Nix on MacBook Pro


Hello! This is my first post. I finally got around to installing Linux on my MacBook Pro, late 2013 model. While researching the project I came across this article which fired my curiosity to try NixOS. Having installed Arch a few times, I was prepared for a struggle. But Nix has shut me down before I could get started.

I upgraded macOS to the latest version, Mojave 10.14. Shrunk the Macintosh SSD partition and installed Linux Mint. So far, so good. They both boot and run ok. Only issue is, GRUB won’t boot macOS. lsblk -f does not display any information about the mac partition. The Mojave upgrade converted it to APFS (Apple File System) and now Linux has no drivers to read it.

But back to Nix, my problem is I’m unable to connect to my home wi-fi during the install. Nix can’t find my wireless hardware. ip a only lists a loopback device. Other networking tools, such as iw are not included in the iso. So Nix is a no-go. Any suggestions are appreciated!


That was the minimal installer, right? The graphical installer contains much more stuff, so you may like to try that.

You can also nix-env -i packageName when you run the installer (i.e. before installation into the unionfs in RAM), but obviously that won’t do until you get a working internet…


You probably need the Broadcom drivers for your Wi-Fi card. These are not free software, and so they are not distributed with the installer by default, but you can add them yourself. You’d encounter exactly the same thing if you were trying to install Debian.

If you don’t have access to ethernet for the initial installation before you can add the drivers, you’ll need to build a custom ISO that includes them. You can do this from any Linux machine with Nix installed, including a VM. You’ll probably find this thread helpful.


I find tethering to my phone for internet to grab drivers on a laptop is another great solution.


Thank you all for your helpful suggestions. I picked up a lightning-to-ethernet adapter and was able to get a hardwired internet connection for the install.

Had a pesky syntax error in configuration.nix. Finally got it sorted – it was one missing semicolon. Then it complained about needing unfree Broadcom drivers. I inserted a line allowing the install of unfree software and ran rebuild-nixos. When it was all over, it ended with a warning about not knowing how to install the boot loader. (sorry I don’t remember the exact wording) So I was left with an unbootable system.

So for today I’m going to move on to other things and leave Nix to others smarter than myself. Once again, thanks for your kind support. :slightly_smiling_face: