Can MacOS be private?

About a year ago I bought an M1 Mac Mini. I tried to sell it, but I never got a good enough offer. Right now I’m using it with the LuLu firewall + Mullvad VPN & a lot of settings taken from the Techlore MacOS privacy guide. Does that provide a reasonable level of privacy? Or should I look elsewhere for my computing needs?

OP has to keep in mind that they’re using an M1 Mac, meaning that if they were going to try Linux I think it would have to be Asahi Linux. I’ve heard good things about it, but I’ve also heard that it’s very much a work in progress and likely not ready for prime time. Seems like it just released in alpha.

Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

I’ve tried Asahi multiple times. It’s a great experience, though I have a few issues with it:

  • YouTube videos don’t play on alternative frontends.
  • Program incompatibility. Both with the lack of a Rosetta alternative for Linux, and seldom support for 16K pages.
  • Lack of easy disk encryption.

I think it’s an amazing project with a promising future, and I hope their changes eventually get merged into the Linux kernel.

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Just some quick side notes on the topic:

• In Homebrew Analytics are enabled by default so you might wanna switch that off. Here’s the command to do so:

brew analytics off

• Apart from the tipps @anon7610589 mentioned: Little Snitch is a good tool to see with what servers your Mac connects on the internet. It costs money but it can definitely improve your privacy. Here’s a video explaining what it is:

• At the end of the day you are still trusting Apple with a portion of your data. However using FOSS alternatives and avoiding their ecosystem can help to improve that situation.

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Side note: Sun Knudsen, the creator who’s video you linked to, is cool. Worth checking out for folks who don’t already know about him.

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Would also add that LuLu is an open source alternative to LS that is a bit less polished, but part of a fantastic set of privacy/security tools from Objective-See. Pretty much exclusively use their tools on my MacBook.

I actually found that in your MacOS privacy guide. It’s really useful. You put a lot of great info in that video.

Installing Asahi Linux caused a number of deeply-rooted and frankly bizarre issues with my macOS install when I tried it. The Linux experience is good, but I had to remove it and completely DFU wipe/restore my laptop to solve a myriad of macOS security/keychain/iCloud issues that cropped up for reasons unknown. So YMMV, basically.

If you want to use both Linux and macOS on M1, a setup I’m currently considering is running Linux in a VM rather than dual-booting. It’s a lot more stable and would make switching between macOS and Linux on the fly a lot easier.

When macOS Ventura comes out, Rosetta 2 will extend to Linux VMs as well. I’ve tested this with both Signal and Brave now (both 64-bit only applications on Linux) in a Linux VM with Rosetta 2 on my laptop and they both work well :ok_hand:

Although, based on how Rosetta 2 for Linux works now, I would not be surprised to see it working on Asahi Linux in the future too.