How To VirtualBox

How to Update Your macOS Mojave in VirtualBox to the Latest Versions

Written by John

Sometimes upgrading to your Mac OS to the latest version can seem stressful and can take up valuable time; however, it is essential to always keep your system up to date. The main reason for this is security, with each update of each instalment of macOS that comes out comes security upgrades that are necessary due to flaws and loopholes that have been noticed in the previous versions.

So the more up to date you are with your Mac OS the more secure and protected you are against any cyber threats. Today we’re going to look at how to update your Mac OS Mojave to the latest version using Virtualbox, a Virtual Machine that allows you to run Mac OS even if you’re using a desktop PC that is running Windows.

APFS Image vs HFS Image
Now we’re going look at whether you should use an APFS or Apple File System image to upgrade your Mac OS or whether you should use an HFS image or a Hierarchical File System image.

Older versions of macOS such as High Sierra will work with HFS images, and these images can be run in these versions of macOS through VirtualBox no problem at all. However, the issue is that APFS images can’t be ran with these older instalments of the macOS system. Yet the more recent release, Mac OS Mojave allows you to use APFS images however the only issue you’ll find is that if you’re running your Mac OS Mojave through Virtualbox, this won’t support the APFS image; this is unless of course, you have a select bootloader.

To save you the time and effort two image versions have been created for you by myself. The first, HFS, is as we have mentioned supported by Virtualbox and will work faster than an APFS image. You can also update to the latest version using APFS images, and today we’re going to run through how to update your Mac OS system to the newest version through Virtualbox as for beginners this can be very difficult.

How to Update macOS Mojave VirtualBox APFS Image to the Latest Versions

Now we’re going to look at the four steps you should follow to update your macOS to the latest version through VirtualBox using the APFS image file that I have created for you already.

Step 1: Find the new version of macOS Mojave in the App Store

First of all, you’re going to want to open the AppStore before searching “Mojave”. After you’ve done this, you’re going to want to click the get button to download the latest version of Mac OS Mojave if you haven’t already.

Check new version of macOS

Then you’ll want to open System Preferences from the Apple Menu which can be accessed by clicking on the Apple logo in the top left-hand side of your screen. Once you’ve done this, then click Software Update to check for updates.

Update is available for macOS

If there is an update available for you to upgrade to, you’ll see an "Update Now" button, you’re going to want to go ahead and click this, Or if you want to know more information about the upgrade you can click more details and it will tell you about what the update contains.

Restart your Mac to install Update

Click "Restart" button to restart your macOS Mojave

Step 2: Turn off your Virtual Machine and Add new Bootloader.

You’re Mac OS will then undergo a restart, when it is back at the first black boot screen, go ahead and turn off your Virtual machine

New Bootloader for Update: Download Here

Reopen your VirtualBox then select the tab labelled “Storage”, from here you are going to want to click Storage Devices and then click okay.

Add New Virtual Disk to VirtualBox

Once you have clicked storage devices, then go ahead and click “Choose Existing Disk” and open Update.vmdk disk.

New Bootloader for Update

Once you have done this, click “Ok” to save your progress so far and then turn your Virtual Machine back on.

Step 3: Now we’re going to boot to macOS using our Bootloader.

Turn on your Virtual Machine, at the first back screen, press “ESC” button. Then type this: fs1:\update.nsh and press “Enter”, and this will begin the process of booting Mac OS using the installer image.

Boot to Bootloader

Step 4: Install new macOS Mojave Update in VirtualBox

Wait about 30-45min to install new macOS Update, and once this has been completed, you will see that it has finished.

Install Update in Mojave VirtualBox

After your new version of macOS Mojave has installed your Mac OS or Virtual Machine will then restart and once that has done you’ll be able to run the latest version of macOS Mojave.

macOS Mojave VirtualBox is Updated

Done, Run new version of macOS Mojave, you can remove the update.vmdk disk in your VirtualBox and keep it to update to another new macOS Update. Now, you can run the latest version of macOS Mojave on your Virtualbox, and you shouldn’t have any issues at all.

Always remember in future if you have the opportunity to upgrade you’re still going to want to make sure you do this to ensure that you’re protected from any cyber threats and you’ve got access to all the latest features of your chosen Mac OS.

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December 16, 2019 8:49 pm

The Patch link is broken, could you please provide an alternate link?

November 16, 2019 1:22 am

All the tutorials you made, I’ve followed and they all worked (even installing Catalina, however this one ran sooooo slow that I gave up).
On Mojave, I tested HFS, which ran faster, as you said, but couldn’t update to 10.14.4 (is it right?). I mean, AFAIK, there’s no update to the HFS version, right?
I also read in the comments, (@Mar, on October 5), and he said VMware ran faster. Do you think it’s worth a try? (I’m using VirtualBox).

Thanks for you work, is helping a lot of people!! 🙂

November 5, 2019 10:23 am

Just wanted to mention that I had to load update.nsh from fs2:
But in that case the script doesn’t load vbpxapfs.efi because it tries to load it from fs1:

What happens is that the script just runs through and nothing happens.

Do get this working either load vboxapfs.efi manually from the fs before executing update.nsh or change update.nsh with an editor.

(maybe you could alter the boot script to try loading vboxapfs.efi from other volumes like you did with the boot.efi?)

January 22, 2020 9:08 am
Reply to  wombatstampede

Same problem I am facing . Do you have a solution ?

October 27, 2019 4:21 pm

Actually: no, it did not work in the end. When the update was over and the VM is trying to reboot, OS X does not boot. The VM boots to the UEFI Interactive Shell, and I have no idea how to get from there to OS X.

October 12, 2019 7:51 pm

i can’t write fs1:\update.nsh when I press “ESC” it take me to the boot manager selection screen.

gordon ou
gordon ou
October 12, 2019 6:10 pm

Can you help me update to Catalina? I followed this but then, there is an error after installing Catalina. I did not back it up so will I get my data back?

October 9, 2019 1:16 am

can I update from Mojave to Catalina? like this?

October 10, 2019 3:09 am
Reply to  Majid

I try upgrade from Mojave to Catalina, but fail!!! importantly, I already backup Mojave, oh yeah

October 5, 2019 6:27 am

I used this for Catalina. No clue how old my image was (beta) it had a update but.. I couldn’t figure out how to use it. Ran much faster on Vmware. So I let it update then downloaded this file and did what he said. So its on 10 more min of installing.

September 27, 2019 9:27 pm

Hi, Thanks a lot for all the tutorials you doing a great job, I followed this tutorial to update macOS 10.3 to 14.6 but for me, it gives me different results after I hit update, it downloaded the 6 GB for the new macOS 14.6 but it doesn’t install it keeps asking me to install it inside the macOS while the system is running but even though it doesn’t let me, when I chose the HD it says this volume is not formatted as APFS but I still tried your steps and no luck it looks like I have to… Read more »

September 28, 2019 12:15 pm
Reply to  John

Hi Jhon Thanks for the quick replay and
for your help, I didn’t know that lol, is there any way like I can follow step 5 but without losing the content and Files that I already have on my Current VM? because it will format the disk.
or that doesn’t affect the content you have already on the disk?

September 29, 2019 1:25 pm
Reply to  John


I can’t get passed Step 1. System preferences, check for updates shows that no updates are available. I’m on 10.14.3.

I’ve added the latest updated boot to my VM, but when I try to install the update the disk option is greyed out and it complains it is not APFS formatted. I’ve tried to boot from the boot disk, boot from the main disk, but still it says it needs an APFS formatted disk.

Mark Wint
Mark Wint
September 30, 2019 8:09 am
Reply to  John

OK I’ll do this, I think the time spent trying to fix it would be more than the time to re-install.

Would you recommened installing 10.15 or stick with Mojave. Also would you recommend using HFS or install using APFS?

October 2, 2019 8:43 pm
Reply to  John

OK thanks. I checked both the new Catalina How To and the original Mojava install How To and you say in both to use HFS during install and not APFS, why is this?

October 2, 2019 12:35 pm
Reply to  John

Hi John At the end, I did a clean install as you told me formating the Drive and is working great now but I lost the new Xcode 11 and other files, I just have one question is there any way to Install from a backup of a virtualBox that has macOS and other files like Xcode in a fresh formated New drive instead of using a macOS iso? What I would like to do is fresh install a macOS and Xcode and other things like Cordova & Phonegap and save the Virtualbox copy as a backup just in case… Read more »