For those who want to experiment with virtualising macOS on Apple silicon Macs, I’m delighted to offer my own experiment at last, Viable. This is early beta software built using a beta release of Xcode and beta Virtualization features on a beta release of macOS, so anything could happen. That said, I’ve only experienced one crash during recent testing on both macOS 12.4 and 13 beta, and that occurred when building two VMs in succession.
To run Viable, you must have:
- an Apple silicon Mac; it won’t run on any Intel model;
- macOS Monterey 12.4 or later;
- virtual machines built with macOS Monterey or Ventura, which Viable will build for you.
It comes with a ReadMe file and the same information built into a basic Help window.
When running on Ventura, you have an extra option to start up in Recovery Mode, which let me make the screenshots I showed yesterday.
It can automatically download the latest release of Monterey from Apple and build it into a new VM, or you can build VMs using IPSW images used to restore Apple silicon Macs in DFU mode. One excellent source for those is Mr. Macintosh.
Build settings require you to set the size of the VM’s boot disk, together with the number of cores and memory size; the latter two can also be set when launching the VM later.
Current features include:
- configurable CPU core count, memory, display resolution (choice of three);
- multiple concurrent VMs; given sufficient host resources, you can run at least two VMs at once;
- support for most devices, including accelerated graphics, NAT networking, pointing devices (mouse, trackpad, with full support over Universal Control), keyboard, audio, entropy (random number generation);
- Rosetta 2, allowing you to run Intel apps within a VM.
Features not yet supported include:
- iCloud and Apple ID, which require the granting of a special entitlement by Apple;
- shared directories between guest and host; currently the best workaround is via file sharing on the host;
- shared clipboards;
- detailed progress reporting during IPSW download or installation.
Viable is intended to be as lightweight as possible, and is currently well under 1 MB in size. Once I have completed the work I’m using it for I intend moving on to virtualising Linux likewise.
Viable 1.0 beta 1 is now available from here: viable1b1
It doesn’t have bells and whistles such as auto-updating, or even its own product page yet. We’ll see whether it proves worth those.
I’ve had one report of a crash in Viable that may have resulted from the Mac going to sleep while downloading an IPSW from Apple. This was fixed by disabling sleep. I’m looking into what I can do to work around that, for the next beta.