Installing Fedora 18 on a Macbook Air (mid-2012)

┬áIf you’re like me, you’re a little eager for the GA release of Fedora 18. I have been using the Beta on all of my kit for the past week and I have to say, I absolutely love it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get the Beta installed on my Macbook Air…

I found out last night, that I have been having issues because of a bug in the efibootmgr package which was on the Beta release DVD.

If you have been able to run the installation media perfectly fine, yet keep scratching your head as to why the boot loader installation fails, perhaps this might be applying to you as well. If you’d like to see details about the bug, click here.

After reading through the bugzilla thread, I noticed that the issue was resolved and the new Test Candidate installer should fix the issue.

The long story short is, they were right. I downloaded the Fedora 18 x86_64 Test Candidate 2 DVD media and it worked perfectly.

If you can’t find a mirror to download the test candidate, click here.

It looks like the days of adding the “noapic nointremap nomodeset” arguments to the kernel boot options are now behind us. The installation proceedure is exactly like any normal x86 hardware now. (With the exception of holding down the “option” key to get to the boot menu of course).


I have only been able to verify that this installation works on the Macbook Air (mid-2012). If you are using a different Macbook and this installation is now working successful, please leave a comment for those readers looking for solutions.

15 comments on “Installing Fedora 18 on a Macbook Air (mid-2012)

  1. zara December 31, 2012 10:41

    When fedora 18 will be finally released can you make a tutorial to install fedora 18 on macbook air?

    • Dale Macartney December 31, 2012 17:10

      Hi Zara

      The installation of the final release will be the same as what is currently available in the Beta and Test Candidates.

      The installation procedure won’t be changing.


  2. Tony Martin January 17, 2013 13:20

    Hi, thanks, this was very encouraging. Now the final release has arrived, I have been playing with Fedora 18 Gnome and XFCE and both are really impressive. Well done Fedora team. However, although they boot fine on my macbook air 13.6 mid 2012 from an external dvd drive, I cannot get a successful installation to the mac SSD using install to disk.

    Ubuntu installed fine, but I really want to use Fedora. I removed ubuntu to free up the space and ran the Fedora Install to disk, but it always installs a bios boot partition. I cannot see any option to make it install an EFI boot loader. This is all new me and I am trying to get my head around EFI booting. Any suggestions, or perhaps a bit more detail of how you installed would be very helpful.


    • Dale Macartney January 18, 2013 20:39

      Hi Tony

      I have performed a clean Fedora 18 install today on another Macbook Air. I had no problems at all. Simply boot from DVD or other media and install.

      Which media are you using specifically?
      What partitioning layout are you using?

      A quick point I stumbled on, the /boot/efi volume needs to be hfs+ and not ext3 or ext4.

      Hope this helps.


      • Tony Martin January 20, 2013 11:56

        Dale, thanks for you response.

        I am using the default live Gnome 64bit DVD.

        I reinstalled, selecting – no bootloader, and changed the boot partition to HFS+, but still no joy.

        however, I didn’t think to mention that I had Refit installed.

        So I decided to remove refit, and when I rebooted, holding down the option key, I got an entry for windows. When I selected that, f18 just booted straight away. So I am now very happy.

        Incidentally, I do software development and really need a second screen. I have a Kensington display link usb dock. This now works really well with f18. The moment the adapter is plugged in, Fedora just recognizes the display.

        The only problem is, I cannot get the external display to be primary in gnome (there is an xrandr error occuring which I shall report as a bug). But I actually still marginally prefer xfce, and with that desktop, using x,y offset, I can nicely make the external display be the primary.

        So now I have a 1920 x 1200 display running as well as the mba 1400×900 display.
        (and I can live without the squeeze to zoom now). And with the macbook air, dragging windows on the external display is really quite smooth.

        Very cool.

        Many thanks

  3. Nunzio January 23, 2013 20:30

    Hi Dale, thank you for your uesful post.
    I did not understand how you managed to install F18, though. A guide is mentioned in one of the comments but there’s no link to it whatsoever.
    I am using F18 live (final) on a USB stick but the installation process on my Mb Air (4.2) aborts with errors when anaconda tries to create the ext4 root filesystem (“/”) on /dev/sda5.
    I have created a /boot ext3 partition in /dev/sda4 too.
    Should I have rEFIt installed in OS X?
    Where should I tell anaconda to install the bootloader?

    Thanks in advance for your help,


    • Dale Macartney January 23, 2013 22:49

      Hi Nunzio

      If you have managed to get to the partitioning section then you definitely don’t need to worry about rEFit.

      As Fedora 18 is now completely EFI based, you actually need to make sure you have a /boot/efi partition as well. The default is 200mb and must be formatted as a hfs+ filesystem. This did catch me out a few times.

      The bootloader will then attempt to boot the /boot/efi partition.

      Please note, I experienced absolutely no problems installing Fedora 18 on my current laptop which is a Macbook Air Mid-2012 release. I have just been given a first generation Macbook Air which still requires the addition “nointremap” flag to be added to grub in order to boot correctly. Please keep this in mind if Fedora does not boot correctly after you complete the installation.


  4. Nunzio January 24, 2013 02:00

    Thank you Dale. You were right, the installation process completed succesfully after I created an hfs+ partition in gparted and mounted it as /boot/efi in anaconda.
    Now I am experiencing a different problem: when I choose Mac OS X from the GRUB menu the system does not boot.
    I get three messages like: “error. Command not found: xnu_xxx” with xxx being either “uuid” or “kernel 64” or “kext dir”.
    I can only boot in OS X if I keep the Alt button pressed at startup and then choose “Macintosh HD” as the boot drive. Do you know what is going on and how to fix it?

    • Dale Macartney January 25, 2013 12:46

      Hi Nunzio

      As I never use OSX I am unfamiliar with the particulars. Your best bet would be checking out /boot/efi/EFI/fedora/grub.cfg and checking for any discrepancies.

  5. Karzzon January 29, 2013 01:12

    Anyone having a problem with their macbook after installing fedora 18 where on every boot, brightness and keyboard back light goes back to 100%? Also Bluetooth keeps turning itself back on at every boot.

  6. Bobby January 29, 2013 12:59

    I have had no luck getting my late 2012 13″ MacBook Air working. When I try to boot via USB key (either the live image or the DVD) to start the setup/install it warns “secure boot disabled” and then drops into the rescue command line. Has anyone hear of this problem? I tried it on a Mid 2012 MacBook Pro and had the same issue.

    • Bobby January 30, 2013 03:46

      FYI for anyone who runs into this same problem; do NOT use unetbootin to create your bootable USB from the Fedora 18 iso image. It creates it’s own boot setup that is not efi compatible (I think it may have something to do with the unetbootin’s option to create save space on the USB drive.)

      Anyway the solutions it to simply make the USB stick using good old fashioned dd from the iso image. Everything worked fine after that.

  7. Jonathan May 28, 2013 20:20

    I installed F18 on my mid 2012 MBA without issue (used dd to create a USB stick, everything else was fine)

    My issue is that the MBA has 8gb ram, but F18 only sees 4. I used the 64bit F18 KDE live iso.


    • Jonathan May 28, 2013 20:47

      Nevermind. Yum Update — reboot and sees all the ram.

      Last hurdle is the backlit keyboard and we’re golden (mine does not turn on)

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