What is a hackintosh? Aside from being a play on the term "macintosh," hackintoshes are non-Apple computers that run macOS. Maybe you've heard of it before but just haven't gotten around to trying it. Well, with the right hardware you can get macOS running on your computer.
The advantages to having a hackintoshed system are you can:
Use an existing PC/hardware
Build a low-cost machine capable of running macOS
Run macOS on more powerful hardware than Apple offers
In this guide, we will show you how to install macOS on your PC in a few simple steps. We'll start with showing you how to do it with Clover, a highly configurable bootloader that is capable of booting macOS on non-Apple systems.
Please note that this guide assumes you are using macOS Sierra (10.12), the latest stable version of macOS. Once macOS High Sierra (10.13) is released we will make changes to this guide as necessary.
The Clover method is the best working one, but it's more complex. If you prefer a more hands-off approach, or if the Clover process is too confusing, we recommend trying UniBeast, the second solution listed in this article.
Download macOS Sierra from the Mac App Store. (You need a Mac in order to download the operating system files, and to create the installation USB, if you do not have one, borrow one from a friend or go somewhere that you know has a Mac, otherwise, you can't proceed legally.)
Once you have the macOS Sierra Installer.app downloaded, open Disk Utility.app, and locate your flash drive that you want to use to install macOS.
Once you have it selected, click "Erase," and make sure your flash drive is entitled "USB", or else the USB creation command in the next step will fail. Make sure it is set to format as "Mac OS Extended Journaled," with a GUID partition scheme, for UEFI systems, otherwise use the MBR partition scheme if you are using an older machine. Once your settings are correct, click the "Erase" button to erase the flash drive.
Once the drive is erased, it should reappear. To format the drive, open Terminal.app and enter the following:
sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/USB --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app —nointeraction
- Enter your password, and the macOS files will be placed on your USB. Please note that this process can be lengthy depending on the speed of your flash drive (anywhere from 5 minutes to a half hour). Once that's done, you can close terminal.
- Next, we need to download Clover and put it on on our flash drive, in order to boot the macOS installer. Download clover here. Run the install pkg file and you will be greeted with the following screen: Click "Continue," then click it again when it shows up on the next page.
- When you get to this "Installation type" screen:
Click "Change Install Location," and select your USB drive, once you have selected it, click "Continue."
- Now click "Customize," and select the appropriate options for your system,
Clover has many different options to suit many various configurations, as such, we cannot tell you what options to select for your system. A safe bet, however, is to select "Install for UEFI booting only," if you are installing on a UEFI-based system, and it will select the appropriate options for UEFI booting. Depending on your hardware configuration, you may need to select various options under the "Drivers64" and "Drivers64UEFI" categories, for example, my system requires the following to be selected:
If you do not know which options to select, an easier solution may be to use UniBeast as described in the second part of this article. Once you have the appropriate options selected, click the "Install" button to install Clover to your flash drive, and enter your password to proceed.
Once it is installed to the drive, you can close the Clover app.
- Install the necessary drivers (kexts, otherwise known as Kernel Extensions) for your system to your flash drive for the macOS install procedure. FakeSMC is the only ABSOLUTELY necessary kext for booting macOS. Download the latest version here. Depending on your ethernet adapter you may also need a kext in order to use Ethernet connectivity, such as IntelMausiEthernet available here, if you are unsure whether you have an Intel Ethernet adapter, check your motherboard specifications, if you do not have one, do not install this kext.
As I mentioned before, we can't possibly cover all the kexts and files needed for every system, if you are unsure what you need, or if something isn't working right, please let us know in our forums where people can help you.
Once you have the kexts you need, open the EFI partition on your USB drive, navigate to /EFI/Clover/Kexts/10.12/ and place your downloaded kexts there so that Clover will load them at startup. If you need to remount the EFI partition of your flash drive, I recommend following this guide, replacing
disk0s1 with your USB drive's EFI partition identifier. Once it is remounted, it should show up in Finder.app and then you can copy your kexts over as described above.
Once your kexts are taken care of, your USB drive is done, and you now need to configure your BIOS/UEFI settings. Reboot your system into your UEFI using the appropriate key, and change the following options:
- Enable CSM if it is disabled
- Ensure your SATA controller is configured to AHCI
- Enable HPET
- Disable Secure Boot, or set it to "Other OS."
- Set UEFI to boot from your Clover USB
The Clover boot screen should appear, navigate to "Options," and set boot args to "-v kext-dev-mode=1" to enable verbose boot, which gives output if something goes wrong, the second flag allows you to boot with kexts not signed by Apple, so it is usually necessary.
If something does go wrong, and your system does not boot, you probably need to try other boot flags:
- npci=0x2000 or npci=0x3000 for PCI configuration hang fix
- dart=0 to fix issues with VT-x and VT-d
- nv_disable=1 to disable Nvidia Web Drivers and nvda_drv=1 to enable them if there are GPU-related issues
If your system still does not boot after trying different flags, please feel free to comment on this article or post in our forums for additional help.
Once you have booted to the macOS installer, you should have the option to click on "Disk Utility" to format your hard drive or SSD for OS installation.
When Disk Utility appears, click your hard drive, and click Erase at the top, set the name to "Macintosh HD", make sure it is set to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) with a GUID partition scheme once again (or MBR if it's an older machine). Then, click "Erase" and exit Disk Utility.
Click on "Install macOS", and then follow along with the install wizard to begin the installation process. When your system reboots, boot to the newly listed macOS partition, allow it to finish the installation procedure, and once it's finished your system will reboot again. Once you boot back into your macOS partition, macOS should be fully installed on your system.
Once done, scroll down to the "Post Installation tips" section for additional setup help with permanent boot flags, GPU drivers, and the like.
If the above method seemed too difficult, here is a somewhat easier method. I say this is not recommended because it is usually best to configure things yourself
Download UniBeast from TonyMacx86
Download macOS Sierra from the Mac App Store.
Format your flash drive as described in steps 2 and 3 in the Clover section of the guide.
Run UniBeast, click "Continue," about 4 times, and then click "Agree."
If you see a "Select OS installation" screen, make sure Sierra is selected.
At the "Bootloader Options" screen, select UEFI or legacy boot depending on your system.
If you have a dedicated graphics card, ensure the proper graphics options are selected for your system.
Ensure everything is configured correctly, click "Continue," then type in your password to proceed.
Your UniBeast drive will be created.
(Optional): If you don't want to find kexts on your own you may also use Multibeast from TonyMac but it is imperative you select the right options for your system, or you can break something in the process.
Make sure the proper BIOS/UEFI options are selected as per step 9 of the Clover section.
Once you have booted from your flash drive, format your destination drive as per section 12 of the Clover section.
This is an optional step: Once macOS is installed, you can run Multibeast if you downloaded it earlier, to install the proper drivers for your system.
Once MultiBeast is open. Select UEFI or Legacy Boot mode, depending on how you installed it.
Click on drivers, and select the correct drivers for your hardware.
Click "Customize" for further options, usually not necessary.
Click "Save" to back up your settings.
Click "Build," then click "Install" to install your drivers.
If you have a Nvidia GPU, it is necessary for newer cards such as the 900/1000 series to use the Nvidia Web Drivers. To use them, download them from here, and add the nvidia_drv=1 flag to enable the drivers.
If you don't know how to change the Clover config, or find it difficult, you can use Clover Configurator for an easy to use interface for selecting boot flags, and customizing the various options within Clover, such as enabling the nvidia_drv=1 flag. It's very handy for quick changes and SMBIOS customization.
Regarding SMBIOS customization, it is best to use an SMBIOS that is closest to your hardware like MacPro6,1 for Ivy Bridge-E systems. Issues such as iMessage or the App Store not working can be solved by editing your SMBIOS. You can learn more about fixing those issues here
Any other questions or concerns that we didn't cover? Comment on this article, or post on our forums!