HowTo: Installing Yosemite into VirtualBox

This post should give a quick overview and some background on how to install Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite in VirtualBox version 4.3.22.

VirtualBox is great because it is probably the only free and open source software based virtualization environment that supports most common platforms (like GNU/Linux, Windows, and Macintosh) and where the virtual machines are portable in case you want to switch the host’s operating system.

Apple gratefully allows users to install their operating system in a virtualization environment since Mac OS X 10.07 Lion. Also with Yosemite this appears to be (still) allowed. The software license agreement states it like this: “[…] you are granted a limited, non-transferable, non-exclusive license […] (iii) to install, use and run up to two (2) additional copies or instances of the Apple Software within virtual operating system environments on each Mac Computer you own or control that is already running the Apple Software, for purposes of: (a) software development; (b) testing during software development; (c) using OS X Server; or (d) personal, non-commercial use.

As it only allows owners of Macintoshs to install Mac OS X as guest operating system, the VirtualBox end user forum even restricts their discussions to topics that will not violate Apple’s SLA.

Not only the license terms but also the approach to install VirtualBox is slightly complicated. Happily IOOI SqAR has a nice and very helpful step-by-step guide on how to installing Yosemite in VirtualBox. The there given script on how to created an ISO image out of Apple’s Yosemite is the actual key to success and speeds up the process in doing so a lot.

Following this I ran into a problem when the Yosemite ISO was booting. The boot procedure got stuck with the message “Missing Bluetooth Controller Transport”. The solution was to shut down the virtual machine, run the following command …

VBoxManage modifyvm 'YourVMname' --cpuidset 1 000206a7 02100800 1fbae3bf bfebfbff

… and reboot. The hint came from yet another guide on how to Install OS X 10.10 Yosemite in VirtualBox. The issue is also discussed at the bug tracker of VirtualBox within ticket #12802 and seems to simulate a Haswell (Ivy Bridge ?) chipset.

The default resolution will be 1024×768. In case you prefer a higher resolution, you can easily change it by executing the following command ideally before the first boot of the virtual machine:

VBoxManage setextradata 'YourVMname' VBoxInternal2/EfiGopMode N

Where N can be one of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 referring to the 640×480, 800×600, 1024×768, 1280×1024, 1440×900, 1920×1200 screen resolution respectively.

3D Acceleration appears not to be supported at all within the guest system. Overall performance is rather unstable not to call it experimental. The list of supported features by proprietary visualization environments is by the way also not much longer. Quite sad as virtualization environments are very useful to test some unknown software or tweaks without affecting your productive environment. Probably OS X is so stable that this just cannot happen or could it be just another hint for Apple’s restrictive and jailed locked computing environment?

I am just curious if Apple would allow me to run OS X in a virtual environment on a Macintosh with a host operating system other than OS X … like GNU/Linux?