Apple’s M1 chip is hailed as a leap forward for Macs. But for my Hackintosh, it’s death.


One of my favorite toys for nerds is about to become a relic, and it is Apples Error.

In 2016 I was frustrated Apple hadn’t updated it is Mac Mini, iMac or Mac Pro Computer in at least a year. The company pumped out again iPhones, iPads, AirPods and MacBooks at a regular pace and I had at least one of each. The desktop Macs didn’t get the same amount of attention.

I wanted an inexpensive, multi-purpose machine that I could rely on to work and play for years to come. But if I cut the $ 499 starting price Apple wanted for its Mac mini computers at the time, I’d pay the full amount for a machine whose innards were more than two years old. Not OK.

So, I decided to do one of the neriest things a technical Apple user can do: me built a pc.

I bought all of the parts I needed including a storage drive, system storage, and a graphics card. Next, I put them together in a more general looking case. Then I tricked Apples Mac OS Software in the power supply.

The project cost about $ 800, lots of nights blinking at computer code and a few frustrated bangs on my keyboard, but eventually I got there.


Apple’s $ 699 M1 Mac Mini is an affordable machine with surprisingly fast chips.

Dan Ackerman / CNET

I had turned my DIY computer into a Hackintosh.

This is not supported by Apple and may violate the license terms for macOS software. (Apple declined to comment on this article.) However, the end result was that I had a desktop Mac computer on my terms. I was in control of Apple.

I also felt like a winner. During the day, I would switch between my MacBook Air and Hackintosh for work, using the specific Mac software I could rely on Keep track of my to-do listsManage my calendars and find clever GIFs to use while idle.

At night I switched the Hackintosh to Microsoft Windows, which powers more than 73% of the world’s computers. This is one of the few ways to play reputable virtual reality Games like Valve’s sci-fi shooter Half-life: Alyxwhich CNET sister site GameSpot has just named game of the year for 2020.

And when a component like the graphics card just doesn’t do enough, I can Update the machine with little effort. Nerd paradise.

Unfortunately, that all changed this summer as Apple CEO Tim cook went to his company’s virtual livestream stage and said Macs changed forever. Their microprocessing brains, which used to be made by the chip maker Intelwere replaced by Apple’s custom M1 chips instead. Apple said it is because the technology behind its iPhones and iPads is better suited to Mac computers than the Intel processors that Apple has been using to power Macs since 2006.

“Progress on this scale comes only from bold changes,” Cook said, as Announcement of the first M1 devices from Apple, which will go on sale in November.

Look at that:

New M1 Macs are a big change for Apple


Those first M1 Macs were that MacBook Air, a 13-inch MacBook Pro, and a Mac Miniand each of them received high marks from reviewers. CNET reviewer Dan Ackerman says They do a lot better than their predecessorsand even outperforms Intel-based Macs released in early 2020.

Unfortunately for me and many other Hackintoshers, you I can’t buy Apple’s M1 chips alone. That said, I can’t put it in my computer and get Apple’s macOS software to run on it.

Apple said Intel’s transition would take about two years. A few years later, the company is expected to stop updating software for Intel Macs.

At this point, my Hackintosh dream is officially over.

Apple is notorious for this Control it has over its devices. You can’t download apps for the iPhone or iPad unless you go to the Apple App Store, where the company reviews each program before making it available for download.

It’s no surprise Apple is getting even tighter under control of its computers. But I’m still sad to see hackintos go.

So I decided to build one last hurray. The shiniest fake apple I could muster.

A hobby and a workhorse

Intel chip

Hackers have made MacOS work on PCs with Intel- and Intel-inspired AMD chips for over a decade.


In the last few years it has become a lot easier to put together a Hackintosh. This is mainly due to better hacking tools and active communities with people who are happy to help. Some of them even write Step-by-step instructions with lists of what parts to buy, how to configure them, and what to do if they don’t work.

One of the people whose posts I have relied on is Mykola Grymalyuk, a 20 year old student studying computer science (what else?) in Canada. He had come to Hackintoshing through his stepfather, who had his own. At some point, Grymalyuk recovered from a medical episode that took a lot of time.

“I was constantly in a hospital bed, I couldn’t really walk a lot, I couldn’t really do a lot and I felt kind of worthless,” said Grymalyuk. “But the Hackintosh community gave me something to do.”

Realizing that there wasn’t a lot of up-to-date or comprehensive guides that could help people build the Hackintosh, he decided to write some of his own. First, he made a list of graphics cards that worked best with Apple’s software. Then he wrote about how you can optimize parts of your computer so that everything works better. And most helpful to me, him detailed instructions created To understand the apps and processes you need to follow to set up a Hackintosh for the first time.

“It just twisted from there,” he said.

Earlier this year he summarized his work on a website he co-founded called Dortania. It’s named after a flower that is so dark it hoped the website could easily shoot to the top link on it Google (It did). The site has no ads and he does not ask for money. He encourages people to donate Crohn’s Disease and Colitis Canada.


There are benefits to creating a custom PC such as: B. the ability to customize memory and graphics. And it’s upgradeable.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

As much as Grymalyuk enjoys reading his Hackintosh manuals, he knows that Apple’s M1 chips mean everything will end in about five years. Until then, he expects all Macs and Mac apps to be switched to Apple’s chips. From this point onwards, Apple will likely begin phasing out software updates for Intel-based computers, as they are no longer being sold anyway.

An avowed fan of Apple products, Grymalyuk said he recently started helping people run older Mac software on new computers and helping others run new Apple software on older Mac computers.

His dream is to channel all of this knowledge into writing documentation for other technical products. He wants to help people understand the details that make their computers tick, regardless of whether they were made by Apple or not.

“I want to teach and not just get to the bottom line,” he said. “I want people to service their machines. When you know what breaks, how it breaks and what needs to be fixed, you feel like, ‘Wow, I can maintain this machine all by myself. I don’t need any outside help . ‘”

My last hackintosh


While it’s considerably uglier than a Mac, it runs Apple’s software.

Ian Sherr

I was inspired to build my latest Hackintosh because of the M1 Macs. I decided to build a machine with the latest in microprocessing brains and more than double the storage space as the 1 Terabytes I use today. I also selected an AMD graphics card similar to the latest Mac Pro computers to make sure it would work more easily on macOS. I wanted to make sure that this machine would meet my needs for at least the next few years.

When I get stuck, I’ll be grateful that I have the community of Hackintoshers helping me fix the bugs I run into. Websites like Grymalyuks Dortania, Reddit’s Hackintosh Community and tonymacx86 are still popular. So are YouTube channels like Snazzy Labswho have favourited Hackintoshes again and again. Some of these communities even saw strong interest when Apple released its first M1 computers in November – also because people are curious to see how Hackintoshers prepare for when MacOS no longer works on Intel chips.

“There is still a thriving global community of active hackers,” said Tonymacx86. The person behind the username and website prefers to remain anonymous to avoid overzealous fans and critics alike.

According to Tonymacx86, after Apple completely cut off Hackintoshes, the websites and guides will likely be redesigned in tribute to more than a decade of remodeling these Frankenstein-like machines. They also likely become support communities for people who get stuck with their computers after they get software updates from Apple.

I’ll probably be done with hackintoshing by then. I know that one day I will no longer be able to run the machine I just built smoothly on macOS. When that time comes I’ll either have to rely more heavily on my Mac laptops or buy a new desktop from Apple.

Hopefully by then Apple’s computers won’t be as disappointingly outdated as they were at the beginning.

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