Installing Arch Linux on a MacBookPro - Part 3

January 2021 ยท 4 minutes


This is part three of a three part series on how to install macOS Big Sur and Arch Linux on a MacBookPro11,3:

Configuring Arch Linux

Step 1: Generate an fstab file

Make a backup of fstab:

cp /mnt/etc/fstab /mnt/etc/fstab.bak

Generate output for the fstab file (use -U or -L to use UUIDs or labels for source identifiers, respectively):

genfstab -L /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab

Step 2: Chroot into the new system

Change root (chroot) into the new system:

arch-chroot /mnt

Step 3: Install necessary packages

Download a fresh copy of the master package database from the server(s) defined in pacman.conf:

pacman -Sy

Install necessary packages:

pacman -S man-db man-pages vim

Note: Packages included in the live installation are not included on the new system.

Step 4: Set the time zone

Set the time zone:

timedatectl set-timezone <region>/<city>

For a list of available time zones, run:

timedatectl list-timezones

Set the RTC (real-time clock) from the system time:

hwclock --systohc

Step 5: Configure localization

Make a backup of locale.gen:

cp /etc/locale.gen /etc/locale.gen.bak

Edit /etc/locale.gen and uncomment en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8 and any other needed locales.

Run the locale-gen command to generate the locales, placing them in /usr/lib/locale:


Set the system locale by creating a /etc/locale.conf and adding the following line:



Note: A list of valid locales can be found in /etc/locale.gen.

If you set the keyboard layout, make the changes persistent in vconsole.conf:



Note: A list of valid keymaps can be found by running localectl list-keymaps.

Note: Locales are used by glibc and other locale-aware programs or libraries for rendering text, correctly displaying regional monetary values, time and date formats, alphabetic idiosyncrasies, and other locale-specific standards.

Step 6: Configure network

Create the hostname file:



Create the hosts file:

/etc/hosts    localhost
::1          localhost    <hostname>.localdomain    <hostname>

Note: The installation image uses systemd-networkd and systemd-resolved. systemd-networkd configures a DHCP client for wired and wireless network interfaces. These must be enabled and configured on the new system.

Install iwd:

pacman -S iwd

Install broadcom-wl:

pacman -S broadcom-wl

Configure systemd-networkd:









Configure systemd-resolved:

ln -sf /run/systemd/resolve/stub-resolv.conf /etc/resolv.conf

Ensure systemd-networkd, systemd-resolved, and iwd start on boot:

systemctl enable systemd-networkd.service
systemctl enable systemd-resolved.service
systemctl enable iwd

Step 7: Set the root password

Set the root password:


Step 8: Install and configure a boot loader

Apple’s native EFI boot loader reads .efi files located within the EFI system partition (/mnt/boot) at $ESP/EFI/BOOT/BOOTX64.EFI. Fortunately, this is also the default install location for the systemd-boot binary. This means that booting Arch Linux using systemd-boot is very simple.

Note: The EFI system partition should be mounted to /mnt/boot (/boot within the new system).

Note: systemd-boot is the recommended boot loader for systems that support UEFI.

  1. Ensure the EFI system partition is mounted:

    ls /boot
  2. Install systemd-boot into the EFI system partition:

    bootctl install

This command installs systemd-boot into the EFI system partition. A copy of systemd-boot will be stored as the EFI default/fallback loader at $ESP/EFI/BOOT/BOOT*.EFI. The loader is then added to the top of the firmware’s boot loader list.

Configure systemd-boot

systemd-boot is a simple UEFI boot manager, which executes configured EFI images. The default entry is selected by a configured pattern (glob) or an on-screen menu navigated via arrow-keys. It is included with systemd, which is installed on Arch Linux systems by default.

The loader configuration is stored in the file $ESP/loader/loader.conf.


default arch.conf
timeout 3

systemd-boot will search for boot menu items in $ESP/loader/entries/*.conf.


title      Arch Linux
linux      /vmlinuz-linux
initrd     /intel-ucode.img
initrd     /initramfs-linux.img
options    root="LABEL=Arch"

Note: An example entry file is located at /usr/share/systemd/bootctl/arch.conf.

Step 9: Reboot

Exit the chrooted environment by typing exit.

Optionally, you can manually unmount all the partitions with umount -R /mnt.

Restart the machine with reboot.