How to Install VMware Tools on macOS

In this article, we will examine how to set up VMware Tools (Darwin.iso) in the macOS Monterey operating system installed on a virtual machine using VMware Workstation, VMware Fusion, or vSphere ESXi virtualization software.

How to Install VMware Tools on macOS

How to Install VMware Tools on macOS 12 Monterey Guest Operating System

You need to install VMware Tools in order to get more efficiency from the virtual machines you have installed on VMware Workstation, Fusion, or ESXi, to use the virtual machine in full-screen mode, and to be able to transfer files between the VM and the physical computer with drag and drop.

In order to install drivers in the macOS guest operating system running on VMware virtualization software, you can install with the existing ISO file in the software by clicking “Install VMware Tools” from the tool menu of the software. However, it is recommended to install the drivers for your guest system using the darwin.iso file downloaded with VMware Unlocker, which you used when installing a macOS version with VMware Workstation.

When you update the virtualization program installed on your host computer, the integrated VMware Tools ISO file is also updated automatically. That’s why you can see the “Update VMware Tools” option instead of the “Install VMware Tools” option in the tool menu. If you want to update the drivers of your virtual machine without updating the virtualization software you are using, it is recommended to install VMware tools manually.

You need the Darwin.iso file to manually install or update the drivers for your macOS guest system. This file is integrated within the Fusion software to install drivers for Mac OS X systems. You need this file even if you have a macOS virtual machine on Windows or Linux.

After installing VM Tools on the macOS virtual machine, you can enable the Full-Screen feature, increase the performance increase in the mouse cursor, and transfer files faster by configuring the Shared Folders feature between your host computer and guest machine.

In addition, you can increase the VRAM value of the graphics memory of your guest machine from 3 MB to 128 MB and adapt the screen resolution to the resolution of your host.

How to Install VMware Tools

After installing macOS with VMware Workstation, you can find the darwin.iso file in the Unlocker program’s folder. If you want to download the latest version of this file to your computer, click the button below.

Download

   Step 1

Before installing VM Tools on your macOS guest machine, you can see that the graphics memory of the virtual machine is 3 MB and the screen resolution is 1024×768.

Checking macOS Graphics Memory

   Step 2

Normally, you need to click VM / Install VMware Tools to install with the ISO file inside the VMware Workstation Pro software. However, do not click this option to install the macOS guest system drivers with a more recent ISO file, because you will be adding the downloaded ISO file to your computer.

VM Tools Installation via VMware

   Step 3

Click VM / Removable Devices / CD/DVD (SATA) / Settings from the tool menu to add the Darwin.iso file to your macOS VM.

Opening Virtual CD/DVD Device's Settings

   Step 4

Check the Use ISO Image File option in the Connection tab of the CD/DVD device, then click Browse to show the location of the ISO file.

Use ISO Image File

   Step 5

Select the Darwin.iso file you downloaded to your computer and click Open.

Selecting the Darwin.iso File

   Step 6

After the VMware Tools ISO file is mounted on your macOS system, double-click the Install VMware Tools option when the installation window opens automatically.

Install VMware Tools

   Step 7

When the Installer window opens, click Continue.

VMware Tools Installer

   Step 8

Click Install to continue without changing the installation location of VM Tools.

Starting the Installation of Virtual Machine Tools

   Step 9

When the Installer tries to install new software and prompts you to enter your macOS user account password, type your password and then click the Install Software button.

Type the macOS User Account Password and Confirm to Install the Software

   Step 10

When you type your password and continue installing the software, this time click OK to let the Installer manage your system’s setting of the system, network, and passwords.

Allow Installer

   Step 11

When a program system extension signed by VMware Inc is updated, click the Open Security Preferences button to complete and confirm the update process.

Open Security Preferences

   Step 12

In Security & Privacy settings, first, click on macOS lock to allow system software trying to be installed by VMware Inc developer, then type your password and click Unlock.

Unlocking macOS to Edit System Preferences

   Step 13

After unlocking macOS, click Allow to confirm the VMware system software, and then click Not Now to choose to restart your system later in the pop-up window.

Allow VMware Inc

   Step 14

After installing VMware Tools on macOS running in the virtual machine on Windows, restart your system.

Restarting Your Mac After VM Tools Installation

   Step 15

After restarting your macOS guest system, click About This Mac on the Finder, and when you check the system properties, you can see that the graphics memory is now 128 MB, and the screen resolution adapts to the display setting of your host computer.

Checking macOS Graphics Memory and Screen Resolution

   Step 16

Besides configuring the graphics memory and screen resolution of your virtual computer, you can transfer files between the host and your VM by drag and drop.

If you cannot copy a file from your host to your macOS virtual machine at this stage, open Security & Privacy and enable the “vmware-tools-daemon” service in Accessibility settings and restart your system.

File Transfer Control with Drag & Drop between Host and VM

   Step 17

If you want to use your macOS virtual system in full screen mode, click “Enter full screen mode” in the Workstation tool menu.

Entering Full Screen Mode

   Step 18

If you want to hide the Toolbar in full screen mode, click View / “Exclusive Mode”. If you want to open the toolbar again, you can press CTRL + Alt keys together.

Exclusive Mode

   Step 19

After enabling Exclusive Mode, you can check that the toolbar is not visible and your virtual machine is in full screen mode.

Controlling the Full Screen Resolution

How to Uninstall VMware Tools

When the Fusion software is updated by VMware shortly after installing the drivers for your guest system, the Darwin.iso file will also be updated. Therefore, you will need to update the drivers of your macOS system that you use in your Workstation software with the newer darwin ISO file.

In this case, you can add the updated ISO file to your virtual machine and update VM Tools manually. However, we recommend that you uninstall VMware Tools from macOS before starting the installation.

   Step 1

If you are not using a Mac computer, press Windows + Space keys together from your host keyboard on your macOS VM and open Spotlight search.

After opening Spotlight Search, type “/library/application support” in the search bar and open the Application Support folder under Folders.

Uninstall VMware Tools from macOS

   Step 2

Open the VMware Tools folder in the Application Support folder.

Application Support / VMware Tools

   Step 3

Click Uninstall VMware Tools, then click Uninstall to confirm removing it from your virtual machine.

Uninstall VMware Tools

   Step 4

After you uninstall VMware Tools successfully from your Mac virtual computer, click OK.

VM Tools Removed Successfully

   Step 5

Click the Apple Logo / Restart to restart your macOS VM, and then click the Restart button again.

Restarting Your Mac

   Step 6

After restarting your macOS Monterey virtual computer, you can check that the graphics memory is set from 128 MB to 3 MB and the screen resolution does not fit on the full screen.

After you uninstall VM Tools without any problems, you can start reinstalling your VM’s drivers using the latest Darwin ISO file.

Graphics Memory: 3 MB

Installing Old Versions

Version
Slide
macOS Mojave
macOS High Sierra

 

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8 Comments
  1. Zeke 23 April 2018

    Hi,
    Is this on VMWare 14 and macOS 10.13.4?
    I tried the same and the I could not get full screen :/

    Reply
    • Zeke 24 April 2018

      Oh, never mind, it worked after a couple of uninstall and reinstalls of VMWare tools 🙂

      Reply
      • tolqabaqci 25 April 2018

        I’m glad to hear that 🙂

        Reply
  2. eriktecse 9 May 2018

    cual es nombre del archivo o ruta que debo de conectar con el DVD/CD para poder instalar el vmware tools adecuado…

    Reply
    • tolqabaqci 11 May 2018

      Simplemente haga clic en el botón Instalar herramientas de VMware.

      Reply
  3. Matthew 17 May 2022

    As of May 2022. DO NOT INSTALL darwin.iso. It willl BREAK your mac installation

    Reply
    • asd 26 September 2022

      didnt break mine

      Reply
  4. Lin Li 21 July 2023

    But, macOS 13 ventura ‘s resolution is not changed.

    Reply
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