About this Install Guide

This guide is intended to get you up and running with this tool quickly with the most common settings. For a thorough review of all options, refer to the official documentation.


A computer running macOS with Apple Silicon is required to complete the steps below.

Multipass provides cloud style virtual machines (VMs). Multipass is popular among developers for efficient, local testing. When run on macOS with Apple Silicon, Multipass provides a similar experience to cloud instances. A local, software compatible equivalent of an Arm cloud instance on your desk with good performance, and no cost, is an important option for developers.

Multipass provides a clear CLI to easily start virtual machine instances, do development tasks, and clean the VMs from your computer.

Before you begin

Multipass runs on a variety of platforms and host operating systems. The information below covers running Multipass on macOS with Apple Silicon with the goal of creating a compatible Ubuntu Linux environment for developers working on cloud instances.

Multipass uses the terms virtual machine and instance synonymously.


Download Multipass for macOS.


            wget https://github.com/canonical/multipass/releases/download/v1.12.0/multipass-1.12.0+mac-Darwin.pkg


Install the download using the package command.


            sudo installer -pkg  multipass-1.12.0+mac-Darwin.pkg -target /

The getting started instructions below use the command line interface. Multipass installs a tray icon for those who want to access basic features from the user interface.

Image Alt Text: Connect

Get started with Multipass

To confirm multipass is installed run the version command.


            multipass version

Multipass runs Ubuntu images. The last three LTS (long-term support) versions are available. A Docker environment with Portainer is also available as well as a few other images.

To see the available images run the find command. Any of the listed images can be used to create a new instance.


            multipass find 

The output from find will be similar to the below.


        Image                       Aliases           Version          Description
20.04                       focal             20230616         Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
22.04                       jammy,lts         20230616         Ubuntu 22.04 LTS
23.04                       lunar             20230621         Ubuntu 23.04

Blueprint                   Aliases           Version          Description
anbox-cloud-appliance                         latest           Anbox Cloud Appliance
charm-dev                                     latest           A development and testing environment for charmers
docker                                        0.4              A Docker environment with Portainer and related tools
jellyfin                                      latest           Jellyfin is a Free Software Media System that puts you in control of managing and streaming your media.
minikube                                      latest           minikube is local Kubernetes
ros-noetic                                    0.1              A development and testing environment for ROS Noetic.
ros2-humble                                   0.1              A development and testing environment for ROS 2 Humble.


Launching instances

The default values for launching instances allocate 1 CPU, create a small disk (5 Gb), and limited memory (1 Gb). By default, the name of the instance is automatically assigned.

Most developers are likely to want to modify the defaults.

Use the command below to launch a virtual machine instance with non-default values.


            multipass launch lts --name m1u --cpus 4 --disk 16G --memory 4G

Once launched, the command prompt returns and the instance is running in the background.

Connect and use instances

Use the list command to identify created instances. Make note of the instance names as the name is used in other commands.


            multipass list

To start a command line shell on a running instance use the shell command.


            multipass shell m1u

To run a specific command from the host on the instance use the exec command. The command to be run comes after the --


            multipass exec m1u -- uname -a

The uname output will look similar to:


        Linux m1u 5.15.0-58-generic #64-Ubuntu SMP Thu Jan 5 12:06:43 UTC 2023 aarch64 aarch64 aarch64 GNU/Linux


Run an application

It’s helpful to demonstrate a few other common commands by downloading and installing an application. To demonstrate file copy, the download is done from macOS and the file is copied into the instance.

Download and install OpenVSCode Server .

On the macOS host computer use wget for the download.


            wget https://github.com/gitpod-io/openvscode-server/releases/download/openvscode-server-v1.79.2/openvscode-server-v1.79.2-linux-arm64.tar.gz

To copy a file to the instance


            multipass transfer openvscode-server-v1.79.2-linux-arm64.tar.gz m1u:/home/ubuntu

Now switch to the instance and extract the download and run the application.

If you don’t already have an open shell run.


            multipass shell m1u

Extract the download.


            tar xvfz openvscode-server-v1.79.2-linux-arm64.tar.gz

Run the application.


            ./openvscode-server-v1.79.2-linux-arm64/bin/openvscode-server --host= --without-connection-token

Connect to OpenVSCode Server using a browser. From the macOS host computer use the info command to get the IP address of the instance.

The info command prints information about the instance, including the IP address.


            multipass info m1u

Copy the IP address from the info output and paste it into a browser with port 3000.

Modify the IP address to use your information, for example:




You now have a running VS Code Server in your Multipass instance with Ubuntu 22.04 running on Arm.

Mount a host directory

To access a large number of files on the host machine without copying or transferring them into the instance use the mount command. This command makes a host directory visible in the instance and all files can be accessed. Modifications made from inside the instance will directly change the files on the host.

For example, to mount a host directory called dev and have it appear in the instance use the mount command.


            multipass mount dev m1u:/home/ubuntu/dev

There are also options to adjust the user and group IDs as needed to avoid permission problems.

Use the umount command to unmount the directory.


            multipass umount m1u:/home/ubuntu/dev

Directories can be dynamically mounted and unmounted without stopping the instance.

Stop and Start

Multipass instances can be stopped and started quickly.

To stop the instance.


            multipass stop m1u

Following the stop the state will change to Stopped on the list command.

To start the instance.


            multipass start m1u


Multipass instances are easy to delete. There is one extra level of protection to recover deleted instances before they are fully deleted.

Use the delete command to delete.


            multipass delete m1u

After delete, the state will change to Deleted, but it is still recoverable.


            multipass recover m1u

Use the purge command to permanently remove all deleted instances.


            multipass purge 

Purged instances are no longer recoverable.


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