Using MLX Framework with Phi-3

Using MLX Framework with Phi-3

Previously, I shared with you how to use Phi-3-mini on AIPC's NPU and iPhone. Some people want to know more about the experience of using macOS and how to use Apple Silicon to accelerate SLM models. This blog will share with you relevant knowledge, including how to use Apple MLX Framework to accelerate Phi-3-mini operation, fine-tune, and combine Llama.cpp for quantitative operation.

What's MLX Framework

MLX is an array framework for machine learning research on Apple silicon, brought to you by Apple machine learning research.

MLX is designed by machine learning researchers for machine learning researchers. The framework is intended to be user-friendly, but still efficient to train and deploy models. The design of the framework itself is also conceptually simple. We intend to make it easy for researchers to extend and improve MLX with the goal of quickly exploring new ideas.

LLMs can be accelerated in Apple Silicon devices through MLX, and models can be run locally very conveniently.


Installing MLX is easy, you will need Python 3.11.x+, then install it in the terminal

pip install mlx-lm

Run MLX's instructions

1. Running Phi-3-mini in Terminal with MLX

python -m mlx_lm.generate --model microsoft/Phi-3-mini-4k-instruct --max-token 2048 --prompt  "<|user|>\nCan you introduce yourself<|end|>\n<|assistant|>"

2. Quantizing Phi-3-mini with MLX in Terminal

python -m mlx_lm.convert --hf-path microsoft/Phi-3-mini-4k-instruct

3. Running Phi-3-mini with MLX in Jupyter Notebook



Note: Please read Inference Phi-3 with Apple MLX Framework to Learn more

Fine-tuning with MLX Framework

We generally need GPU acceleration to complete model training or fine-tuning, but in Apple devices you can use Apple silicon's MPS(Metal Performance Shaders) to replace the GPU to complete model training and fine-tuning.

What's Metal Performance Shaders

The Metal Performance Shaders framework contains a collection of highly optimized compute and graphics shaders that are designed to integrate easily and efficiently into your Metal app. These data-parallel primitives are specially tuned to take advantage of the unique hardware characteristics of each GPU family to ensure optimal performance.

Sample - Using LoRA to fine-tuning Phi-3-mini with MLX

1. Data preparation

By default, MLX Framework requires the jsonl format of train, test, and eval, and is combined with Lora to complete fine-tuning jobs.


  1. jsonl data format :

{"text": "<|user|>\nWhen were iron maidens commonly used? <|end|>\n<|assistant|> \nIron maidens were never commonly used <|end|>"}
{"text": "<|user|>\nWhat did humans evolve from? <|end|>\n<|assistant|> \nHumans and apes evolved from a common ancestor <|end|>"}
{"text": "<|user|>\nIs 91 a prime number? <|end|>\n<|assistant|> \nNo, 91 is not a prime number <|end|>"}

  1. Our example uses TruthfulQA's data , but the amount of data is relatively insufficient, so the fine-tuning results are not necessarily the best. It is recommended that learners use better data based on their own scenarios to complete.

  2. The data format is combined with the Phi-3 template

Please download data from this link , please inculde all .jsonl in data folder

2. Fine-tuning in your terminal

Please run this command in terminal

python -m mlx_lm.lora --model microsoft/Phi-3-mini-4k-instruct --train --data ./data --iters 1000 

Note: This is LoRA fine-tuning, MLX framework not published QLoRA

3. Run Fine-tuning adapter to test

You can run fine-tuning adapter in terminal,like this

python -m mlx_lm.generate --model microsoft/Phi-3-mini-4k-instruct --adapter-path ./adapters --max-token 2048 --prompt "Why do chameleons change colors? " --eos-token "<|end|>"    

and run original model to compare result

python -m mlx_lm.generate --model microsoft/Phi-3-mini-4k-instruct --max-token 2048 --prompt "Why do chameleons change colors? " --eos-token "<|end|>"    

You can try to compare the results of Fine-tuning with the original model

4. Merge adapters to generate new models

python -m mlx_lm.fuse --model microsoft/Phi-3-mini-4k-instruct

5. Running quantified fine-tuning models using ollama

Before use, please configure your llama.cpp environment

git clone https://github.com/ggerganov/llama.cpp.git

cd llama.cpp

pip install -r requirements.txt

python convert.py 'Your meger model path'  --outfile phi-3-mini-ft.gguf --outtype f16 


  1. Now supports quantization conversion of fp32, fp16 and INT 8

  2. The merged model is missing tokenizer.model, please download it from https://huggingface.co/microsoft/Phi-3-mini-4k-instruct

set Ollma Model file(If not install ollama ,please read [Ollama QuickStart](../02.QuickStart/Ollama_QuickStart.md)

FROM ./phi-3-mini-ft.gguf
PARAMETER stop "<|end|>"

run command in terminal

 ollama create phi3ft -f Modelfile 

 ollama run phi3ft "Why do chameleons change colors?" 

Note: Please read Fine-tuning Phi-3 with Apple MLX Framework to Learn more


  1. Read Phi-3 CookBook https://aka.ms/phi-3cookbook
  2. MLX framework Repo https://github.com/ml-explore
  3. Learn more about MLX Framework https://ml-explore.github.io/mlx/
  4. Hugging face Phi-3 Family https://huggingface.co/collections/microsoft/phi-3-6626e15e9585a200d2d761e3

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