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Kali Linux Live USB with persistence and wireless on Macbook Pro

Kali Linux Bootable USB with Persistence and Wireless on OSX

Download the appropriate Kali Linux .iso

I used a 64 bit .iso image, downloaded via HTTP. I downloaded the amd64 weekly version, as the pool linux headers (needed below for installation of wireless drivers) were ahead of the stable release kernel.

Download the SHA256SUMS and SHA256SUMS.gpg files from the same location.

Check the hash

Check that the hashes were not tampered with. First, get the Kali GPG public key, and verify the fingerprint:

$ wget -q -O - | gpg --import
$ gpg --fingerprint 7D8D0BF6
pub   rsa4096 2012-03-05 [SC] [expires: 2018-02-02]
      44C6 513A 8E4F B3D3 0875  F758 ED44 4FF0 7D8D 0BF6
uid           [ unknown] Kali Linux Repository <>
sub   rsa4096 2012-03-05 [E] [expires: 2018-02-02]
$ gpg --verify SHA256SUMS.gpg SHA256SUMS
gpg: Signature made Sun 12 Nov 03:47:29 2017 GMT
gpg:                using RSA key 44C6513A8E4FB3D30875F758ED444FF07D8D0BF6
gpg: Good signature from "Kali Linux Repository <>" [unknown]

Compare the SHA256 hash with that reported in SHASUMS:

$ cat SHA256SUMS
16123b76a6d4fc3ed72aef508bee9542462f2d1d5376acd1fcc3369ad337a505  kali-linux-2017-W46-amd64.iso
$ shasum -a 256 kali-linux-2017-W46-amd64.iso
16123b76a6d4fc3ed72aef508bee9542462f2d1d5376acd1fcc3369ad337a505  kali-linux-2017-W46-amd64.iso

Create the USB disk

Identify your external USB with diskutil - the disk ID (disk2, disk3 etc is represented as <DISK> below):

$ diskutil list

If necessary, prep the external USB with diskutil to get a single partition:

$ diskutil eraseDisk FAT32 KALI /dev/<DISK>

Unmount the volume in DIsk Utility, or at the command-line:

$ diskutil unmountDisk /dev/<DISK>

Then use dd to make a bootable image on the USB:

$ sudo dd if=<path to downloaded .iso> of=/dev/<DISK> bs=1m

Boot into Kali Linux

  • Restart the Mac
  • Hold down the Option key when you hear the chime
  • Select EFI as the startup disk
  • Select Kali Linux (persistence)

Create a new persistent partition

  • Start gparted from the terminal
  • Select the USB disk
  • Select the Unallocated partition
  • Create a new partition (by default this will fill the free space on the USB)
    • Partition -> New
    • Create as: Primary Partition
    • File system: ext3
    • Label: persistence
  • Apply the operations
    • Edit -> Apply All Operations
    • Confirm this action
  • Exit gparted

Combine the new partition with Kali Linux, persistently

Create a mount point for the persistence particion, and mount it

$ mkdir -p /mnt/my_usb
$ mount <DISK> /mnt/my_usb

Create a partition.conf file. This will enable the persistent storage on USB startup

$ echo "/ union" > /mnt/my_usb/persistence.conf
$ umount <DISK>

Check the persistent partition

  • Restart the Mac
  • Hold down the Option key when you hear the chime
  • Select EFI as the startup disk
  • Select Kali Linux (persistence)
  • At the terminal:
    • df -h will bring up a list of mounted drives. There should be a mountpoint /lib/live/mount/persistence/<DISK> pointing to your new persistent partition
    • ls -ltrh /lib/live/mount/persistence/<DISK> should show four entries: lost+found, persistence.conf, rw, and work. The rw directory is a persistent link to /.

Update the OS

Update the installer and acquire the appropriate linux headers

$ apt-get update
$ apt-get install linux-image-$(uname -r|sed 's,[^-]*-[^-]*-,,')
$ apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r|sed 's,[^-]*-[^-]*-,,')

Install kernel headers

These need to be obtained separately:

$ wget<VERSION>_amd64.deb
$ wget<VERSION>-common_<VERSION>_amd64.deb
$ wget<VERSION>-amd64_<VERSION>_amd64.deb
$ dpkg -i linux-kbuild-<VERSION>_amd64.deb
$ dpkg -i linux-headers-<VERSION>-common_<VERSION>_amd64.deb
$ dpkg -i linux-headers-<VERSION>-amd64_<VERSION>_amd64.deb

Install the Broadcom drivers

apt-get install broadcom-sta-dkms

Enable and disable modules

$ modprobe -r b44 b43 b43legacy ssb brcmsmac bcma
$ modprobe wl

Enable network-manager

nano /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf

Set the value of managed to true,


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jkihlstad commented May 9, 2018

What does [color=red]|[/color] and [color=red]>[/color]mean? I know [color=red]<[/color][color=red]>[/color] means to replace with your own input. Also I can’t create another partition in gparted. It won’t let me partition>>new.


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flourishing commented Jun 11, 2018

Select the Unallocated partition , i boot kaili and exec command gparted i can 't find unallocated partition.


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flowchartsman commented Jun 26, 2018

If anyone needs to do this without an ethernet cable (as I did), I have instructions to do just that here:


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xain commented Jul 18, 2018

I also can not find unallocated partition.


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d4e5v8 commented Aug 31, 2018

Yes, no "unallocated partition".
No one on the internet seems to be capable of explaining in simple terms how to prep a USB drive partitions (on Mac) to solve this problem....
Very frustrating.


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IKWT80 commented Sep 18, 2018

I also can not find unallocated partition.

To everyone having the issue of not finding the 'unallocated' space of their USB, the solution that worked for me is the following:

  • instead of gparted, open disk
  • choose the drive you're working on
  • you will find there the free space: hit + and make it a partition. You can make it an .ext4, you'll change it in a second
  • format and make it an .ext3 partition with the proper label: run mkfs.ext3 -L persistence /dev/yourdiskname then run e2label /dev/yourdiskname persistence
  • from here, you can start again following the tutorial (from paragraph Combine the new partition with Kali Linux, persistently), one of the best i've found online

Hope it helps, it worked for me.


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Garrysui commented Sep 26, 2018

Kali Linux Mac Usb Persistence - Working
I have found another way -
If you follow the instructions from beginning to end you will have a 100% working live usb persistence.
Make sure you follow steps

Steps -

  • Download Kali Linux iso
  • Format Usb to FAT32
  • Open Disk Utility - Locate and select usb
    Make 2 Partitions or more as per your need
    1st Partition - Name Kali ( Format FAT32 Size 4GB )
    2nd Partition - Name persistence ( Format FAT32 - it fills up quickly when you update and upgrade Kali so i usually have 8GB or more)
    Once done
  • Install Unetbootin for Mac ( its Free ) google it
  • Open
  • Choose Diskimage
    Click ... ( three dots - open - locate kali iso )
    Select Kali iso ( if already downloaded )
    Make sure Type is Selected as Usb Drive
    Select Partition to install Kali on Usb ( Kali partition for me )
    Click ok
    Once finished click exit.
  • Restart Mac and hold option key on start-up
    Select EFI Boot
  • Select Live System Persistence
  • Open Gparted
  • Select Device ( Usb )
  • U will see all usb Partitions and Select persistence
  • Right click On persistence and select Unmount
  • Again Right click on persistence and select delete
  • Apply pending opration
  • Once finish it will automatically named
  • Again Select and Right click and Select New
  • Create as Primary Partition
    File System - ext4
    Label - persistence
  • Apply Pending Operations
    Once done
  • Exit gparted
  • Now open terminal
  • type following
    fdisk -l ( To see disks/Volumes )
    mkdir -p /mnt/myusb
    mount (persistence partion name) /mnt/myusb/
    for me it was - mount /dev/sdb3 /mnt/myusb/
    echo "/ union" > /mnt/myusb/persistence.conf
    umount disk ( For me umount /dev/sdb3 )
    open persistence partition from Files and open file persistence.conf
    if it contains text / union (you should be good).
    reboot to kali live persistence again
    After reboot it should be working.

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tvumbaca commented Feb 5, 2019

Just want to thank Garrysui for the the steps above.
Worked out perfectly!
One little tip so others dont make the same little mistake I made -- at the end of the steps where you have to unmount the disk, pay close attention to the syntax, the command is "umount" (I kept typing unmount and couldn't figure out why the heck it wasn't working). Total linux rookie mistake.


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pigw2204 commented Mar 30, 2019

i have the a working persistent USB now with kali linux except i can not get it to recognize the laptop keyboard, track pad, wifi card ext and im having to use external plug in devises for everything. Any help would be great ?


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dawndesman commented May 30, 2019

pigw2204 I think you are looking for this


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ghani6155 commented Sep 14, 2019

Keybase proof

I hereby claim:

  • I am ghani6155 on github.
  • I am ghani6155 ( on keybase.
  • I have a public key ASCJz9AJ-iozjU6Ol21gBpVHHDgfdbdE4TDPVAZcF-MA8wo

To claim this, I am signing this object:

  "body": {
    "key": {
      "eldest_kid": "012089cfd009fa2a338d4e8e976d600695471c381f75b744e130cf54065c17e300f30a",
      "host": "",
      "kid": "012089cfd009fa2a338d4e8e976d600695471c381f75b744e130cf54065c17e300f30a",
      "uid": "553032745215e849ef977191b3423819",
      "username": "ghani6155"
    "merkle_root": {
      "ctime": 1568485415,
      "hash": "abd22bc555beac00714cb6a0b0fd3d67cc8df449ba1a724ea8962abfead8a1217dc9aa650aa685bed4ab1e1465f01db92a3e4b40bd0ef1334a0b130128729999",
      "hash_meta": "4b44f489d8803cd75f5429bdc5c3211a56f16e4ff866ef5f24a73e530af04df7",
      "seqno": 7341160
    "service": {
      "entropy": "d7a5IIdDWHPRV7ZtrM2rqi/m",
      "name": "github",
      "username": "ghani6155"
    "type": "web_service_binding",
    "version": 2
  "client": {
    "name": " go client",
    "version": "4.4.2"
  "ctime": 1568485458,
  "expire_in": 504576000,
  "prev": "28e72aaabc47eb64aa53ec475a9d658cd256543ec0a4dbb46c295fac79885f76",
  "seqno": 8,
  "tag": "signature"

with the key ASCJz9AJ-iozjU6Ol21gBpVHHDgfdbdE4TDPVAZcF-MA8wo, yielding the signature:


And finally, I am proving ownership of the github account by posting this as a gist.

My publicly-auditable identity:

From the command line:

Consider the keybase command line program.

# look me up
keybase id ghani6155
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