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Downloading macOS IPSW files for use with Mac virtual machines on Apple Silicon Macs

November 17, 2022 Leave a comment

A change between creating Mac virtual machines on Intel Macs and creating them on Apple Silicon Macs is that virtualization on Apple Silicon Macs often assumes that the virtual machine is built using a macOS restore image . These restore images are files with an .ipsw file extension and are commonly referred to as IPSW files.

Apple publishes the download links for macOS restore images via the following URL:

https://mesu.apple.com/assets/macos/com_apple_macOSIPSW/com_apple_macOSIPSW.xml

If you look at the XML file from the link above, it provides download links for the current version of macOS for the various Mac models which support running that version of macOS.

Among the various models listed is the model identifier for Mac virtual machines (VirtualMac2,1) created using Apple’s Virtualization framework. This means that we should be able to identify and download the appropriate IPSW file for use when building Mac virtual machines.

Screenshot 2022-11-16 at 7.33.48 PM

Using this information, I’ve written a script to download the appropriate IPSW file for building macOS virtual machines by checking the file linked above for the download URL associated with the VirtualMac2,1 Mac model. For more details, please see below the jump.

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