Quite a few people go through their life with a PC. They are content to use Linux or Windows but have never seen MacOS. Some people may have a desire to see and use MacOS and yet not want to buy an Apple system.
I will cover the steps to install the second latest, at the time of this article, version of MacOS. In April of 2020, Apple released their MacOS 11.0 version of their Operating System called Big Sur. In 2021, Apple released version 12 called Monterey.
Big Sur was a major update of the Apple MacOS system. It allows users to run iOS apps natively.
In this article, I will go through the following:
- System Requirements and Prerequisites
- Creating a VirtualBox Machine
- Starting the Machine and Installation of Big Sur
- Updating Big Sur
System Requirements and Prerequisites
These are the specs I am using. Of course, if you have a better system, this will be faster.
- Ubuntu 21.04 (any version should do as long as you run Oracle VirtualBox)
- Oracle VirtualBox 6.1.26 (older versions should work, but try to update)
- Oracle VirtualBox Extensions (optional)
- 8GB of RAM for VirtualBox Machine
- 50 GB hard drive space for VirtualBox disk image file (SSD drive should be faster, but not required)
Download and install Oracle VirtualBox as well as the VirtualBox Extension Pack.
Download the BigSur ISO file (found at http://www.mediafire.com/file/dbfod9u5q9ii9nd/macOS_Big_Sur_11.0.1_%252820B29%2529.iso/file). The file is nearly 17 GB in size, so be prepared for a possible lengthy download.
NOTE: Keep in mind that the installation and update process took over two hours on my system.
Creating the VirtualBox Machine
Open Oracle VM VirtualBox and click on the ‘New’ button at the top of the window.
A window should appear asking for some information about the Machine you are creating. For the name, enter ‘BigSur’. You can use another valid name, just keep it in mind and do not use a name with spaces or special characters. The Machine folder should be fine as the default unless you want to place it in a different place. The ‘Type’ should be set to ‘Mac OS X’. The ‘Version’ should be ‘Mac OS X (64-bit)’. Click ‘Next’ when these settings are correct.
The next screen will ask for the memory size to allocate to the Machine. The setting should be a minimum of 8 GB (8192 MB). Select ‘Next’ to continue with the Machine setup.
The next window will prompt you to create a disk drive for the Machine. Click on ‘Create’ to accept the default. The next screen asks which file type for the storage media. Select ‘VHD (Virtual Hard Disk)’ then click ‘Next’. Next, you will be prompted whether to use a ‘Dynamic’ or ‘Fixed’ disk. A ‘Fixed’ disk can be faster, but a ‘Dynamic’ disk will only grow as needed and save space. You can choose whichever you want and then click ‘Next’. The Size setting on the new window lets you specify the file size if ‘Fixed’. If you chose ‘Dynamic’, then the setting is the maximum size the file can grow, unless you change the value later in ‘Virtual Media Manager’. Use a bare minimum of 60 GB, but preferably 100 GB or more. Click on ‘Create’ to allow the Virtual Hard Drive to be created.
The basic Machine is now created and will need some tweaking before starting the Machine.
Make sure the ‘BigSur’ Machine is selected, ‘or whatever name you may have used, and select ‘Settings’ from the top of the window.
In the left pane, select ‘System’ and in the right pane choose the ‘Motherboard’ tab. Uncheck Floppy in the ‘Boot Order’. Click on the ‘Processor’ tab in the right pane and select two or more processors to use for the Machine.
In the left pane, select ‘Display’. In the right pane move the ‘Video Memory’ to ‘128 MB’.
Click on ‘Storage’ in the left pane. In the middle pane, select the ‘Empty’ optical disk. In the right pane will be a picture of a CD with an arrow next to it. Click on the CD and select ‘Choose a Disk File’ from the drop-down box. Locate the ISO file you downloaded from the link at the beginning of the article. The file should be something similar to ‘macOS Big Sur 11.0.1 (20B29).iso’. Click on ‘Open’ when you have selected the appropriate file.
Click ‘OK’ to save the tweaks you made to the Machine. Exit the Oracle VirtualBox program. The next step requires that the program is closed and none of the files are being held open so the changes will not be made.
You need to open a Terminal window and run the following commands:
- cd /usr/bin
- VBoxManage modifyvm “BigSur” –cpuidset 00000001 000106e5 00100800 0098e3fd bfebfbff
- VBoxManage setextradata “BigSur” “VBoxInternal/Devices/efi/0/Config/DmiSystemProduct” “iMac19,1”
- VBoxManage setextradata “BigSur” “VBoxInternal/Devices/efi/0/Config/DmiSystemVersion” “1.0”
- VBoxManage setextradata “BigSur” “VBoxInternal/Devices/efi/0/Config/DmiBoardProduct” “Mac-AA95B1DDAB278B95”
- VBoxManage setextradata “BigSur” “VBoxInternal/Devices/smc/0/Config/DeviceKey” “ourhardworkbythesewordsguardedpleasedontsteal(c)AppleComputerInc”
- VBoxManage setextradata “BigSur” “VBoxInternal/Devices/smc/0/Config/GetKeyFromRealSMC” 1
The Machine Name that I suggested was ‘BigSur’, so if you changed the name you need to edit the commands. The parameter “BigSur” in the last six lines will need to match your Machine Name.
The Virtual Machine should now be completely set up and ready to start.
Starting the Machine and Installation of Big Sur
After starting the Machine, you should see a lot of text passing by on the screen. After a bit, a Graphical User Interface (GUI) should appear asking for a language preference. Choose your language and then press the right arrow icon at the bottom of the screen.
The Operating System (OS) should now scan the system for a storage device. A new screen should appear with four choices:
- Restore from Time Machine
- Install Mac OS Big Sur
- Disk Utility
First, you’ll need to select ‘Disk Utility’ to format the virtual hard disk. Click it once and select ‘Continue’ or double-click ‘Disk Utility’.
In the left pane select ‘VBOX HARDDISK Media’ and then in the right pane select the ‘Erase’ icon towards the top-right corner. On the next screen, give the virtual disk a name, like ‘BigSur’ or whatever you like. The Format should be changed to ‘Mac OS Extended(Journaled)’. The Scheme should be ‘GUID Partition Map’. Click the ‘Erase’ button. Once the format is completed, select ‘Done’. Press the red ‘X’ in the top-left corner of the ‘Disk Utility’ window.
Next, click on the ‘Install Mac OS Big Sur’ and click ‘Continue’ or double-click on ‘Install Mac OS Big Sur’.
You should be shown a screen that says ‘To set up the installation of macOS Big Sur, click Continue.’ So, click the ‘Continue’ button.
You should now be shown the Terms of the Software License Agreement. Select ‘Agree’ to continue with the installation. You are quickly prompted again whether you ‘Agree’ or ‘Disagree’ with the Software License Agreement (you want to ‘Agree’ again).
You should be shown a window with a hard disk that is labeled with the name you previously gave the Virtual disk when you erased it. Choose the hard disk image and then press the ‘Continue’ button.
You will need to wait while the OS is being installed on the Virtual Disk. After an hour or so (closer to two depending on your system), the Virtual Machine should reboot and load to a GUI.
The GUI will take you through configuring the OS that is installed. You will first be asked for your country or region from a list. Once your country is selected, press the ‘Continue’ button.
The next screen will ask you for your ‘Preferred Language’, ‘Input Source’ and ‘Dictation’. The settings should be set as defaults for the country or region you selected previously. Click ‘Continue’ when done.
Next, you will be asked to set any ‘Accessibility’ options based on ‘Vision’, ‘Motor’, ‘Hearing’ or ‘Cognitive’ needs. Make the changes you need or select ‘Not Now.’
You should now be shown information on ‘Privacy’. Click ‘Continue’ when done with the screen.
Migrating from an existing system is the next screen. You can choose to migrate from a Mac OS or Windows system. Since this is a fresh install for VirtualBox, just select ‘Not Now’ in the bottom-left corner.
You should now be prompted to enter your AppleID. Press ‘Set Up Later’ in the bottom-left corner. A smaller window appears asking if you are sure about skipping this step. Press ‘Skip’.
The ‘Terms and Conditions’ are displayed next. Click on ‘Agree’ to continue then when prompted, verify by selecting ‘Agree’ again.
Similar to a Linux setup, you will now be prompted for your name, username, password, password verification and a hint for the password. Click ‘Continue’ when you have filled in all of the necessary fields.
‘Express Setup’ is the next window. Apps and services will gather data for your location. It is set to allow analytics and usage to be sent to Apple. You can select ‘Customize Settings’ in the bottom-left to change these settings or ‘Continue’ to allow the default settings.
You can next select to allow crash and usage information with developers. Press ‘Continue’ when you have selected your choice.
You can then set up ‘Screen Time’ information or select ‘Set Up Later’ in the bottom-left corner.
Siri can be enabled on the next screen. It is enabled by default, it may be best to disable Siri before clicking ‘Continue.’
The next configuration setting is to choose your look. You can select ‘Light’, ‘Dark’ or ‘Auto’. Make your preferred choice and click on ‘Continue’.
The Mac OS should now be configuring Big Sur based on your choices.
In a short while, you should get the main Mac OS screen with a small window wanting to set your keyboard. Click on -Continue’. The first thing you need to do is press the key to the right of the left Shift key. You will then be prompted to press the key to the left of the right Shift key. The system should detect your keyboard and you can select ‘Done’ to complete the keyboard detection.
The screen you now see should be similar to Figure 1.
Right-click on the ‘Install MacOS Big Sur’ icon and click on ‘Eject’. The icon should disappear from the Big Sur Desktop.
You are now ready to update the system from version 11.01 to 11.6 as well as other system updates.
Updating Big Sur
On the bottom row of icons, there should be a ‘System Preferences’ icon towards the right side. There should be an alert noting several available updates (should be a ‘1’). Click on the icon.
When the ‘System Preferences’ loads, you should be prompted to perform an update. Select ‘Update Now’ and then click ‘Agree’ to perform the update. The update could take some time to complete.
After the update is completed, click on ‘System Preferences’ again to perform any other required updates. Continue to do this until there are no more updates.
Once you have all of the updates done (Figure 2), you can continue to familiarize yourself with running Mac OS. To download apps from the App Store, you need an Apple ID which you can create when you select to download an app.
Big Sur is a very recent version of Mac OS and is easy to install. It may be time-consuming, but once installed it works fairly well.
Sign up for an Apple ID to be able to download apps. If you do want to download apps, you should make the initial Virtual Hard Disk size greater to be able to accommodate more files.
I hope you enjoy playing with Mac OS. You can fool some people by maximizing the VirtualBox screen and setting it to no window. It will appear that you have Mac OS running for real.