I’ve tried a few times without success to boot Alpine Linux images on very old Intel Macs. Following the standard instructions, I download the ISO, then image it directly to a USB flash drive. Using this process, the standard x86_64 image boots fine on my more recent MacBook Pro 11,2, but crashes the bootloader on older Macs. (I’ve also confirmed it crashes the bootloader on a 2010 model MacBook.)

Recently, I installed Alpine on an original Raspberry Pi, and I noticed that the instructions were a bit different. Instead of flashing an ISO image, I had to create a blank FAT 32 disk, and copy the files into, rather than copying a disk image. I wondered if this process would make any difference to the boot process on my old iMac. Turns out it does! It booted successfully first try!


  1. On my Mac, reformat the USB drive as FAT 32, with a Master Boot Record partition table. I’m not sure how necessary it is to configure it with Master Boot Record, but that’s what I did.
  2. On a Linux PC, download the Alpine x86_64 standard ISO, and mount it. Then copy the files to the USB. NOTE: Copy, from the mounted image, don’t flash the ISO. (This needs to be done on Linux so we can mount the ISO, as Mac won’t be able to mount a Linux ISO.)
  3. Reboot holding the Option key to enter the bootloader, select the USB disk, and boot!