How to install Windows 10 on your Intel Mac using Boot Camp

Windows 10 being displayed on a mac screen
(Image credit: iMore)

If you want to install Windows on your Intel-based Mac, then Boot Camp is the best way to do it. Whether it's for a great gaming experience or you just want to try out how Windows 10 feels on Apple's svelte hardware, here's how to get everything set up.

It's worth noting that some of the newer Macs from late 2020 onwards have Apple silicon processors, which will no longer support Boot Camp. In this case, virtualization software like Parallels will be necessary to install Windows 10 instead. 

In this guide we'll walk you through the steps you'll need to follow to install Windows 10 on your older Mac.

What you'll need before you install Windows 10 on your Mac

Before starting anything else, be sure you have a Mac that supports Windows 10. Straight from Apple, these are the compatible models:

  • MacBook Pro (2012 and later)
  • MacBook Air (2012 and later)
  • MacBook (2015 and later)
  • iMac Pro (2017)
  • iMac (2012 and later)*
  • Mac mini (2012 and later)
  • Mac mini Server (Late 2012)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013)

If you own an iMac with 3TB or more, check out this Apple Support document for more information on installing Windows 10 on your machine through Boot Camp.

Once you've confirmed that you have a Mac that can run Windows 10, you'll need to make sure you have at least 64GB of free space on your hard drive for the Windows installation. During the installation process, you can set the Windows partition to whatever size you want, as long as the drive has enough storage.

Finally, update your Mac's OS to ensure there are no compatibility problems. You'll also want to perform a backup of your Mac in the (rare) case that something goes wrong.

How to download the Windows 10 ISO file

To start, we need to grab a Windows 10 ISO file from the Microsoft website. You can download it straight to your internal hard drive.

  1. Navigate to the Microsoft Windows 10 ISO download page.
  2. Click the dropdown menu below Select edition.
  3. Click Windows 10 (multi-edition ISO) in the Windows 10 section. You can download the Creators Update through Windows once it is installed.

(Image credit: Apple/iMore)
  1. Click Confirm.
  2. Click the dropdown menu below Select the product language.

(Image credit: Apple/iMore)
  1. Click your language of choice.
  2. Click Confirm.

(Image credit: Apple/iMore)
  1. Click 64-bit Download.
  2. Click Save. The ISO file will now be downloaded.

(Image credit: iMore/Apple)

Once the file has finished downloading, continue on to the next set of steps.

How to install Windows 10 with Boot Camp

Once you've downloaded a Windows 10 ISO, you can complete the following steps.

  1. Launch Boot Camp Assistant from the Utilities folder in Applications.
  2. Click Continue. Boot Camp should automatically locate the ISO file on your system.

(Image credit: Apple/iMore)
  1. Click and drag the slider in the partition section. It will be set to 48GB by default, but you can add as much storage as you want within the limits of the drive.
  2. Click Install. Windows support software will now be downloaded.

(Image credit: iMore/Apple)
  1. Type your password.
  2. Click OK. Your Mac will restart and you will see the Windows 10 setup screen.

(Image credit: iMore/Apple)
  1. Choose your language.
  2. Click Install Now.
  3. Type your product key or click I don't have a key. You can enter it after the installation.
  4. Click either Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Pro based on your preference.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Click Custom: Install Windows Only.
  7. Click Drive 0 Partition X: BOOTCAMP. Do not choose anything else.
  8. Click Next. Windows 10 will now be installed. Your Mac will restart several times during the process.
  9. Click Use Express Settings or Customize Your Installation when the Windows 10 setup screen appears. In this case, we use express settings, as all can be changed after the installation.
  10. Type a username. You can also add a password.
  11. Click Next.
  12. Choose to use or not to use Cortana.

Windows 10 will now boot fully, and you'll be able to use Windows normally.

How to install Boot Camp software on your Windows 10 partition

When Windows 10 loads for the first time on your Mac, a Boot Camp software installer will automatically pop up.

  1. Click Install.
  2. Click I accept the terms in the license agreement.
  3. Click Install.
  4. Click Finish when the installation is complete.

This is an important process, as it installs a bunch of drivers and software that will help make your Windows 10 experience as good as possible on your Mac.

How to return to macOS from Windows 10

One of the best parts of Boot Camp is how easy it is to switch back and forth between operating systems.

  1. Click the Show hidden icons button in the Windows 10 taskbar.
  2. Click the Boot Camp button.
  3. Click Restart in OS X.

(Image credit: iMore/Apple)

Your Mac will now restart, and you'll be brought right back to macOS. To get back to Windows 10, and indeed another way to switch from Windows 10 to macOS, is to restart your Mac and hold down the Option key on your keyboard until a boot menu appears. From here, you can choose which OS to load.

Updating Windows 10 and more

Now that you have Windows 10 installed on your Mac, you can update it to the Creators Update.

The easiest way to do so is to use Windows Update.

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Click the Settings button. It looks like a gear.

(Image credit: iMore/Apple)
  1. Click Update & security.
  2. Click Check for updates.

(Image credit: iMore/Apple)

The Creators Update should begin downloading and will install. Follow the steps on screen, and you'll be up to date in no time.

Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Mobile Nations. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, and accessory coverage, as well as the emerging world of VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

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