FAQ

Windows 10 on Mac - information

What you need to install Windows 10 on Mac

One of these Mac models:

  • MacBook introduced in 2015 or later
  • MacBook Air introduced in 2012 or later
  • MacBook Pro introduced in 2012 or later
  • Mac mini introduced in 2012 or later
       
  • iMac introduced in 2012 or later1
  • iMac Pro (all models)
  • Mac Pro introduced in 2013 or later
     

The latest macOS updates, which can include updates to Boot Camp Assistant. You will use Boot Camp Assistant to install Windows 10.

64GB or more free storage space on your Mac startup disk:

  • Your Mac can have as little as 64GB of free storage space, but at least 128GB of free storage space provides the best experience. Automatic Windows updates require that much space or more.
  • If you have an iMac Pro or Mac Pro with 128GB of memory (RAM) or more, your startup disk needs at least as much free storage space as your Mac has memory.2

An external USB flash drive with a storage capacity of 16GB or more, unless you're using a Mac that doesn't need a flash drive to install Windows.

A 64-bit version of Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro on a disk image (ISO) or other installation media. If installing Windows on your Mac for the first time, this must be a full version of Windows, not an upgrade.

How Boot Camp works:

Boot Camp software relies on controlling how a Mac boots. To understand how Boot Camp takes control, let's first look at the Mac boot process. Specifically, we need to look at how a Mac reads and uses its hard drive, which stores the operating systems and all your data.

The hard drive is divided into one or more partitions. A partition is a range of physical addresses on the hard drive. In other words, the partition tells the computer where to read and write bits of data inside the hard drive. Information about the partitions on a hard drive is stored in a partition table.

When you boot your Mac, part of the boot process includes accessing the first few bytes of data of the hard drive. Those first bytes point to the partition table. From there, the partition table indicates which partition has the operating system and other data needed to finish booting the Mac.

Normally, when your Mac is fresh out of the box, it recognizes all the available storage space on your hard drive as one single partition. This is sufficient for most users, and it makes it easy to track your total available hard drive space.

However, if you want to install different operating systems on the same hard drive, you have to create different partitions for them. You could use any disk utility to create and format new partitions. Boot Camp, though, takes care of this partitioning for you. Boot Camp will resize your existing Mac OS partition and create and format a new partition for Windows. Boot Camp could also help in partitioning a separate hard drive if you had multiple hard drives in your Mac.

When you boot, how does the Mac know which partition to target? The partition table has an indicator of which partition to use when booting. Your Mac will look for its operating system on that partition. If you have both Mac and Windows, though, you need some way to select between those partitions. Boot Camp's role is to automate that selection so you don't have to worry about partition tables. Using Boot Camp, you'll have two options for switching between your Mac and Windows partitions:

  • Use the Boot Camp utility to indicate you want to switch to the other partition, and then reboot.
  • Use the Option key during the white splash screen while booting, and select the partition you want to use.