back to article UTM: An Apple hypervisor with some unique extra abilities

UTM is a handy hypervisor for Macs and Apple fondleslabs, but it's more than just that. It has some very particular skills. We are quite taken with it. UTM is a desktop hypervisor for Apple kit – notably for Macs with macOS 11 or later, but it also supports some iOS devices too. (Sadly, The Reg FOSS desk has none new or …

  1. Jay 2

    I looked into this when I got an M1 chipped Mac. I had some x86_64 Linux VMs I thought I'd still want around and used to use in Parallels. In one case a basic command line only CentOS 7 VM. The good news is that after a bit of messing with the various options etc I did get it to work. The bad news is that it was somewhat on the slow side.

    Whilst it was an interesting little technical problem to find a solution to, it's not something I felt the need to continue with. So I bit the bullet and decided not to bother about older OS that was x86_64 only and just used some later aarch64 varients (if available) via Parallels instead. Given that I'm an old git now and I'm a Linux sys admin and spend all day messing with boxen, when I get home I want something that not only "just works" but also doesn't tempt me to try and "fix/tweak" something. As that usually ends up with said something not working or going down some sort of rabbit-hole.

    1. Aslan

      Mandatory XKCD

      As a project wears on, standards for success slip lower and lower.

      1. Roopee Bronze badge

        Re: Mandatory XKCD

        Wonderful XKCD - got lots of those T shirts...

    2. joed

      I did prove of concept corporate w10 build using standard sccm deployment path (we've had no option to use w11). It worked but at abysmal speed (m1 pro MacBook). The situation improved once I edited some text file to force multicore use but even I'd not use it for any compute heavy apps. Needless to say 1 deployment was all I did.

      Still, I can't argue with the price of the tool and number of available options is indeed surprising.

    3. Jason Hindle

      You might have better performance with a Docker container?

      Docker on Mx does support Intel Linux containers, You might get a bit more performance. I find myself not quite able to do without a toe in Intel and Linux/Windows on bare metal.

  2. FirstTangoInParis Bronze badge

    Arm Linux is really fast

    Running Ubuntu for Arm64 on UTM really flies on an M2 MacBook. The speed of updates has to be seen to be believed, and rebooting is so fast you barely have time to pick up your mug of coffee. A vast improvement over VirtualBox on Intel MacBooks.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Arm Linux is really fast

      Debian might be even faster. On my hardware, it boots in less than a second whereas Ubuntu takes about 8 seconds. This is for a headless server, desktop deployments will be slower.

  3. Nate Amsden

    reminds me of

    Executor, still seems I have my copy of 2.0W from 1998. Seems it went open source at one point and is forked and still being developed (history) (current)

    "Executor was a commercially available Mac emulator in the 90s - what makes it different from other Mac emulators is that it doesn't need a ROM file or any original Apple software to run; rather, it attempts to re-implement the classic Mac OS APIs, just as WINE does for Windows." (from the 2nd website)

    Last time I tried bochs (directly anyway, unsure if anything I've used since has used bochs as backend) was 1998 too, it was cool to see but performance made it unusable for me at the time, fortunately VMware for linux came out a short time later..

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: reminds me of

      [Author here]

      I think the closest modern comparison to ARDI Executor is the Advanced Mac Substitute:

      It runs some Classic MacOS apps _without needing MacOS_ which was the whole point of Executor, and just as is the point with WINE.

      QEMU is a very different beast, and no, I don't think it is comparable at all.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Just wasted several hours installing XP, OS/2 Warp (installs but doesn’t boot to desktop), just because I now know I can on an M1…

  5. bazza Silver badge

    Fabrice Bellard...

    ...Writes excellent stuff. I once found a bug in a piece of his code, fed it back, fix forthcoming. I actually felt useful that day!

  6. Bebu Silver badge

    Found UTM Rather useful on a recent macbook.

    UTM would install a freebsd 13 VM when virtualbox wouldn't look at it (or oddly anything else.)

    Never heard of UTM until then. Never a great fan of apple or macs so it figures.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Found UTM Rather useful on a recent macbook.

      I would like to have seen this a week or so back. I've just wiped off subby Parallels and installed VMWare. I might still give this a spin, I like the fact it's an easier to use wrapper on QEMU.

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It's emulators all the way down.

    1. talk_is_cheap

      Well, at least until you hit the Turtles.

      1. milliemoo83


        Just take pizza with you. It'll be fine.

        1. Ken G Silver badge

          Re: Turtles

          There's good eating on them, I hear.

          1. Evil Scot

            Re: Turtles

            Doffs black Fedora

  8. Roland6 Silver badge

    “ UTM offers a gallery of pre-built guest images”

    Shame a MacOS Big Sur (x86) image isn’t available.

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