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This page explains how to perform a basic set up after installing Linux on a T2 Mac.

Do you need to do this?

This guide is mainly relevent in the following cases :

  1. If you have installed Linux using an official ISO, instead of a T2 ISO.
  2. The Make modules load on early boot section is relevant for those who wish to encrypt their disk drives using LUKS or some other similar software.
  3. If some functionality related to T2 Macs is broken, then you can consider following this guide.

In rest cases, you probably won't need to follow this guide.

Installing a kernel for T2 support

Installing a kernel with support for T2 Macs is required in order to get the Keyboard, Trackpad, Touch Bar, Audio, Fan and Wi-Fi working.

Many distro maintainers provide compiled kernels which can be installed on your Linux installation. Following are the links to the repos providing such kernels:

Linux Distribution Kernel with T2 support
Arch based distros
Arch based distros (Xanmod kernels)
Ubuntu based distros
Debian based distros

If compiled kernels for your distro are not available, then you shall have to compile a kernel on your own. You can follow the Kernel guide for help.

Add necessary kernel paramaters

Using your bootloader, add the intel_iommu=on iommu=pt pcie_ports=compat kernel parameters. For example in GRUB:

  1. Edit /etc/default/grub.
  2. On the line with GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="quiet splash", add the following kernel parameters: intel_iommu=on iommu=pt pcie_ports=compat.
  3. Run sudo grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg if you are on a non-debian based distro. If using Debian or Ubuntu based distro, run sudo update-grub.

Make modules load on boot

Simply run the following:

echo apple-bce | sudo tee /etc/modules-load.d/t2.conf

Make modules load on early boot

Having the apple-bce module loaded early allows the use of the keyboard for decrypting encrypted volumes (LUKS). It also is useful when boot doesn't work, and the keyboard is required for debugging. To do this, one must ensure the apple-bce module as well as its dependent modules are included in the initial ram disk. You can get the list of dependent modules by running modinfo -F depends apple-bce The steps to be followed vary depending upon the initramfs module loading mechanism used by your distro. Some examples are given as follows:

  • On systems with initramfs-tools (all debian-based distros):

    1. Run sudo su to open a shell as root.

    2. Run the following over there:

      cat <<EOF >> /etc/initramfs-tools/modules
      # Required modules for getting the built-in apple keyboard to work:
      update-initramfs -u
  • On systems with mkinitcpio (Commonly used on Arch):

    1. Edit the /etc/mkinitcpio.conf file.

    2. Ensure that the file has the following:

    3. Run sudo mkinitcpio -P.

  • On systems with dracut (Commonly used on EndeavourOS and Fedora):

    1. Run the following to create a dracut configuration file which loads the apple-bce module on early boot:

      echo "force_drivers+=\" apple-bce \"" | sudo tee /etc/dracut.conf.d/t2linux-modules.conf
    2. Run sudo dracut --force to regenerate the initramfs with this change.

  • On systems with other initramfs/initrd generation systems:

    In this case, refer to the documentation of the same and ensure the kernel module apple-bce is loaded early.

Setting up the Touch Bar

Setting up the Touch Bar is different for Ubuntu and Debian based distros.

If you are using an Ubuntu or Debian based distro:

  1. Add the apt repo for T2 Macs from here.
  2. Install tiny-dfr by running sudo apt install tiny-dfr.
  3. Restart your Mac.
  4. After restarting, you can run sudo touchbar to get a list of options that you can configure. Simply follow the on-screen instructions. Note that this command is only for Ubuntu or Debian based distros.

If you are using Arch Linux or EndeavourOS:

  1. Install tiny-dfr by running sudo pacman -Syu tiny-dfr.
  2. Restart your Mac.

If you are using Fedora:

  1. Install tiny-dfr with sudo dnf install rust-tiny-dfr.
  2. Restart your mac

For other distros:

  • Compile tiny-dfr yourself if your distro don't have that packaged yet.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

The drivers for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are included in a kernel with T2 support. But, we also need firmware to get them working from macOS.

Instructions for the same are given in the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth guide.

Network Manager recurrent notifications

Some users have experienced recurrent notifications due the internal usb ethernet interface connected to the T2 chip. To avoid those notifications we can blacklist cdc_ncm and cdc_mbim modules with the following command:

sudo sh -c 'echo "# Disable for now T2 chip internal usb ethernet
blacklist cdc_ncm
blacklist cdc_mbim" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf'

Please note that this internal ethernet interface is required for various services including touchid that there currently is no Linux support for. In the future, if any of these services are supported, you'll need to undo this.