and click on Continue.Click on finish partitioning
  8. Select “No” in the swap partition.Select No in Swap partitioning
  9. Select “Yes” to confirm the partitioning.Select Yes to confirm partitioning

12. Software Selection

Select the software you want to install while installing Kali Linux.Selecting Desktop environment, xfce for installing

13. Install the GRUB Bootloader

Follow the below steps to install the GRUB bootloader.

  1. Check the “Yes” option and click on Continue.Selecting Yes to install GRUB

  2. Select /dev/sda as the boot loader device to install GRUB and click on Continue.Selecting /dev/sda as boot loaderAfter that, it installs GRUB.Finishing the installation of GRUB
  3. Plug out the USB flash drive (installation media) and click on Continue to reboot your computer.

    Note: Press and hold the OPTION (⌥) key during reboot.
    Clicking on continue to reboot the systemWith this step, the installation is completed successfully.

14. Log in to Kali Linux

Choose Kali Linux and Log in using the credentials set during installation.Entering username and password to log in

Conclusion

Conclusively, this powerful fusion of Kali’s tools with the sleek functionality of a Mac opens new avenues for ethical hacking and security testing. Embrace this union of robust operating systems and embark on a journey to bolster your digital defenses with the dynamic capabilities of Kali Linux on your Mac.

People Also Ask

Can I install Kali Linux on a Mac?

Yes, you can install Kali Linux on a Mac. Follow the steps below:

  1. Create a bootable Kali Linux USB using tools like Rufus or Etcher.
  2. Restart your Mac holding the OPTION (⌥) key to access the boot menu.
  3. Select the Kali Linux USB from the boot menu.
  4. Install Kali Linux on a separate partition or external drive during the installation process.
  5. Complete the installation, ensuring the bootloader is installed on the same partition or external drive.
  6. Boot into Kali Linux by selecting it from the boot menu or using a tool like rEFInd.

How to make bootable Kali on Mac?

To make a bootable Kali on Mac, download and install Etcher. Then, insert a USB drive (4GB minimum) into your Mac. Now, download Kali Linux ISO. Finally, open Etcher, select Kali Linux ISO, choose USB drive, and click “Flash”. After that, Etcher will flash the ISO file into your USB drive and make it bootable.

Is Kali Linux risky for Mac?

No, generally Kali Linux is not risky for Mac. However, misuse of the Kali tools, lack of expertise, and potential legal implications can pose risks. Ensure responsible use, keep both systems updated and consider using Kali Linux in a controlled environment like a virtual machine or dedicated hardware to mitigate potential issues.

How do I boot into a Kali Live environment?

To boot into a Kali live environment, follow the below steps:

  1. Create a bootable Kali Linux USB using tools like Rufus or Etcher.
  2. Insert the USB drive into your computer.
  3. Restart and access the boot menu (ESC, F2, F10, F12, OPTION).
  4. Select the USB drive from the boot menu.
  5. Choose the “Live system” option to boot into the Kali Linux Live environment.
  6. Explore Kali Linux without installing it on your computer.

Can I install Kali on a USB stick?

Yes, you can install Kali Linux on a USB stick. First, create a bootable Kali Linux USB using tools like Rufus or Etcher. During installation, choose the USB drive as the installation target. Next, complete the installation process, ensuring the bootloader is installed on the USB. Finally, boot from the USB to access your Kali Linux installation on your computer.

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Ashikur Rahman

Hello, I’m Ashikur Rahman, currently working as a Linux Content Developer Executive at SOFTEKO. I have completed my graduation in Computer Science and Engineering from Khulna University of Engineering & Technology (KUET). Also, I’m pursuing my master’s in the same department at Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET). I like to learn new technologies, contribute, and share those with others. Here my goal is to provide beneficial and user-friendly articles on Linux distribution for everyone. Read Full Bio

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