Run QEMU on macOS 11.0 Big Sur

Around 3 months ago I wrote a blog post about how to create a QEMU Ubuntu 20.04 VM on macOS. If you follow the instructions with the newly released macOS 11.0, QEMU 5.1 will fail with the following error:

qemu-system-x86_64: Error: HV_ERROR
fish: 'qemu-system-x86_64 \
    -machiā€¦' terminated by signal SIGABRT (Abort)

This error occurs because Apple has made changes to the hypervisor entitlements. Entitlements are key-value pairs that grant an executable permission to use a service or technology. In this case the QEMU binary is missing the entitlement to create and manage virtual machines.

To be more specific, the com.apple.vm.hypervisor entitlement (used in macOS 10.15) has been deprecated and replaced by com.apple.security.hypervisor.

To fix the issue all we have to do is add the entitlement to the qemu-system-x86_64 binary. First create an xml file named entitlements.xml with this content:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<dict>
    <key>com.apple.security.hypervisor</key>
    <true/>
</dict>
</plist>

Then sign the qemu binary with it:

codesign -s - --entitlements entitlements.xml --force /usr/local/bin/qemu-system-x86_64

Now the qemu-system-x86_64 command should work and can be used to launch VMs.

(Thanks to Tony for noticing this issue and contacting me)