Running MacOS on VMware Fusion

1. Get MacOS Installer



i. Download the desired version

There are links to download from the App Store at For example, I want to download Catalina.

If it mentions that the version is not suitable to be installed, it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is /Applications contains a file called Install macOS (or other version).

Alternatively, an installer can be downloaded with Munki’s InstallMacOS utility (but I didn’t try this)

mkdir -p ~/macOS-installer && cd ~/macOS-installer && curl > && sudo python

ii. Set up the installer

Using either method in the previous step, there should be a Install macOS <version>.app file.

With Catalina as an example, run the following commands.

  1. Create a DMG disk image
    hdiutil create -o /tmp/Catalina -size 8500m -volname Catalina -layout SPUD -fs HFS+J
  2. Mount the disk image
    hdiutil attach /tmp/Catalina.dmg -noverify -mountpoint /Volumes/Catalina
  3. Use createinstallmedia utility to create the installer on the mounted volume
    sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ --volume /Volumes/Catalina --nointeraction
  4. Once createinstallemdia has finished, unmount the volume
    hdiutil detach /Volumes/Install\ macOS\ Catalina
  5. Convert the DMG disk image to CDR
    hdiutil convert /tmp/Catalina.dmg -format UDTO -o ~/Desktop/Catalina.cdr
  6. Rename ISO to CDR
    mv ~/Desktop/Catalina.cdr ~/Desktop/Catalina.iso


2. Install macOS in VMware Fusion

  1. Create new VM
  2. Install from disc or image
  3. Select .iso file created earlier
  4. Follow installation steps
  5. Wait 20 mins maybe


3. Disable System Integrity Protection (SIP)



It is best to disable SIP when doing security research. Otherwise, there are some security settings that will make life inconvenient.

To disable SIP, the installer ISO will be used again. (By default, it is still mounted onto the CD/DVD drive, so nothing needs to be done.)

  1. Find the Settings button of VMware Fusion
  2. Choose Startup Disk
  3. Choose CD/DVD and click Restart

The VM will now restart and boot into the ISO used earlier.

  1. At the top bar, Utility->Terminal
  2. Enter csrutil disable in the terminal

Now, it is time to restart back to the system. Similar to earlier,

  1. Find the Settings button of VMware Fusion
  2. Choose Startup Disk
  3. Choose Hard Disk (SATA) and click Restart

In the VM, open a terminal and enter csrutil status to see that SIP has been disabled.