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Liberating the MacBook Air 2013 with Linux – Full Information

Liberating the MacBook Air 2013 with Linux – Full Information

2023-04-04 04:22:23

Are you bored with not getting safety updates? Is your previous MacBook getting sluggish and also you need to present a brand new life to it? Look no additional: Liberate it with Linux!

Earlier than we proceed, use this information is provided that you have already got an previous MacBook mendacity round or in the event you discovered one extraordinarily low cost, as computer systems like Lenovo or Framework would have higher Linux help.

Regardless of being previous, and a bit abused, the pocket book nonetheless holds some high quality. It was slimmer and lighter than the rest I had at dwelling, at 1.35 kg. The display was nice at 1440×900 and responded nicely after I downscaled the decision of some video games. The audio system sounded higher and tasks farther than the ASUS ROG Strix(GL502VS) for each video games and movies. The keyboard works positive, however I nonetheless miss some keys that I needed to arrange shortcuts later. Lastly, you’ll be able to nonetheless discover elements simply on Amazon and AliExpress if one thing must be changed.

I needed to substitute the battery, I discovered it on Amazon, and it was easy to put in it with this guide from IFIXT. However I like to recommend enthusiastic about it a bit extra if you want to change extra elements to make it usable (display, SSD, keyboard, trackpad) as the costs will pile up, and that cash may very well be used for a greater product. Additionally, SSD for Apple is not going to work for different firms.

This isn’t a information for newer MacBook. You’ll have to comply with totally different steps as over time Apple is making tougher and tougher to repair their {hardware}. Use this hyperlink for T2 chip, or if in case you have the M1 chip there’s a distro specializing in bringing Linux to it, Asahi.

If you’re acquainted with Linux and simply what to repair the Wi-Fi or digital camera, leap to those steps:


Why do all of this?

Execs of liberating an previous MacBook

  • Get your desktop snappier once more
  • Make it safer with the newest updates
  • Assist cut back digital waste
  • You’ll be able to nonetheless discover spare elements, like batteries, on websites like Amazon or AliExpress
  • Linux’s set up is easy as in some other {hardware}


  • The keys and gestures are a bit totally different from what you have been used with the MacBook. However you’ll be able to modify to your preferences
  • Newer variations may want additional steps to configure the {hardware}
  • Broadcom Wi-Fi is a nightmare, and we’d want USB Tethering to configure it correctly if the distro doesn’t help it and your MacBook doesn’t have Ethernet
  • Getting the digital camera working is a hit and miss

What you’ll need

  • Outdated MacBook: I will likely be utilizing a MacBook Air 2013
  • USB storage system: >=4GB
  • (optionally available) Cellular Cellphone that helps USB tethering. If Linux doesn’t acknowledge your Wi-Fi out of the field, and your MacBook doesn’t have an Ethernet port
  • (optionally available) A cable to attach the Cellphone to the MacBook

The 1st step – Determine what sort of expertise you need to have along with your Linux.

TL;DR: Attempt EndeavourOS – Snappier, lighter and extra versatile of the bunch. The one distro I didn’t have to make use of USB Tethering and the simplest to get the webcam working. However it’s not essentially the most beginner-friendly of the bunch.

Linux has many colours and flavours. When deciding what sort of expertise you need to have, typically traces, you want to take into consideration two issues:

  • Distribution (distro): What packages and philosophies you want. Don’t worry an excessive amount of about that in case you are a newbie, as most packages can be found throughout distros.
  • Desktop Interface/Surroundings(DE): it defines the way you see your desktop and the way you work together with it.

I confirmed just a few DE choices to the person who will likely be utilizing this pocket book, and so they favored Gnome, for its visuals and trackpad gestures out of the field. However take into consideration that KDE Plasma and XFCE are appropriate choices as nicely, and with extra choices to customise than Gnome. If you’re tech-savvy and need to make your Linux behave precisely like a macOS, KDE is perhaps the simplest to attain that.

Whereas scripting this information I attempted many distros: Fedora Workstation, Fedora Silverblue, Manjaro, Nobara, Pop-OS, ElementaryOS. All of them labored comparable, however none acknowledged the Wi-Fi out of the field and I had to make use of USB tethering to a cell phone to get the Wi-Fi working.

I additionally tried EndeavourOS, it’s fairly common and I meant to attempt it for some time. EndeavourOS detected the Wi-Fi from the Reside USB and since it’s Arch based mostly, it was the simplest to get the drivers for the FacetimeHD digital camera from the AUR. If you wish to make your life simpler through the set up, I recommend utilizing EndeavourOS, however I’ll cowl all of the bases on this information in case you determine to go along with a unique distro.

Normally, when associates ask me what they need to use for his or her first Linux distribution, I like to recommend Fedora. It’s beginner-friendly, secure, good updates and you’ll find a lot of the software program you’ll need. However the set up course of for the present model, Fedora 37, just isn’t working for Macs. It labored for Fedora 36, Fedora 37 beta, and Fedora Rawhide. I suppose somebody tousled when publishing the ultimate model. Alternatively, you’ll be able to attempt putting in the model 36, then updating it to 37 when you get the Wi-Fi going.

It’s straightforward to attempt Linux with out putting in it, from the stay USB. So, you’ll be able to attempt just a few earlier than deciding which one you like. Additionally, whereas I used to be scripting this information, evidently individuals had higher success with different distros in numerous fashions of MacBook.

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Step two – Making a stay USB

For this step, you’ll need:

  • USB storage system
  • Balena Etcher, or
  • Fedora Media Writer in the event you determine to go along with the Fedora household.
  • sudo dd bs=4M if=/path/to/manjaro.iso of=/dev/sd[drive letter] standing=progress oflag=sync in case you are on Linux, more details
  • ISO File of your chosen distro.

Downloading the ISO

If you’re utilizing Fedora Media Author, you’ll be able to skip this step, as it would obtain and write the picture to your USB.

Some distributions supply an ISO per desktop atmosphere, as within the case of Manjaro. For EndeavourOS it’s a single ISO and you choose your desktop atmosphere through the set up, if in case you have web; in any other case you’ll set up XFCE as your DE.

In addition to the ISO file, they provide a checksum file(sha512sum) and a Signature (GPG) used to validate that the ISO you downloaded was not tampered.

Discover these recordsdata and obtain them. The EndeavourOS may be discovered here

Scroll to “You’ll be able to obtain it right here:” and obtain from the placement nearer to you. You may as well use Torrent, I discovered it sooner for my area.

Writing the picture

Plug your USB storage in your laptop – it may very well be your previous MacBook whether it is practical.

For many distros

  1. Open Balena Etcher
  2. Flash from file – choose the ISO you downloaded
  3. Choose goal – choose the USB storage system you plugged in
  4. Flash

For fedora

  1. Open Fedora Media Author, choose Obtain Routinely then click on subsequent
  2. Choose Official Editions, and on the dropdown, be sure that Workstation is chosen. Then click on Subsequent.

The opposite choices:
Labs – Fedora presents just a few variations full of software program for various areas.
Spins – In the event you don’t need to attempt Gnome, you need to use one in every of these variations.
Rising Editions – Silverblue (Gnome) and Kinoite(KDE) is perhaps the way forward for Desktop, however due to their novelty you may battle a bit extra to seek out the stuff you want.

  1. Choose Model, {Hardware} Structure Intel/AMD 64bit, USB Drive choose your USB storage you simply plugged. Then click on write.

Be aware: In the mean time I write this, there’s a downside with the Fedora 37 installer and MacBook. However it’s working for Fedora 36, 37 beta and fedora Rawhide. One strategy to get the 37 is to pick out the model 36, after which after the set up, you replace it to 37.

Step Three – Set up

You don’t want to totally decide to Linux earlier than making an attempt. The set up media means that you can use most of its assets when you plug and boot

Earlier than processing with a full set up, backup your knowledge on the macOS if wanted.

  1. Flip off the MacBook
  2. Plug within the USB storage with the Linux picture into the MacBook
  3. Discover and maintain the “Alt key” (or Possibility) then energy it on.

If it doesn’t work, affirm on this link the appropriate key mixture to your {hardware}.

You might be presupposed to see a picture like this

  1. Choose EFI Boot with the Orange system, just like the picture above.

The stay USB will take some time in addition, and you’ll be offered with the desktop atmosphere of your alternative. At this level, you’ll be able to mess around with it, in case you are not happy, attempt a unique distribution.

If you wish to use the web, however there isn’t any Wi-Fi, you may need to use the USB Tethering along with your telephone, as defined in Wi-Fi.

  1. As soon as you’re happy with a distribution. Choose Set up, Begin the installer or comparable.

If the set up panel is gone, you’ll find it on the dock or on the record of obtainable purposes.

All Linux installations are comparable, with just a few modifications between then. You’ll be requested to decide on:

  • keyboard structure
  • location / time zone
  • username and password
  • set up vacation spot (the place to put in)

For EndeavourOS, you may be capable of use Wi-Fi, and in addition choose what Desktop Surroundings to make use of in the event you select the On-line


The half the place you may need bother putting in is on every distro is the set up vacation spot (the place to put in).
My advice is to pick out the storage and to overwrite/erase the whole lot. I’ll present 2 examples right here

  1. On Set up Vacation spot, be sure that your ATA Apple SSD is chosen and storage configuration is Automated. Click on Carried out.

If you’re a extra superior person, you need to use customized to tweak your storage a bit.

  1. A warning about house will seem, click on Reclaim House
  1. Click on Delete All, then Reclaim House.
  1. At Partitions, choose the storage system
  1. Select to Erase Disk

If you’re a extra superior person, you need to use customized to tweak your storage a bit.

  1. Click on Subsequent

If, for some purpose, it complains in regards to the storage, one possibility is to manually clear the SSD, most distros include a Partition Supervisor, like GParted or comparable.

You’ll want to choose the SSD (sda). Then delete the partitions in there till you see a single unallocated. Finish by confirming the modifications.

Now you’ll be able to return to step 6 and choose it to put in your distro of alternative.

Carried out
  1. As soon as the whole lot is ready. Start Set up.

As soon as the set up is finished, you’ll be prompted to reboot your laptop, reboot and take away the USB.


If the Wi-Fi just isn’t working after set up, most likely your Linux is lacking the Broadcom wi-fi driver, broadcom-wl.

And, In case your MacBook doesn’t have an Ethernet port, for this step you’ll need:

  • Cellular Cellphone that helps USB tethering.
  • A cable to attach the Cellphone to the MacBook.

Join the cable to your telephone and MacBook, then allow tethering in your telephone. For Android, you’ll be able to follow these steps. Your telephone must have entry to the web, both by Wi-Fi or knowledge plan.

See Also

In your laptop it ought to present like you’re related by cable and you must be capable of navigate the web.

For Arch based mostly distros (Arch, Manjaro, EndeavourOS):

You may get broadcom-wl from AUR

  1. Open the terminal
  2. run yay -Syu broadcom-wl
    a. as an alternative of yay you may want to make use of no matter is your AUR helper.

Extra particulars,x

For Fedora based mostly distros (Fedora, Nobara):

Utilizing terminal:

  1. Add RPM Fusion repository (Nobara comes with it by default). Follow these steps.
  2. Replace your system with sudo dnf up (On Nobara you’ll be able to run the replace & sync from the appliance record)
  3. Set up with sudo dnf set up broadcom-wl.
  4. Reboot and you should have a working Wi-Fi

Troubleshoot. If the Wi-Fi remains to be not working, you may attempt what was prompt however the Reddit person u/allregshere here

  1. Set up kernel-devel package deal – sudo dnf -y set up kernel-devel-$(uname -r)
  2. Compile drivers – sudo akmods --force
  3. sudo depmod -a
  4. sudo modprobe wl
For Debian based mostly distros (Pop!_OS, ElementaryOS):

This one was a bit inconsistent for every distro. So, I recommend you to Google your distro identify + MacBook model + “wifi”, if this doesn’t be just right for you.

  1. sudo apt-get replace
  2. Reinstall the Broadcom drivers sudo apt-get --reinstall set up bcmwl-kernel-source
  3. sudo modprobe -r b43 ssb wl brcmfmac brcmsmac bcma
  4. sudo modprobe wl


This was essentially the most inconsistent system to make it work throughout distros. Additionally, Cheese an utility that may come by default with some distributions is not working with this digital camera, so ignore it. You may take a look at the digital camera along with your most well-liked utility like OBS, Zoom, Google Meets, Jitsi. Or utilizing mpv or Gstreamer on the terminal. Instance: Run GST_V4L2_USE_LIBV4L2=1 gst-launch-1.0 v4l2src ! xvimagesink utilizing the terminal.

For Arch based mostly distros (Arch, Manjaro, EndeavourOS):
  1. On terminal and run yay -Syu bcwc-pcie-git
  2. As a substitute of yay you may want to make use of no matter is your AUR helper.
  3. If the digital camera just isn’t working but, reboot.
For different distros:

Observe the set up information from this GitHub repository


All distros include some type of “Retailer” for softwares. However Flatpak is an efficient strategy to get the App you want with out many issues.


This mannequin comes with an onboard GPU, intel HD 5000. So, you can’t anticipate a lot from it for video games, however I used to be capable of have enjoyable with just a few titles.
I additionally tried to play with a DualSense controller. Bluetooth didn’t pair with the unique macOS, and it didn’t pair with Linux both. However I may use it related by cable.
Lastly, not all video games labored Native with all distros. However Proton labored with out issues.


Works nice, no issues.

The Case of the Golden Idol

It simply works, no want to alter something.

Tomb Raider

I bought fairly excited after I noticed the submit on notebookcheck that they bought playable framerates on a number of video games, like Tomb Raider (2013), after I examined the benchmark within the sport I observed I missed some vital info, they downscaled loads from the Native Decision of 1440×900 pixels.

Borderlands 2

I attempted Borderlands simply to check a first-person shooter with the DualSense controller. For some purpose, the controller enter was not working correctly. I had the appropriate stick and the gyro, the whole lot else wouldn’t work, I attempted totally different controllers’ structure from Steam however nothing. However all began working after I restarted the pc.

Downscaling it helped to maintain the framerate playable at round 35 FPS.

Whole Conflict: SHOGUN 2

One other title I noticed within the notebookcheck overview. I couldn’t make this sport, or its benchmarks load.

Rocket League

The sport works positive, I used to be taking part in at 45 FPS with out downscaling the decision, I simply disabled all results and set it to efficiency mode.

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