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Looking to get the FULL Home Assistant experience on your Mac? This article will teach you the best way to run a fully-featured Home Assistant on Mac hardware.
This guide will teach you step by step how to run supervised Home Assistant on a Mac. This will give you a fully featured version of Home Assistant, including access to add-ons
I would recommend this method for beginners who want to run Home Assistant on Apple hardware.
This method is also suitable for anyone who wants to run supervised Home Assistant on Apple hardware or wants to run Home Assistant on a Mac that they also use day to day.
Note that it is possible to run Home Assistant Core natively on M1 Mac and I have a guide here explaining how to do that. However I would not recommend this method as it omits features that a present when running a supervised build.
Table of Contents
- Table of Contents
- Download UTM & Debian
- Install and Configure UTM for a Debian VM
- Install Debian 11 Bullseye Command Line Only on UTM
- Choose a Language and Country
- Configure The Keyboard
- Mount the Installation Media
- Load Installer Components
- Configure Network
- Create a User Account
- Configure The Clock
- Partition Disks
- Install the Base System
- Configure the Package Manager
- Select and Install Software
- Install GRUB Bootloader
- Finish the Installation
- How To Install Home Assistant on UTM Running Debian
- How To Get UTM to Launch Home Assistant on Boot
- Give Your Home Assistant VM a Seperate IP address
First it is important to understand that there are two primary parts that make up Home Assistant; Core and Supervisor.
Most of the Home Assistant functionality is included within the Home Assistant Core, however there are certain features (most notably the add-on store) that are included when running supervisor.
The supervisor also adds background functionality and ensures that Home Assistant Core runs correctly.
Therefore in general I would advise running Home Assistant supervised. This means Home Assistant Core and Home Assistant Supervisor are bundled together in your build, in order to make the complete “Home Assistant” package.
In addition to this there is also a dedicated Home Assistant operating system that can dramatically simplify a build.
Supervisor, Core and Home Assistant OS are combined to make a pre-configured image that works flawlessly on the target hardware.
Home Assistant provides a series of images that can be loaded directly on to a target. Raspberry Pi is probably the most commonly known system that makes use of a simple installation. However not all systems can be configured as easily.
The following diagram shows three different possibilities for a Home Assistant installation.
As per the stack on the far right of the image above, it is possible to run Home Assistant Core natively on Apple Mac, even on an M1-based machine.
However the caveat is that it lacks the features of supervised Home Assistant, as only the Home Assistant Core can be run in this way.
Therefore the installation we are most interested in is shown in the center of the diagram above, the Home Assistant Supervised installation sitting on top of the host OS.
In order to run Home Assistant Supervised, we will create a virtual machine to run Debian command line on top of Mac OS. This is necessary as there is not a native Mac OS version available.
At the time of writing it is not yet possible to run Debian Linux natively on M1 Mac, therefore we will use a virtual machine called UTM.
If you are using Intel Mac hardware and you want to install Debian natively on Bootcamp, feel free to attempt that instead. However I now only have access to M1 hardware so I am unable to test the method.
Download UTM & Debian
We are going to need two major components in order to set up our Home Assistant build on Mac:
- The latest version of Debian internet installer. At the time of writing it is Debian 11 Bullseye.
- M1 Mac users download the arm64 architecture.
- Intel Mac users should download the amd64 architecture.
- UTM Virtual machine. You can download this free of charge, but there is also a paid version on the app store if you want to support the developers.
Debian should download as an .iso disk image, go ahead and save this somewhere where you can easily access it.
Once UTM has downloaded, move it to applications and go ahead and open it.
Install and Configure UTM for a Debian VM
Once we have UTM installed and running, we can begin creating our virtual machine for running Home Assistant. To create a new virtual machine, click file > new…
Then select the Virtualize option, followed by Linux.
Selecting an .iso image
Next, select the .iso image of the Debian installer that you downloaded earlier by clicking the browse button. The file name should appear just above the browse button. Then click continue.
Choose Hardware Settings
On the next screen you can select how much RAM and how many CPU cores you wish to use. This will be dependant on what you want to run on your Home Assistant build.
If you are unsure, you can leave them as default as they can always be adjusted later depending on your requirements.
Finalize Your Home Assistant VM
You can skip past the next screen about a shared folder and then enter a name for your virtual machine on the final summary screen.
Clicking save will add your new virtual machine to the main screen left-hand sidebar. Here I already have a couple of Linux VMs, you may only have a single one for Home Assistant.
Go ahead and select the virtual machine, you can press either of the play button icons to start the machine.
Install Debian 11 Bullseye Command Line Only on UTM
Once your VM boots up you will be taken to a GRUB options menu. Go ahead and scroll down to advanced options and press enter.
Next, scroll down to expert install and press enter. The reason we are using the expert installer is that we do not want to install a GUI.
We simply want to install a command line version of Debian in order to run Home Assistant server. All of the graphical options for Home Assistant will eventually be accessible through the web browser.
This will begin the expert installation process. We need to select each item from the list to run the configuration, however you can skip over any accessibility options that you may need.
Choose a Language and Country
First we will select choose language.
First choose the installation and main system language.
Next choose the country that the system will be located, most likely your country of residence.
You may also need to select the locale related to your language of choice.
Configure The Keyboard
Next we will configure the keyboard. If your Mac has an English keyboard you may find that selecting American English a better choice as Apple keyboards tend to mimic the american layout (@ on the number 2 key for example).
Mount the Installation Media
Next we will detect and mount the installation media.
The installer will detect this as a USB, which is provided by UTM in the form of a virtual drive. Simply press continue.
Load Installer Components
Next we will load install components from the installation media. You will be given the opportunity to add some modules but you can skip past this and click continue.
Click on configure network and choose yes for auto configure.
Leave the default wait time as 3 seconds and click continue. As we are using UTM there should be no problems for the installer to detect the correct network settings.
Next we can choose a hostname and domain name. If you don’t have a domain name, just make something up.
Create a User Account
Next we can set up a username and password for the system.
At first you will be given the choice to enable shadow passwords. You can choose the yes to enable shadow passwords, as recommended by the installer.
Choose yes for allow login as root. On the following screen, set the root password to your own preference.
Once the root password has been set, create a standard user account by choosing yes. Then choose a username and password.
Configure The Clock
Next up we will configure the clock.
We should choose yes to allow NTP to set the clock. You can use the default server provided so just choose continue.
Next we can set the correct timezone.
Once the clock has been configured, it is time to configure the disk for installation. First choose detect disks and once complete, choose partition disks.
For a basic configuration just complete the following steps. However you are welcome to deviate if you require a different configuration.
Choose guided – use entire disk and then select the partition.
Choose all files in one partition (recommended for new users).
Then you can finish partitioning and write changes to disk.
Install the Base System
Next, go ahead and install the base system.
Choose the linux-image-arm64 kernel (likely to be different if you are using the amd64 architecture build).
Choose targeted: only include drivers needed for this system, it should work ok with UTM.
Configure the Package Manager
Next we will configure the package manager.
We don’t need to include an additional media for package manager, go ahead and select no.
We need to use a network mirror, so go ahead and choose yes. Choose http as the protocol, choose your location and then choose the selected mirror.
We can leave proxy blank as we are using UTM, which is providing a virtual network bridge.
We don’t need non-free software, nor free software that is dependent on it so go ahead and choose no for both of those.
We need to enable source repositories in APT, so go ahead and choose yes.
You can leave the default services select, just click continue.
Select and Install Software
Next we can select and install software. This is useful as we wish to make a minimal build for Home Assistant only.
Choose whether or not to install security updates depending on your preferences.
Choose whether or not to provide usage statistics to the developers based upon your own preference. If in doubt, just choose no.
On the software selection screen, the defaults are correct. We wish to install SSH server and standard system utilities. Amend as necessary and click continue.
Install GRUB Bootloader
Next we will install the GRUB bootloader.
We don’t need to force GRUB to install to the EFI removable media path, go ahead and choose no.
Finish the Installation
Lastly we can choose to finish the installation.
Set the system clock as per your own configuration, however most likely it is set to UTC, so go ahead and choose yes.
The installation is now complete and you will be given an opportunity to remove the installation media. You must complete this before clicking continue.
On the main UTM screen, drop down the removable media and choose to remove it. The note on the right should change to (empty).
Once the installation media has been removed, you can click continue to finish the installation.
The virtual machine will reboot and after a couple of moments, you will be taken to the Debian login. Use the user details you chose earlier to log in to the command prompt.
How To Install Home Assistant on UTM Running Debian
At this stage you should have a working virtual machine running Debian command line. The next step is to install Home Assistant.
For the first few tasks we need to be logged in as root, which we can do with the following command.
You will need to enter the credentials that you chose during installation.
Backup network settings
After attempting this build several times prior to writing this article, I found that installing Home Assistant caused problems with the network configuration.
Therefore the first I would recommend doing is to backup the network configuration settings file using the following command.
cp /etc/network/interfaces /etc/network/interfaces.bak
Home Assistant Supervised Installation
We will be using the Home Assistant supervised installer, which is found over on GitHub. I have linked it in case you need to reference it for any reason.
First go ahead and install the dependencies with the following command.
apt-get install \ jq \ wget \ curl \ udisks2 \ libglib2.0-bin \ network-manager \ dbus -y
Next we will install Docker-CE with the following command.
curl -fsSL get.docker.com | sh
We also need to install OS-Agent from GitHub releases. Go ahead and visit the releases download page.
There are quite a few packages available, you need to choose the correct one for your build. If you are building on Debian arm64 (for M1 Mac) then you should choose the _aarch64.deb package.
The easiest way to get it via the Debian command line is with
wget. Right-click the package and copy the link address, then use this address with the
wget <OS-agent URL>
For example, at the time of writing the current version is 1.2.2, therefore the command would be as follows.
Once the package has downloaded, we can install it with
dpkg followed by the package name.
sudo dpkg -i os-agent_1.2.2_linux_aarch64.deb
Once complete, you can test the installation with the following command.
gdbus introspect --system --dest io.hass.os --object-path /io/hass/os
This command should not produce and error. The output should look something like the following.
Home Assistant Supervised Debian Package Installation
The last thing remaining to do is install Home Assistant. This can be done with the Home Assistant supervised debian package.
First we can go ahead and download the package using
Once the download has completed, we can install it with
dpkg -i homeassistant-supervised.deb
You may need to select a machine type. For M1 Mac builds running Debian arm64, choose qemuarm-64.
Once the installation has completed, Home Assistant will start up but it will take a few minutes before we can access it.
The IP address of our Home Assistant server is given at the end of installation, in my case
In order to check that the installation was successful, go ahead and visit the IP address using a browser.
So in my case it would be as follows.
If you get the onboarding screen, awesome!
However we should also check that the server can withstand a reboot. This caused me several problems on previous attempts to get this to work.
Go ahead and reboot the server with the following command.
Fixing Network Interface Problems
At the time of writing, when the server is rebooted I find that it no longer has a working network connection. You can check this by logging in and attempting to ping Google.
If you receive a name resolution error, it means that the network settings have been corrupted by the Home Assistant installation.
The problem seems to be that
/etc/network/interfaces gets overwritten in the Home Assistant installation process.
However this is very easy to fix using the backup that we created earlier. First log back into the superuser account following the reboot.
Next we will restore the
/etc/network/interfaces file which we made a backup of earlier.
mv -f /etc/network/interfaces.bak /etc/network/interfaces
Once we have restored our backup, we can reboot the system.
After reboot, everything should be back to normal! You should once again be able to access your Home Assistant server in your web browser.
How To Get UTM to Launch Home Assistant on Boot
If you are planning on using Apple hardware for a Home Assistant server, you are probably going to want to have Home Assistant boot when Mac OS has loaded.
UTM does not directly have the ability to launch during boot, however there is a function that we can use to achieve this.
It is possible to control some of the functionality of UTM by using the URL scheme
We can combine this with the terminal command
open in order to take control of UTM with the Mac OS terminal.
You will need to replace
<your-virtual-machine> with the name of your virtual machine (using URL encoding).
For example my Home Assistant virtual machine in UTM is called “Home Assistant,” therefore the command will be as follows.
Note that the space needs to be replaced with %20 as per the requirements for URL encoding.
There are also other commands that are possible to access from the terminal in the same way, you can see a full list here.
Launch UTM on Boot Using Automator
You may not know this already but you have a really cool little program called Automator that comes built into the Mac OS operating system.
As the name suggests, it can be used to automate many different tasks. We will use it to turn a shell script into an application that we can load on boot.
You can find Automator in the applications folder, or simply use Spotlight to find it. Go ahead and open it and create a new file.
When you create a new file, you will be asked what type of file you wish to make. Choose application.
On the main screen, on the far left-hand sidebar, select the library. Next, scroll down the main list of library items and locate Run Shell Script.
Double click Run Shell Script and it will be added to the main window as shown in the following screenshot.
Now we need to add the following code to the script. Don’t forget to replace the name of the VM in the command with whatever you named your Home Assistant VM.
Now click File > Save… in order to save your application. Give it a name like utmboot and save it somewhere, such as your documents folder.
The file that we just saved is actually an .app file, a Mac OS executable application. If you wish to test it you can simply double click it and it should directly launch your Home Assistant VM in UTM. Awesome!
Next, open System Preferences > Users and Groups. Click the padlock in the lower left and enter your password in order to unlock the settings.
With your current user selected, choose the Login Items tab and click the “+” at the bottom to add a new application. Go ahead and add the new application that we just created, utmboot.
When you boot your Mac past the login screen, UTM will now automatically start your Home Assistant virtual machine!
The one last thing that you may want to do is set your Mac to automatically log in during start up.
Once that is done, the computer will boot from being powered off all the way through to your Home Assistant VM running. Awesome!
Give Your Home Assistant VM a Seperate IP address
You may also want to give your new Home Assistant VM its own IP address so that it appears on your network as a seperate machine.
Then you can treat the VM as if it were a seperate computer with regards to setting up DuckDNS and accessing the server.
It is very easy to set this up, first you will need to stop your virtual machine if it is currently running.
Next, right-click the virtual machine in the main UTM screen and choose edit. Then choose network and changed the network mode to bridged.
When you reboot the virtual machine, Home Assistant will have its own local IP address on the network and you can treat the virtual machine as if it were a seperate computer.
Installing Home Assistant Supervised in a Linux virtual machine is certainly an in-depth process. However with a little patience, it is possible to get it running very smoothly!
Being able to run Home Assistant in such a way is very beneficial, as it allows us to use Apple Silicon machine or even just run Home Assistant on the same machine that we wish to work on, excellent for development purposes.
Thank you for visiting and don’t forget to check out some of my other awesome Home Assistant tutorials!
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