How to install macOS 12 (Monterey) as a VMware Fusion guest VM

Notes

  • These are just more fleshed out steps from a brief overview in the VMware Fusion communities online forums.
  • Hopefully, these instructions will be obsolete soon in a future update of VMware Fusion (where you can just select macOS 12, drag the installer to the install wizard, and have VMware Fusion do everything for you).
  • I am not a VM expert. I cannot support this tutorial. I’m sharing only a more detailed step-by-step guide of a summary I read, and this is only what worked for me. If it doesn’t work for you, I probably don’t know any better than you do why that’s the case. I would recommend using proper support channels (like the aforementioned VMware Fusion communities online forums) to get actual support if you run into any issues.

Why is this even a problem?

As of the writing of this blog post (22 November, 2021), VMware Fusion doesn’t officially support macOS 12 (Monterey) for VM guests. If you try to install Monterey using the traditional method, this is what happens:

You’ll try to drag the installer to the Install from disc or image part of the window.

Everything will look as if it’s proceeding as normal…

…except for the fact you can’t select macOS 12 as an option.

Then, when you finish things up…

You’ll see that VMware Fusion is “[u]able to create the installation medium.”

Steps to install macOS 12 as a VM

Create a bootable USB of the Monterey installer by following the instructions in How to create a bootable installer for macOS. Then leave that USB drive connected to the Mac you’re trying to create the Monterey VM in.

Create a new VM in VMware Fusion.

Then, instead of dragging the installer to Install from disc or image, select Create a custom virtual machine.

At the moment, you can’t select macOS 12, so just select macOS 11 as a placeholder.

Then go ahead and create a new virtual disk.

Once your setup of the custom virtual machine is done, go ahead and click the play button to start up your virtual machine.

The startup will fail. That’s okay. Click the option at the top to select a USB drive to connect.

Then click Connect Install macOS Monterey.

Side note: I don’t know why macOS (or VMware Fusion?) won’t allow you to take a screenshot of this menu being open, so that’s why this “screenshot” looks so awful—it’s really a photo of the screen.

Then, go ahead and restart your VM.

It should then boot into the macOS installer.

You can then do the normal macOS installer stuff to get Monterey installed.

And, at the end, if it all worked out, you should be at Setup Assistant, and able to start customizing and using macOS Monterey.

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