Boot Camp lets you run Microsoft Windows on your Mac. Learn how Boot Camp runs Windows and what the installation requirements are.
Every new Mac lets you install and run Windows at native speeds, using a built-in utility called Boot Camp. Setup is simple and safe for your Mac files. After you’ve completed the installation, you can boot up your Mac using either OS X or Windows.
Run Windows at native speed
You can run the Windows operating system on your Mac at native speed—without the performance penalty that comes with software emulation or "virtual machines." Windows applications have full access to multiple processors and multiple cores, accelerated 3D graphics, and high-speed ports and networking such as USB, FireWire, Wi-Fi, AirPort, and Gigabit Ethernet as well as drivers for audio and Bluetooth functionality. If you're using Mac OS X v10.5 or Mac OS X v10.6, the Boot Camp support software is on the Mac OS X installation DVD. For OS X Lion v10.7 or later Windows drivers are automatically downloaded from Boot Camp Assistant.
Windows can be installed using DVDs or downloaded versions (ISO) of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1.
Important: Keep the Windows DVD and USB flash drive that contains your Windows drivers connected while you install Windows. They can be removed after the Windows installation and updates are completed.
Depending on your computer’s hardware and OS X version, Boot Camp supports Microsoft Windows 7, or Windows 8.
Requirements for all Windows installations
To install Microsoft Windows using Boot Camp, you need the following:
- An Internet connection
- An administrator account in OS X to use Boot Camp Assistant
- The keyboard and mouse or track pad that came with your Mac (If they aren’t available, use a USB keyboard and mouse)
- A minimum of 2 GB of RAM, 30 GB of free disk space are recommended if you are installing Windows for the first time, or 40 GB of free disk space if you are upgrading from a previous version of Windows
- An authentic Microsoft Windows full install disc or ISO file
- A built-in optical drive, or a compatible external optical drive is required if you are using an install disc
- 8 GB USB storage device, or external drive formatted as MS-DOS (FAT) to install the downloaded drivers
Before you install Windows, you should use Software Update to make sure OS X and your computer's firmware are up to date
Boot Camp Assistant creates a partition just for Windows without erasing your existing OS X volume. Important: Do not use Disk Utility to partition your hard drive for Windows installation. Always use Boot Camp Assistant.
After installation, you can switch between Windows and OS X by holding the Option (Alt) key at start up. Or, use the Startup Disk control panel in Windows (installed with Boot Camp support software) or the OS X Startup Disk preference pane to set the default operating system to use each time the computer starts up.
To use Boot Camp, you need:
- An Intel-based Mac with a built-in keyboard, external USB keyboard, or an Apple supplied wireless keyboard, and a built-in trackpad, USB mouse, USB trackpad, or Apple supplied wireless mouse or trackpad.
- Mac OS X v10.5 or later.
- The latest firmware updates available for your Mac.
- Boot Camp Assistant, which is located in /Applications/Utilities/ . You can also open Launchpad and type Boot Camp Assistant in the search field.
- A DVD or downloaded (ISO) "full version" of Windows installation media. Boot Camp does not include Windows.
Before installing Boot Camp
Before you install, follow these steps:
- Always back up important data before any software installation.
- Review and consider printing the Boot Camp Installation & Setup Guide. You can access this guide from the Help menu in Boot Camp Assistant.
- Update your Intel-based Mac to the latest version of OS X.
- Download and install the latest firmware updates available for your Mac. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the firmware installation.
For specific installation steps, refer to the Boot Camp Installation & Setup Guide. Choose Boot Camp Help from the Help menu in Boot Camp Assistant for more information.
Important: Apple does not provide technical phone support for installing, using, or recovering Microsoft Windows. Support is available for using Boot Camp Setup Assistant, as well as installing or restoring Boot Camp software while booted into Windows. Support articles and discussions are also be available from Apple's support website.