How to delete a Boot Camp partition on your Mac
Boot Camp is a great tool for running Windows on an Intel-based Mac. However, a Boot Camp partition can take up a great deal of space on your Mac. So if you’ve stopped using it, you may want to delete it to save some space. In this article, we’ll show you how to remove a Boot Camp partition from your Mac.
What is Boot Camp?
Boot Camp has its origins in the transition from PowerPC to Intel Macs. One of the benefits of moving to Intel’s architecture was that it was much easier for Macs to run Windows. There was no longer any need for emulation software. Apple took advantage of this by building a tool, now known as Boot Camp, into macOS that allows you to partition your boot drive and install Windows directly onto one partition. You can then boot directly into Windows on your Mac using Boot Camp.
There are a couple of downsides to using Boot Camp. One is that Windows and its associated files and applications take up quite a bit of space on your Mac. The other is that you need to reboot your Mac every time you switch between Mac and Windows.
Boot Camp Assistant is the tool that’s used to create and manage partitions. You can download a Windows ISO from within Boot Camp Assistant and install it on the partition. You will need a license code for the version of Windows you want to install to use it.
How to delete a Boot Camp partition
Removing a Boot Camp partition is very straightforward: you can use the same tool, Boot Camp Assistant, as you used to create it in the first place. First, however, you should back up the Windows partition if you have any files or other data that you still need. You can do that manually from within Windows, by dragging files onto an external drive, by using a Windows backup tool, or from the macOS partition by using software that’s designed to clone a Boot Camp partition.
You should also back up your Mac using Time Machine or another backup tool before you start.
- Navigate to Applications > Utilities and launch Boot Camp Assistant.
- Click Continue.
- Press Restore.
- Type in your admin username and password and press OK.
Boot Camp Assistant will now begin erasing the Boot Camp partition and restoring your boot disk as a single partition. Once it has finished, your Mac will return to its pre-Bootcamp state.
Does Boot Camp run on M1-based Macs?
In November 2020, Apple launched the first three Macs to feature its own system architecture, M1, in place of Intel CPUs and other components. It seems clear from early testing that these Macs are much faster and more powerful than their Intel predecessors.
However, one of the casualties of the transition to Apple silicon is Boot Camp. It requires Intel architecture to work and so won’t run on M1 Macs. And with all Macs eventually migrating to Apple silicon, Boot Camp will be consigned to history. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to run Windows on future Macs, though. Virtualization tools (see below) don’t rely on Intel chips, and their developers are already updating their tools to work in Big Sur on M1 Macs.
Alternatives to Boot Camp
If you chose to remove Boot Camp because you didn’t like having to reboot your Mac every time you want to switch to Windows, there are other options. There are several virtualization tools that allow you to install Windows inside an app and then launch Windows as an app, or even launch Windows apps without booting Windows itself. If you choose to boot Windows, you can run it in a window or in full-screen.
In short, if you want a fully-featured virtualization tool that’s easy to set up and use and has lots of support, Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion are good choices. If you only need to occasionally run Windows apps and don’t need lots of support, Virtual Box or Wine will do the job.
The final alternative to creating a Boot Camp partition on your startup disk is to install Windows on an external disk and boot from that, just as you would boot from a Boot Camp partition. Set up is much longer and more complicated than it is when you partition your startup disk. And it requires additional software. But once it’s done, you’ll be able to boot your Mac into Windows without losing any space on your startup disk.
As you can see, it’s easy to uninstall a Boot Camp partition on your Mac using Boot Camp Assistant. If you want to uninstall other apps or reclaim space on your disk, however, it’s a good idea to use a specialist uninstaller like CleanMyMac X.