Installing Arch Linux on a Macbook or other UEFI systems

I’m a happy owner of a MacBook Air 13-inch “dinosaur”, but at the same time unhappy as the latest macOS (Catalina) doesn’t suit my expectations.
At lease for me this macOS version was super slow and decided not to spend any more time to try to tweak it or wait for an update but I decided to move on.

Besides the memory (I own a 4GB version), the hardware specs looks pretty good.

CPU (Intel website)

# of Cores: 2
# of Threads: 4
Processor Base Frequency: 1.30 GHz
Max Turbo Frequency: 2.60 GHz
Cache: 3 MB Intel® Smart Cache

Disk: APPLE SSD SD0128, 120GB
Wireless: BCM4360, 802.11ac

Bottom line, the hardware is not bad at all even in 2020.

I tested Debian 10 (pretty good) and Fedora 32 (not very exited), but finally decided to remain with Arch due to his lightweightness.
I used the Arch installation guide for more information please check

I’ll share the procedure that I used, can be used for any UEFI system!
Let’s leave the Apple’s Jail 🙂 and get some FREEDOM!

1. Download Arch Linux from
BitTorrent method is recommended.

2. Write Arch Linux image to an USB drive, replace archlinux-image.iso and sdX with your USB drive.
The procedure from below are for Linux/Unix users if you are using Windows please try with Rufus (
Make sure you are selecting the correct “sdX” drive as the operation will destroy your data.

dd if=archlinux-image.iso of=/dev/sdX status=progress

3. Boot from the USB drive

4. Check if the system is UEFI

ls /sys/firmware/efi/efivars

5. Check internet connectivity, please make sure at this point you have a working internet connection.

ping -c 3
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=1 ttl=55 time=9.79 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=2 ttl=55 time=8.97 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=3 ttl=55 time=9.54 ms

--- ping statistics ---
3 packets transmitted, 3 received, 0% packet loss, time 2003ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 8.972/9.432/9.785/0.340 ms

5. Update date and time

timedatectl set-ntp true

6. Partition the disk, we need three partitions, EFI, swap and the ext4 root partition.
Note: In my example the drive will be /dev/sdX, please make sure you select the drive correctly and you backup your data, all the data will be lost!

fdisk /dev/sdX
Command (m for help): g
Created a new GPT disklabel (GUID: 1A87692C-313C-FC4E-98A7-F383497A37CA).


Command (m for help): n
Partition number (1-128, default 1): 
First sector (2048-236978142, default 2048): 
Last sector, +/-sectors or +/-size{K,M,G,T,P} (2048-236978142, default 236978142): +512M

Created a new partition 1 of type 'Linux filesystem' and of size 512 MiB.

Command (m for help): type
Selected partition 1
Partition type (type L to list all types): 1
Changed type of partition 'Linux filesystem' to 'EFI System'.


Command (m for help): n
Partition number (2-128, default 2): 
First sector (1050624-236978142, default 1050624): 
Last sector, +/-sectors or +/-size{K,M,G,T,P} (1050624-236978142, default 236978142): +108G

Created a new partition 2 of type 'Linux filesystem' and of size 108 GiB.


Command (m for help): n
Partition number (3-128, default 3): 
First sector (227543040-236978142, default 227543040): 
Last sector, +/-sectors or +/-size{K,M,G,T,P} (227543040-236978142, default 236978142): 

Created a new partition 3 of type 'Linux filesystem' and of size 4.5 GiB.

Command (m for help): type
Selected partition 3
Partition type (type L to list all types): 19
Changed type of partition 'Linux filesystem' to 'Linux swap'.

Command (m for help): w
The partition table has been altered.
Syncing disks.

Your layout should be:

fdisk -l /dev/sdX
Disk /dev/sda: 113 GiB, 121332826112 bytes, 236978176 sectors
Disk model: APPLE SSD SD0128
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 4096 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes
Disklabel type: gpt
Disk identifier: C8A90784-F69D-DF42-A1F2-F8D798227B81

Device         Start       End   Sectors  Size Type
/dev/sda1       2048   1050623   1048576  512M EFI System
/dev/sda2    1050624 227543039 226492416  108G Linux filesystem
/dev/sda3  227543040 236978142   9435103  4.5G Linux swap

7. Format partitions

mkfs.vfat -F32 /dev/sda1
mkfs.fat 4.1 (2017-01-24)
mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda2
mke2fs 1.45.6 (20-Mar-2020)
Discarding device blocks: done                            
Creating filesystem with 28311552 4k blocks and 7077888 inodes
Filesystem UUID: bbbc9738-cb31-4d09-ad0a-afdb955f74cb
Superblock backups stored on blocks: 
	32768, 98304, 163840, 229376, 294912, 819200, 884736, 1605632, 2654208, 
	4096000, 7962624, 11239424, 20480000, 23887872

Allocating group tables: done                            
Writing inode tables: done                            
Creating journal (131072 blocks): 
Writing superblocks and filesystem accounting information: done  
mkswap /dev/sda3
Setting up swapspace version 1, size = 4.5 GiB (4830765056 bytes)
no label, UUID=d7340dbe-b432-41f9-8a1e-c50e598efb48

8. Mount filesystem

mount /dev/sdX2 /mnt
swapon /dev/sda3

9. Install the base

pacstrap /mnt base linux linux-firmware

10. Generate fstab

genfstab -U /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab

11. Chroot

arch-chroot /mnt

12. Timezone

ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/Bucharest /etc/localtime

13. Localization

pacman -S vim
vim /etc/locale.gen # uncomment en_US.UTF

14. Change root password and add user

useradd -m your_user
passwd your_user

15. Install Grub boot loader

mkdir /boot/efi
mount /dev/sdX1 /boot/efi
pacman -S --noconfirm grub efibootmgr
grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=/boot/efi
grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

16. Locale settings

localectl set-locale LANG="en_US.UTF-8"
localectl set-x11-keymap us

16. Install Gnome

pacman -S xorg gdm gnome network-manager xterm
systemctl enable gdm
systemctl enable NetworkManager

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