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A Step-by-Step Guide to Downloading and Installing rEFInd for Mac


Download rEFInd Boot Manager for Mac


If you have a Mac computer and you want to boot multiple operating systems on it, such as Windows, Linux, or macOS itself, you might be interested in downloading and installing the rEFInd boot manager. In this article, we will explain what rEFInd is, why you might want to use it, and how to download, install, and use it on your Mac.




Download Refind Boot Manager For Mac

What is rEFInd?


  • rEFInd is a fork of the older rEFIt boot manager, which has not been updated since 2010. Like rEFIt, rEFInd is a program that runs on your Mac's EFI or UEFI firmware and presents a graphical menu of boot options when you turn on your computer. Unlike rEFIt, however, rEFInd has many more features and benefits, such as: Support for EFI 1.x and UEFI 2.x computers

  • Support for Mac and PC platforms

  • Auto-detection of available EFI boot loaders

  • Directly launch Linux kernels with EFI Stubs

  • Support for Secure Boot with a separate shim or PreLoader program

  • Customizable appearance and behavior using a configuration file

  • Support for themes, icons, fonts, and background images

  • Support for touchscreens and Apple keyboards

  • Support for booting from network, optical discs, and USB drives

In short, rEFInd is a powerful and flexible boot manager that can help you manage your EFI boot loaders and boot into different operating systems on your Mac. Why use rEFInd?


  • If you are wondering why you would need rEFInd on your Mac, here are some possible reasons: You want to dual-boot or multi-boot Windows, Linux, or other operating systems on your Mac

  • You want to have more control over your EFI boot loaders and their settings

  • You want to customize the look and feel of your boot menu

  • You want to troubleshoot or test different EFI boot loaders or operating systems

  • You want to have a backup boot manager in case your primary one fails or gets corrupted

  • Of course, rEFInd is not the only option for booting multiple operating systems on your Mac. You can also use the built-in Startup Manager, which you can access by holding the Option key during startup, or the Boot Camp Assistant, which you can use to install Windows on a separate partition. However, rEFInd has some advantages over these options, such as: rEFInd can detect and launch EFI boot loaders automatically, while Startup Manager and Boot Camp Assistant require manual intervention or configuration

  • rEFInd can support more than two operating systems, while Boot Camp Assistant only supports Windows and macOS

  • rEFInd can support non-Mac hardware and firmware, while Startup Manager and Boot Camp Assistant only work on Macs

  • rEFInd can support Secure Boot with a shim or PreLoader program, while Startup Manager and Boot Camp Assistant do not support Secure Boot at all

In summary, rEFInd is a useful tool for booting multiple operating systems on your Mac, especially if you want more features and flexibility than the built-in options.


How to download rEFInd for Mac




To use rEFInd on your Mac, you need to download the latest version of the program from its official website or from SourceForge. Here are the steps to do so:


Download from the official website




  • Go to the official website of rEFInd at https://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/



  • Click on the "Downloading rEFInd" link on the left sidebar or scroll down to the "Downloading rEFInd" section on the main page



  • Select the appropriate package for your Mac. The most common one is the binary zip file for x86-64 EFI systems (refind-bin-0.13.2.zip), which works on most modern Macs. If you have an older Mac with a 32-bit EFI system, you need to download the binary zip file for IA32 EFI systems (refind-bin-ia32-0.13.2.zip). If you are not sure which one to choose, you can check your EFI system type by running the command "ioreg -l -p IODeviceTree grep firmware-abi" in Terminal



  • Click on the download link and save the zip file to your preferred location on your Mac. You can also use a command-line tool such as curl or wget to download the file from Terminal



  • Unzip the downloaded file using Finder or a command-line tool such as unzip. You should see a folder named refind-bin-0.13.2 (or refind-bin-ia32-0.13.2) that contains several files and subfolders



Download from SourceForge




  • Go to the SourceForge page of rEFInd at https://sourceforge.net/projects/refind/



  • Click on the "Files" tab at the top of the page or scroll down to the "Files" section on the main page



  • Select the latest version of rEFInd from the list of files. As of June 2023, the latest version is 0.13.2



  • Select the appropriate package for your Mac from the list of files. The most common one is refind-bin-0. 13.2.zip, which works on most modern Macs. If you have an older Mac with a 32-bit EFI system, you need to download refind-bin-ia32-0.13.2.zip. If you are not sure which one to choose, you can check your EFI system type by running the command "ioreg -l -p IODeviceTree grep firmware-abi" in Terminal



  • Click on the download link and save the zip file to your preferred location on your Mac. You can also use a command-line tool such as curl or wget to download the file from Terminal



  • Unzip the downloaded file using Finder or a command-line tool such as unzip. You should see a folder named refind-bin-0.13.2 (or refind-bin-ia32-0.13.2) that contains several files and subfolders



After downloading and unzipping the rEFInd package, you are ready to install it on your Mac.


How to install rEFInd for Mac




There are three main ways to install rEFInd on your Mac: using the install.sh script, using the bless command, or using a CD-R or USB flash drive image. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and you should choose the one that suits your needs and preferences. Here are the steps for each method:


Install using the install.sh script




  • Open Terminal and navigate to the folder where you unzipped the rEFInd package. For example, if you unzipped it in your Downloads folder, you can type "cd /Downloads/refind-bin-0.13.2" (or "cd /Downloads/refind-bin-ia32-0.13.2" for the 32-bit version) and press Enter



  • Type "./install.sh" and press Enter to run the install.sh script that comes with the rEFInd package. This script will copy the necessary files to your EFI System Partition (ESP) and set rEFInd as the default boot manager for your Mac



  • You may be asked to enter your administrator password or confirm some actions during the installation process. Follow the instructions on the screen and answer accordingly



  • When the installation is complete, you should see a message that says "Installation has completed successfully."



  • Reboot your Mac and you should see the rEFInd menu on startup



This method is the easiest and most recommended way to install rEFInd on your Mac, as it does everything automatically and safely. However, it may not work on some Macs with older firmware or non-standard ESPs, or if you have other boot managers installed.


Install using the bless command




  • Open Terminal and navigate to the folder where you unzipped the rEFInd package. For example, if you unzipped it in your Downloads folder, you can type "cd /Downloads/refind-bin-0.13.2" (or "cd /Downloads/refind-bin-ia32-0.13.2" for the 32-bit version) and press Enter



  • Type "sudo mkdir /Volumes/ESP" and press Enter to create a mount point for your ESP



  • Type "sudo mount -t msdos /dev/disk0s1 /Volumes/ESP" and press Enter to mount your ESP (assuming that it is located at /dev/disk0s1, which is usually the case for most Macs). If you are not sure where your ESP is located, you can use a tool such as Disk Utility or gdisk to find out



  • Type "sudo cp -r refind /Volumes/ESP/EFI/" and press Enter to copy the refind folder from the rEFInd package to your ESP



  • Type "sudo bless --mount /Volumes/ESP --setBoot --file /Volumes/ESP/EFI/refind/refind_x64.efi --shortform" and press Enter to set rEFInd as the default boot manager for your Mac (assuming that you are using the 64-bit version of rEFInd). If you are using the 32-bit version of rEFInd, replace refind_x64.efi with refind_ia32.efi in the command



  • Type "sudo umount /Volumes/ESP" and press Enter to unmount your ESP



  • Type "sudo rm -r /Volumes/ESP" and press Enter to remove the mount point for your ESP



  • Reboot your Mac and you should see the rEFInd menu on startup



This method is an alternative way to install rEFInd on your Mac, which gives you more control over the installation process and allows you to specify the location and name of the rEFInd EFI file. However, it may be more complicated and risky than using the install.sh script, as it requires you to use the sudo and bless commands, which can cause problems if used incorrectly.


Install using a CD-R or USB flash drive image




  • Download the CD-R or USB flash drive image of rEFInd from its official website or from SourceForge. The file name should be refind-cd-0.13.2.iso or refind-flashdrive-0.13.2.zip, depending on which one you choose



  • Burn the CD-R image or unzip the USB flash drive image to a blank CD-R or USB flash drive using a tool such as Disk Utility, Etcher, or Rufus



  • Insert the CD-R or USB flash drive into your Mac and reboot



  • Hold the Option key during startup to access the Startup Manager and select the CD-R or USB flash drive as the boot device



  • You should see the rEFInd menu on startup. From there, you can either boot into another operating system or install rEFInd to your ESP by selecting the "Start EFI shell" option and following the instructions on the screen



This method is a third way to install rEFInd on your Mac, which does not require you to modify your ESP or use any commands. However, it may be slower and less convenient than using the install.sh script or the bless command, as it requires you to have a CD-R or USB flash drive and insert it every time you want to use rEFInd.


How to use rEFInd for Mac




After installing rEFInd on your Mac, you can use it to configure your EFI boot loaders and boot into different operating systems. Here are some tips on how to use rEFInd for Mac:


Configure rEFInd settings




rEFInd comes with a configuration file named refind.conf, which is located in the refind folder on your ESP. You can edit this file using a text editor such as TextEdit, nano, or vi to customize rEFInd's appearance and behavior. For example, you can change the theme, icons, fonts, background image, timeout, scan options, default selection, and more. You can find a detailed explanation of all the options and their values in the refind.conf-sample file that comes with the rEFInd package or on the official website of rEFInd at https://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/configfile.html. After editing the refind.conf file, save it and reboot your Mac to see the changes.


Manage EFI boot loaders




rEFInd can detect and launch EFI boot loaders automatically from various sources, such as your ESP, your hard drive partitions, your optical discs, your USB drives, or your network. You can see a list of available boot loaders on the rEFInd menu, each with an icon and a label. You can also add, remove, or edit boot loaders using rEFInd's menu options. For example, you can:


  • Press F2 or Insert to access the second row of icons on the menu, which allow you to edit the boot options for each boot loader



  • Press F3 or Delete to hide or show hidden boot loaders on the menu



  • Press F4 or + to save a screenshot of the menu to your ESP



  • Press F10 or - to launch an EFI shell from which you can run commands to manage your EFI boot loaders



  • Press Esc to rescan for new or changed boot loaders on the menu



You can find more information about how to manage EFI boot loaders using rEFInd on its official website at https://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/booting.html.


Boot into different operating systems




To boot into different operating systems using rEFInd, you simply need to select the desired boot loader from the rEFInd menu and press Enter or click on it. You can use the arrow keys, the mouse, or the touchscreen to navigate the menu. You can also use the number keys to select a boot loader by its position on the menu. For example, pressing 1 will select the first boot loader, pressing 2 will select the second boot loader, and so on. You can also use the Tab key to cycle through the boot loaders on the menu.


Depending on the boot loader and the operating system you choose, you may see another menu or a splash screen before the operating system loads. You can follow the instructions on the screen to proceed with the boot process. For example, if you choose to boot Windows, you may see a Windows Boot Manager menu that allows you to select a Windows version or a recovery option. If you choose to boot Linux, you may see a GRUB menu that allows you to select a Linux kernel or a boot option.


To switch between different operating systems using rEFInd, you simply need to reboot your Mac and select a different boot loader from the rEFInd menu. You can also set a default boot loader that will be automatically selected after a timeout period by editing the refind.conf file and changing the default_selection option.


Conclusion




In this article, we have shown you how to download and install the rEFInd boot manager for Mac, which is a useful tool for booting multiple operating systems on your Mac. We have also shown you how to use rEFInd to configure your EFI boot loaders and boot into different operating systems. We hope that this article has helped you understand and appreciate rEFInd and its features and benefits.


If you have any questions or feedback about rEFInd or this article, please feel free to leave a comment below or contact us through our website. We would love to hear from you and help you with any issues or suggestions. Thank you for reading and happy booting!


FAQs




What is the difference between rEFIt and rEFInd?




rEFIt is an older project that has been discontinued since 2010. rEFInd is a fork of rEFIt that has been updated and improved with new features and bug fixes. rEFInd is compatible with rEFIt and can replace it without any problems.


Does rEFInd support Secure Boot?




rEFInd does support Secure Boot, but it requires a separate shim or PreLoader program that can be verified by your firmware's Secure Boot keys. You can download these programs from https://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/secureboot.html and follow the instructions on how to install them along with rEFInd.


How can I uninstall rEFInd from my Mac?




The way to uninstall rEFInd from your Mac depends on how you installed it in the first place. If you used the install.sh script, you can run it again with the --uninstall option to remove rEFInd from your ESP and restore your original boot manager. If you used the bless command, you can use it again with the --unbless option to undo the changes made by rEFInd. If you used a CD-R or USB flash drive image, you can simply remove it from your Mac and reboot.


How can I update rEFInd to the latest version?




Updating rEFInd to the latest version is similar to installing it for the first time. You need to download the latest version of rEFInd from its official website or from SourceForge and run the install.sh script or use the bless command to overwrite the existing files on your ESP. Alternatively, you can use a CD-R or USB flash drive image of the latest version of rEFInd and boot from it.


Where can I find more information about rEFInd?




You can find more information about rEFInd on its official website at https://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/, where you can access its documentation, support forum, source code, and other resources. You can also check out some of the articles and videos that explain how to use rEFInd for various purposes, such as:


  • https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/refind-boot-loader-mac-linux/



  • https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-triple-boot-your-mac-with-windows-and-linux-2260356



  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qQ7w9xJy0E



  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIw4hnjCzHk



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