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Linux 5.1.3 adds official support for Apple's M1 chip but it's only the start

Macbook Air M1
Macbook Air M1 (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple's M1 chip is now supported by the Linux 5.1.3 kernel.
  • This is only early support, however, with many kinks to be worked out.

A year after Apple announced its transition to Apple silicon, Linux now officially supports the only chip to have been released since that date — the Apple M1. As of the newly released Linux 5.1.3, early support for the chip has been added. But there is still some work to be done.

First reported by Phoronix, the new Linux update adds initial support for Apple's M1 chip, but that doesn't mean that everything will work to its full potential. Accelerated graphics aren't yet enabled, for example.

Linux 5.13 brings initial but still early support for the Apple M1 with basic support but not yet accelerated graphics and a lot more to iron out moving ahead.

Linus Torvalds also made an announcement this weekend, saying that people should work to ensure the current build is stable before they start "moving on to the exciting new pending stuff."

So we had quite the calm week since rc7, and I see no reason to delay 5.13… Of course, if the last week was small and calm, 5.13 overall is actually fairly large. In fact, it's one of the bigger 5.x releases, with over 16k commits (over 17k if you count merges), from over 2k developers… And with 5.13 out the door, that obviously means that the merge window for 5.14 will be starting tomorrow. I already have a few pull requests for it pending, but as usual, I'd ask people to give the final 5.13 at least a quick test before moving on to the exciting new pending stuff.

The current M1 chip is in the best MacBook you can buy today in the form of the MacBook Air. Whether you plan on running Linux on your Mac or not, this is another sign that software continues to catch up with Apple's move away from Intel and towards a world where it designs all of its CPUs and GPUs, not just those on mobile devices.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.