Apple’s Virtualization Framework is a great, free way to test new macOS betas

Emulating macOS versions like Ventura beta is a good way to experiment without impairing your main operating system installation.
Zoom / Emulating macOS versions like Ventura beta is a good way to experiment without impairing your main operating system installation.

Andrew Cunningham

One of the coolest Mac features for power users in the Apple Silicon era is Apple’s virtualization framework. Usually the range of paid software such as Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion, virtualization allows you to run multiple operating systems on a single Mac at the same time, which is useful for anyone who wants to run Linux on macOS, test an application they develop in different versions of macOS, Or take a look at the latest version of macOS Ventura beta without risking a major install.

Apple documentation and project samples provide everything you need to get a simple virtual machine up and running without the need for additional software. However, some independent developers have built simple, free apps on top of the virtualization framework that provides a graphical user interface for customizing settings and matching multiple guest operating systems.

Prepare for virtual

My favorite for running macOS on top of macOS is VirtualBuddy, which simplifies the process of downloading the files you need to get your Monterey or Ventura virtual machine up and running. This is the app we will be using to setup our VM model in this guide.

Another app worth looking at is UTM, which uses the virtualization framework to run ARM operating systems on top of the ARM version of macOS but also provides an easy-to-use front-end to the QEMU emulator. QEMU can emulate other processor architectures, including but not limited to x86 and PowerPC. Like all emulation, this comes with a performance penalty. But it’s an interesting way to run old operating systems on a shiny new Mac, and UTM’s VM Gallery includes sample VMs for many Linux distributions, classic Mac OS, Windows XP and Windows 7.

If you want to make macOS Monterey the default over macOS Monterey, you don’t have to download anything else. If you’re looking to make Ventura the default on top of Monterey, you’ll need to install and run the Xcode 14 beta from Apple’s developer site before you get started. When I tried it without Xcode installed, macOS tried (and failed) to download additional software to make it work—sort of like how macOS needs to download additional software the first time you use Rosetta. With the Xcode beta installed, everything works as intended (but if you can find a way to get this working without installing a 33GB app that takes over an hour to install, I’d love to know about it).

You will also need to pay attention to the hardware requirements for virtualization. VirtualBuddy and the virtualization framework do not have hard and fast requirements apart from requiring an Apple Silicon chip for macOS virtualization on macOS. But you will be running two completely separate operating systems on the same computer, and that comes with RAM and storage requirements. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend trying to virtualize macOS on an Apple Silicon Mac with less than 16GB of RAM. And more is better, especially if you will also be running heavy applications like Xcode alongside (or inside) your VM.

By default, VirtualBuddy keeps all of its files (including VM disk images) in the Documents folder of your user account. Mac users with limited internal storage may want to change that to an external drive to save space, since the default disk size for new macOS VMs is 64GB. Any external SSD connected via a 5Gbps or 10Gbps USB connection or a Thunderbolt bus should feel fast enough for most things – I use a cheap NVMe SSD in a 10Gbps USB-C enclosure – not exactly that, but like him.

#Apples #Virtualization #Framework #great #free #test #macOS #betas

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.