Starting a Linux instance

Run limactl start <INSTANCE> to create and start the first instance. The <INSTANCE> name defaults to “default”.

$ limactl start
? Creating an instance "default"  [Use arrows to move, type to filter]
> Proceed with the current configuration
  Open an editor to review or modify the current configuration
  Choose another template (docker, podman, archlinux, fedora, ...)
INFO[0029] READY. Run `lima` to open the shell.

Choose Proceed with the current configuration, and wait until “READY” to be printed on the host terminal.

For automation, --tty=false flag can be used for disabling the interactive user interface.


To create an instance “default” from a template “docker”:

limactl create --name=default template://docker
limactl start default

See also the command reference:

Executing Linux commands

Run limactl shell <INSTANCE> <COMMAND> to launch <COMMAND> on the VM:

limactl shell default uname -a

See also the command reference:

For the “default” instance, this command can be shortened as lima <COMMAND>.

lima uname -a

The lima command also accepts the instance name as the environment variable $LIMA_INSTANCE.

SSH can be used too:

$ limactl ls --format='{{.SSHConfigFile}}' default

$ ssh -F /Users/example/.lima/default/ssh.config lima-default

Shell completion

  • To enable bash completion, add source <(limactl completion bash) to ~/.bash_profile.
  • To enable zsh completion, see limactl completion zsh --help
Last modified September 26, 2023: docs/usage: simplify (c01d1d4)