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Managing Virtual Machine

Creating from scratch

Tart supports macOS and Linux virtual machines. All commands like run and pull work the same way regarding of the underlying OS a particular VM image has. The only difference is how such VM images are created. Please check sections below for macOS and Linux instructions.

Creating a macOS VM image from scratch

Tart can create VMs from *.ipsw files. You can download a specific *.ipsw file here or you can use latest instead of a path to *.ipsw to download the latest available version:

tart create --from-ipsw=latest sonoma-vanilla
tart run sonoma-vanilla

After the initial booting of the VM, you'll need to manually go through the macOS installation process. As a convention we recommend creating an admin user with an admin password. After the regular installation please do some additional modifications in the VM:

  1. Enable Auto-Login. Users & Groups -> Login Options -> Automatic login -> admin.
  2. Allow SSH. Sharing -> Remote Login
  3. Disable Lock Screen. Preferences -> Lock Screen -> disable "Require Password" after 5.
  4. Disable Screen Saver.
  5. Run sudo visudo in Terminal, find %admin ALL=(ALL) ALL add admin ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL to allow sudo without a password.

Creating a Linux VM image from scratch

Linux VMs are supported on hosts running macOS 13.0 (Ventura) or newer.

# Create a bare VM
tart create --linux ubuntu

# Install Ubuntu
tart run --disk focal-desktop-arm64.iso ubuntu

# Run VM
tart run ubuntu

After the initial setup please make sure your VM can be SSH-ed into by running the following commands inside your VM:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install -y openssh-server
sudo ufw allow ssh

Configuring a VM

By default, a Tart VM uses 2 CPUs and 4 GB of memory with a 1024x768 display. This can be changed after VM creation with tart set command. Please refer to tart set --help for additional details.

Building with Packer

Please refer to Tart Packer Plugin repository for setup instructions. Here is an example of a template to build a local image based of a remote image:

packer {
  required_plugins {
    tart = {
      version = ">= 0.5.3"
      source  = ""

source "tart-cli" "tart" {
  vm_base_name = ""
  vm_name      = "my-custom-sonoma"
  cpu_count    = 4
  memory_gb    = 8
  disk_size_gb = 70
  ssh_password = "admin"
  ssh_timeout  = "120s"
  ssh_username = "admin"

build {
  sources = ["source.tart-cli.tart"]

  provisioner "shell" {
    inline = ["echo 'Disabling spotlight indexing...'", "sudo mdutil -a -i off"]

  # more provisioners

Here is a repository with Packer templates used to build all the images managed by us.

Working with a Remote OCI Container Registry

Tart supports interacting with Open Container Initiative (OCI) registries, but only runs images created and pushed by Tart. This means images created for container engines, like Docker, can't be pulled. Instead, create a custom image as documented above.

For example, let's say you want to push/pull images to an OCI registry hosted at

Registry Authorization

First, you need to login to with the tart login command:

tart login

If you login to your registry with OAuth, you may need to create an access token to use as the password. Credentials are securely stored in Keychain.

In addition, Tart supports Docker credential helpers if defined in ~/.docker/config.json.

Finally, TART_REGISTRY_USERNAME and TART_REGISTRY_PASSWORD environment variables allow to override authorization for all registries which might useful for integrating with your CI's secret management.

Pushing a Local Image

Once credentials are saved for, run the following command to push a local images remotely with two tags:

tart push my-local-vm-name

Pulling a Remote Image

You can either pull an image:

tart pull

or create a VM from a remote image:

tart clone my-local-vm-name

If the specified image is not already present, this invocation calls the tart pull implicitly before cloning.