The Linux kernel can run on a variety of devices made by Apple, including devices where the unlocking of the bootloader is not possible with an official procedure, such as iPhones and iPads.

iPad devices

In June 2022, software developers Konrad Dybcio and Markuss Broks managed to run Linux kernel 5.18 on a iPad Air 2. The project made use of the Alpine Linux based Linux distribution called postmarketOS, which is primarily developed for Android devices. The developer suggested that they used the checkm8 exploit which was published back in 2019.[1][2]

iPhone devices

In 2008, the 2.6 Linux kernel was ported to the iPhone 3G, the iPhone (1st generation), and the iPod Touch (1st generation) using OpeniBoot.[3]

Corellium's Project Sandcastle made it possible to run Android on an iPhone 7/7+ or an iPod Touch (7th generation) using the checkm8 exploit.[4]

iPod devices

Main article: iPodLinux

iPodLinux is a Linux distribution created specifically to run on Apple's iPod.

Mac computers

Motorola 68k Macs

Linux can be dual-booted on Macs that use Motorola 680x0 processors[5] (only 68020 and higher,[6] and only non-"EC" processor variants since an MMU is required[7]). The Linux/mac68k community project provides resources to do so,[8][9] and an m68k community port of the Debian Linux distribution is also available.[7][9]

PowerPC Macs

PowerPC Macs can run Linux through both emulation and dual-booting ("bare metal"). The most popular PowerPC emulation tools for Mac OS/Mac OS X are Microsoft's Virtual PC, and the open-source QEMU.[9]

Linux dual-booting is achieved by partitioning the boot drive, installing the Yaboot bootloader onto the Linux partition, and selecting that Linux partition as the Startup Disk. This results in users being prompted to select whether they want to boot into Mac OS or Linux when the machine starts.[9]

By 2008, a number of major Linux distributions had official versions compatible with Mac PowerPC processors, including:[9]

All of the above PowerPC ports have since been discontinued, except for Gentoo.

Intel Macs

Macs with Intel processors can run Linux through virtualization or through dual-booting. Common virtualization tools for Intel Macs include VMware Fusion, Parallels Desktop, and VirtualBox.[9]

In 2010, Whitson Gordon from Lifehacker noted that Apple has streamlined the process of dual booting Windows on Macs, but not for Linux. rEFIt made it possible to dual boot Linux.[15]

Macs which utilize the T2 chip from 2018 can run Linux distributions natively using the T2Linux project. [16]

Apple silicon Macs

Macs with Apple silicon processors can run Linux through the Asahi Linux command line installer for certain distributions including Fedora, Debian, and Ubuntu. While most features are available, some are unavailable on certain silicon processors and devices.[17]

See also


  1. ^ Cunningham, Andrew (2022-06-02). "Have an old iPad lying around? You might be able to make it run Linux soon". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2022-06-14.
  2. ^ "Ein Jahr Arbeit: Tüftler bringen Linux auf das iPad Air 2". Der Standard (in Austrian German). Retrieved 2022-06-15.
  3. ^ Yam, Marcus; Ngai, Amos (2008-12-02). "iPhone Hacked to Run Linux". Tom's Guide. Retrieved 2022-06-14.
  4. ^ "Run Android on an iPhone With 'Project Sandcastle' Jailbreaking Tool". PCMAG. Retrieved 2022-06-14.
  5. ^ "How to install Linux on a vintage 68K Mac". Macworld. Retrieved 2022-06-14.
  6. ^ "How to install Linux on a vintage 68K Mac". Macworld. Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  7. ^ a b "Debian on Motorola 680x0". Debian Ports. Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  8. ^ "Linux/m68k for Macintosh". Linux/m68k for Mac. Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Rothman, Ernest E.; Jepson, Brian; Rosen, Rich (2008-09-18). Mac OS X For Unix Geeks (Leopard): Demistifying the Geekier Side of Mac OS X (4th ed.). O'Reilly Media, Inc. pp. 174–187. ISBN 978-0-596-52062-5.
  10. ^ "Debian for PowerPC". Debian Ports. Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  11. ^ "PowerPCFaq". Ubuntu Wiki. Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  12. ^ "Ubuntu: A follow-up on 32-bit powerpc architecture []". LWN. Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  13. ^ "Architectures/PowerPC". Fedora Wiki. Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  14. ^ " Yellow Dog Linux". DistroWatch. Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  15. ^ "How to Triple-Boot Your Mac with Windows and Linux, No Boot Camp Required". Lifehacker. 2010-05-05. Retrieved 2022-06-14.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Feature Support". GitHub. Retrieved 1 January 2024.