QEMU driver


The qemu driver uses QEMU (system) for VM creation.



To start minikube with the qemu driver:

minikube start --driver=qemu

Special features

minikube start supports some qemu specific flags:

  • --qemu-firmware-path: The path to the firmware image to be used.
    • Note: while the flag should override the config, if the flag does not take effect try running minikube delete.
    • MacPorts: if you are installing minikube and qemu via MacPorts on a Mac with M1, use the following flag: --qemu-firmware-path=/opt/local/share/qemu/edk2-aarch64-code.fd


The QEMU driver has two networking options: socket_vmnet and builtin. socket_vmnet will give you full minikube networking functionality, such as the service and tunnel commands. On the other hand, the builtin network is not a dedicated network and therefore commands such as service and tunnel are not available. socket_vmnet can be installed via brew or from source (instructions below).


Requires macOS 10.15 or later and socket_vmnet.

Install socket_vmnet via brew

brew install socket_vmnet
brew tap homebrew/services
HOMEBREW=$(which brew) && sudo ${HOMEBREW} services start socket_vmnet

Install socket_vmnet from source (requires Go)

git clone https://github.com/lima-vm/socket_vmnet.git && cd socket_vmnet
sudo make install


minikube start --driver qemu --network socket_vmnet


minikube start --driver qemu --network builtin

Known Issues

/var/db/dhcpd_leases errors

If you’re seeing errors related to /var/db/dhcpd_leases your firewall is likely blocking the bootpd process.

Run the following to unblock bootpd from the macOS builtin firewall:

sudo /usr/libexec/ApplicationFirewall/socketfilterfw --add /usr/libexec/bootpd
sudo /usr/libexec/ApplicationFirewall/socketfilterfw --unblock /usr/libexec/bootpd

Start stuck on corp machine or with custom DNS

When using the builtin network (default) the guest uses only the first nameserver entry in the hosts /etc/resolv.conf for DNS lookup. If your first nameserver entry is a corporate/internal DNS it’s likely it will cause an issue. If you see the warning ❗ This VM is having trouble accessing https://registry.k8s.io on minikube start you are likely being affected by this. This may prevent your cluster from starting entirely and you won’t be able to pull remote images. More details can be found at: #15021


  1. If possible, reorder your /etc/resolv.conf to have a general nameserver entry first (eg. and reboot your machine.
  2. Use --network=socket_vmnet

Full list of open ‘qemu’ driver issues


  • Run minikube start --alsologtostderr -v=4 to debug crashes