How to install Mojave on unsupported Macs

Posted:
in macOS edited July 25
You'll need a very good reason and it'd be best if you didn't do it on your main Mac. However, installing Mojave on some older Macs can be done -- and fairly easily. AppleInsider explains if you really must know.




This year's macOS Mojave beta, and subsequent update, won't run and can't be installed on any Mac older than about 2012 -- or so Apple thinks. However, if you're the sort to believe that every year Apple tries to force everyone to buy new Macs, and you also forget that 2012 was six years ago, you're in luck.

But, there is now a way to ignore Apple and install macOS Mojave on any Mac you like. Or at least any Mac you like back to around 2008.

There are exceptions. The new and most utterly not Apple supported macOS Mojave Patcher Tool will even go back to 2007 if you have a very specific iMac that you've already upgraded in a very specific way. That said, Apple's official list also has exceptions: if you have the right Mac Pro you can install Mojave on even a mid-2010 machine.

We get that you may well not be able to afford a new Mac. These are far from cheap machines. Plus even a ten-year-old MacBook Pro is a good computer and we'd not be at all surprised if you were still getting great use out of it.

We would just then be surprised that you want to risk that great use by installing a macOS update that it can't handle.

On your own head and someone else's hard drive

The Mojave Patcher Tool for Unsupported Macs is available for download from DosDude1. This is the same guy that did this for High Sierra, and has supplied a series of other hacks and workarounds for fans of older Apple hardware.

Doubtlessly the tool is a clever piece of programming that is be far beyond our skill, but ultimately it just does one thing -- it prevents Apple's macOS installation tool from spotting that the machine you're using is too old.

Other than that, it takes macOS Mojave and installs it on a drive. But, if you're now wondering where it gets Mojave from, you've spotted a potential hang-up in the process.




To get a copy of macOS Mojave to install on an unsupported Mac, you have to be in the Apple Beta program but more importantly than that, you have to download it on a supported Mac.

So, unless you've got friends who have newer Macs yet not enough conscience to warn you off this idea because it is potentially hazardous to your data and hardware, you've got to personally have a Mojave-capable Mac. If you have, go ahead, use Mojave on that.

Normally we'd be hesitant about that too. Apple's macOS, like any operating system, is so complex that it's bound to have some problems on older gear. Every year we generally advise you to wait a little while before installing the final version. Every year we also point out that installing the beta is fine so long as you do it on a spare Mac.

We say both of those things about Macs that are supposed to be able to run these things. Even when they are, the advice to wait for a while after official release is a good suggestion. The advice to stay away from the beta versions entirely on a critical work machine is more like a firm rule.

If you use this tool to install macOS Mojave on a Mac that Apple itself says won't work, you can't honestly expect a great experience. You're not going to transform that brilliant 2008 MacBook Air into a 2018 model. You're more likely to transform it into a somewhat less brilliant 2008 brick under more load than the hardware should have to bear.

It is good to have the same macOS on all of your machines, and it's even slightly disorientating when you're swapping between Mojave and Sierra. However, take the disorientation because it's better than having no functioning Mac at all.

One more thing. If you do use this patch tool to install macOS Mojave on your main Mac, please remember that you can still read AppleInsider on your iPhone if things go awry.
chia
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    macseekermacseeker Posts: 384member
    Hi William; Ref: The Mojave Patcher Tool for Unsupported Macs is available for download from DosDude. This is the same guy that did this for High Sierra, and has supplied a series of other hacks and workarounds for fans of older Apple hardware. The guy's name is dosdude1.
  • Reply 2 of 27
    wonkothesanewonkothesane Posts: 1,261member
    In addition: i habe a very good experience with running  High Sierra on two officially unsupported MBPs, one from 2011 and one from 2009. Also Mojave PB is Running pretty stable on another MBP - which is, however, officially supported. I will do the same like with HS, which is skipping the early versions of DosDude’s tool and hen go for it :)
  • Reply 3 of 27
    cecil444cecil444 Posts: 40member
    Yes, the High Sierra version for unsupported Macs is smooth on my upgraded 2008 unibody. I’ve had no problems running it, and the experience sure beats being stuck on El Capitan.
    chiaracerhomie3
  • Reply 4 of 27
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 263member
    So, is the UI really slow without Metal support?
    longpath
  • Reply 5 of 27
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,790member
    Re: "One more thing. If you do use this patch tool to install macOS Mojave on your main Mac, please remember that you can still read AppleInsider on your iPhone if things go awry."

     :)  Priceless.
    mknelsonracerhomie3
  • Reply 6 of 27
    randywaltersrandywalters Posts: 4unconfirmed, member
    I’m using DosDude’s High Sierra patcher on the 2008 MacBook Pro I use for live performance, and it runs flawlessly. It’s perky, too! I consider myself very much in his debt.

    I’m definitely going to be making the step to Mojave. I wrote him a while back hoping he would be providing a new patcher, and it sure looks like he resolved the issues he mentioned he was having.

    I won’t be installing the beta, but once the Gold Master release has been out for 2 or 3 weeks and the first round of fixes have been made, I’m going for it. I should note that I’ve got two much more recent desktop Macs I’ll be updating the old-fashioned, Apple-approved way… I would not recommend running the patcher on your primary lose-it-and-die computer. There’s too much at stake.

    Still, everything’s gone smoothly on the High Sierra version. Kudos to DosDude!



    prismatics
  • Reply 7 of 27
    Do not tell it outloud. Apple will make all effort to kill that tool to sell more new hardware. It made all effort on the past hardware to make almost impossible to install systems like Linux on their hardware to reuse it. Yes system that in basic form (an many times in competitive form of Ubuntu desktop) can be installed on almost anything you can find in PC scrap. I do not believe it was for perofrmance reasons purely. Also before we jump on conclusion that Apple modern solutions require hardware I have just found out from a freind who just left them that there is a lot to be desired in their system quality area... especially on Macs. Time to listen to expereinced engineers rather than having cocky programmers who do not understand where all it goes and how it always ends.
  • Reply 8 of 27
    sevenfeetsevenfeet Posts: 390member
    While this article is informative, I think there is information you are leaving out.

    I'd give proper attribution to conversation about Mojave on Unsupported Macs being an active discussion hosted by Dosdude on Macrumors.com.  Yes, it's a competitor but much of the information needed to be successful about doing this patch is found in the pages and pages of discussion amongst the users as bugs are crushed and more machines are added to the compatibility (or partial compatibility) list.  It's no different than when you attribute a store broken by another website or news outlet.  Just referring to Dosdude's own download page doesn't get around that fact.
    dysamoriaelijahgwilliamlondonjdwrandywalters
  • Reply 9 of 27
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,854member
    This is probably a good thing. I'm not sure I will venture to Mojave on my MacBook Pro 5,5 or iMac 12,2, though. I put Sierra on the MacBook Pro to keep it aligned with the iMac, and only because Logic X 10.4 demanded Sierra. I might run it on a test hard drive to see what it's like. Sierra works very well on my machine that Apple arbitrarily dumped.

    Apple keeps shortening the support time. Logic's demand of Sierra or High Sierra was an annoyance to many Logic users.

    This pressure to upgrade has been getting worse because of iOS devices and iOS has an incredibly annoying nag to upgrade. I'm not happy about Apple's choices and it makes it very difficult for their customers to maintain a functioning "Apple ecosystem" unless they're wealthy enough to repeatedly re-buy effectively the same devices every two or three years. It didn't used to be the case that you had to be wealthy to be an Apple user (just judicious spending and saving), but Apple's ecosystem is exactly designed to encourage, or push, people into multiple Apple devices, and upgrade each one more often. This is bad for consumers and they're too arrogant and too big to notice this. Eventually it will lose them customers and they don't care to watch out for this at this time.

    Granted, they did just take some action to possibly pull back on this a bit, with promoting iOS 12 as being faster on older devices (I've avoided iOS 11 but I might go to iOS 12). They need to do more of this, on all platforms.
  • Reply 10 of 27
    I bet Windows 10 runs perfectly on Boot Camp on a 2008 Mac without any hacks at all.
    elijahglarrya
  • Reply 11 of 27
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    I bet Windows 10 runs perfectly on Boot Camp on a 2008 Mac without any hacks at all.
    Runs perfectly on a 2009 (Mac Pro), at least. And you can even use the most modern Boot Camp drivers by bypassing Apple’s in-Windows compatibility check.
  • Reply 12 of 27
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,693administrator
    sevenfeet said:
    While this article is informative, I think there is information you are leaving out.

    I'd give proper attribution to conversation about Mojave on Unsupported Macs being an active discussion hosted by Dosdude on Macrumors.com.  Yes, it's a competitor but much of the information needed to be successful about doing this patch is found in the pages and pages of discussion amongst the users as bugs are crushed and more machines are added to the compatibility (or partial compatibility) list.  It's no different than when you attribute a store broken by another website or news outlet.  Just referring to Dosdude's own download page doesn't get around that fact.
    While I appreciate MR holding the conversation, they didn't break this. When appropriate, we give other sites credit -- including MR. This is a complicated situation for both MR and us, with a history and discussion about it going for pages and pages.

    Users are welcome to -- and should -- use Google to seek information on any workaround we publish, or to seek amplifying information on tips.
    edited July 25
  • Reply 13 of 27
    loquiturloquitur Posts: 103member
    mknelson said:
    So, is the UI really slow without Metal support?
    No, because macOS bases the general UI on the process 'WindowServer', and there was a useful
    discovery that Apple has not rewritten this using Metal, just preferring to delete the OpenGL drivers
    for ye olde "unsupported" Macs instead.  (So far, to Public Beta 3, anyway.)

    Turns out the OpenGL drivers and other kernel extensions (kexts) can be re-animated from older macOS releases
    with the requisite incantations.

    There are some issues with hardware acceleration for certain machines which use AMD GPUs,
    but for stuff like the antique 2010 17" MacBookPro6,1 using Nvidia 330M, or even a garden-variety
    2008 MacBook5,1 using Geforce 9400M it runs great! 

    It's amazing that a 10-year-old machine like my 2.4GHz 2008 MacBook using the mighty Intel Core 2 Duo
    (with user-replaceable SSD and maxed-out 8GB memory) can run the new release perfectly fine!

    edited July 25
  • Reply 14 of 27
    macseekermacseeker Posts: 384member
    sevenfeet said:
    While this article is informative, I think there is information you are leaving out.

    I'd give proper attribution to conversation about Mojave on Unsupported Macs being an active discussion hosted by Dosdude on Macrumors.com.  Yes, it's a competitor but much of the information needed to be successful about doing this patch is found in the pages and pages of discussion amongst the users as bugs are crushed and more machines are added to the compatibility (or partial compatibility) list.  It's no different than when you attribute a store broken by another website or news outlet.  Just referring to Dosdude's own download page doesn't get around that fact.
    While I appreciate MR holding the conversation, they didn't break this. When appropriate, we give other sites credit -- including MR. This is a complicated situation for both MR and us, with a history and discussion about it going for pages and pages.

    Users are welcome to -- and should -- use Google to seek information on any workaround we publish, or to seek amplifying information on tips.
    Naw, I use DuckDuckGo as my search engine.
  • Reply 15 of 27
    This type of thing is for enthusiasts only, i.e., people that enjoy computer troubleshooting. People that just blithely say "it works great" aren't telling the truth. 
    randywalters
  • Reply 16 of 27
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    This type of thing is for enthusiasts only, i.e., people that enjoy computer troubleshooting. People that just blithely say "it works great" aren't telling the truth. 
    It’s two clicks more than a regular install and it works perfectly. Don’t say things you don’t understand.
    loquitur
  • Reply 17 of 27
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,774member
    I bet Windows 10 runs perfectly on Boot Camp on a 2008 Mac without any hacks at all.
    Runs perfectly on a 2009 (Mac Pro), at least. And you can even use the most modern Boot Camp drivers by bypassing Apple’s in-Windows compatibility check.
    Cool, Good to know I have a spare old 2010 15" i7 MBP complete with SSD internal and maxed out RAM I thought was soon to be a doorstop.  As the Boot-Camp work around that is fantastic, I can use it as another opensim server now :)
    edited July 26
  • Reply 18 of 27
    dysamoria said:
    This is probably a good thing. I'm not sure I will venture to Mojave on my MacBook Pro 5,5 or iMac 12,2, though. I put Sierra on the MacBook Pro to keep it aligned with the iMac, and only because Logic X 10.4 demanded Sierra. I might run it on a test hard drive to see what it's like. Sierra works very well on my machine that Apple arbitrarily dumped.

    Apple keeps shortening the support time. Logic's demand of Sierra or High Sierra was an annoyance to many Logic users.

    This pressure to upgrade has been getting worse because of iOS devices and iOS has an incredibly annoying nag to upgrade. I'm not happy about Apple's choices and it makes it very difficult for their customers to maintain a functioning "Apple ecosystem" unless they're wealthy enough to repeatedly re-buy effectively the same devices every two or three years. It didn't used to be the case that you had to be wealthy to be an Apple user (just judicious spending and saving), but Apple's ecosystem is exactly designed to encourage, or push, people into multiple Apple devices, and upgrade each one more often. This is bad for consumers and they're too arrogant and too big to notice this. Eventually it will lose them customers and they don't care to watch out for this at this time.

    Granted, they did just take some action to possibly pull back on this a bit, with promoting iOS 12 as being faster on older devices (I've avoided iOS 11 but I might go to iOS 12). They need to do more of this, on all platforms.
    Dude, I have a machine that can't run Mojave, it's from 2011. That is not a short time for software updates. Does Windows run on some really old hardware? Sure but Apple can't be expected to keep your computer supported for more than 8 years. Now I might try to run Mojave on my old MacBook since I'm running it as a torrent server and heck why not. But the only thing I was pissed off about with the update was that there weren't compelling machines to upgrade to for people who's machines were at the end of being supported. Hopefully they'll have the whole line up upgraded in the fall. If you think about it the original iMac G3 was only supported for something like 4ish years, I remember because by the time I bought my new iBook my iMac was considered ancient.
  • Reply 19 of 27
    larryalarrya Posts: 526member
    dysamoria said:
    This is probably a good thing. I'm not sure I will venture to Mojave on my MacBook Pro 5,5 or iMac 12,2, though. I put Sierra on the MacBook Pro to keep it aligned with the iMac, and only because Logic X 10.4 demanded Sierra. I might run it on a test hard drive to see what it's like. Sierra works very well on my machine that Apple arbitrarily dumped.

    Apple keeps shortening the support time. Logic's demand of Sierra or High Sierra was an annoyance to many Logic users.

    This pressure to upgrade has been getting worse because of iOS devices and iOS has an incredibly annoying nag to upgrade. I'm not happy about Apple's choices and it makes it very difficult for their customers to maintain a functioning "Apple ecosystem" unless they're wealthy enough to repeatedly re-buy effectively the same devices every two or three years. It didn't used to be the case that you had to be wealthy to be an Apple user (just judicious spending and saving), but Apple's ecosystem is exactly designed to encourage, or push, people into multiple Apple devices, and upgrade each one more often. This is bad for consumers and they're too arrogant and too big to notice this. Eventually it will lose them customers and they don't care to watch out for this at this time.

    Granted, they did just take some action to possibly pull back on this a bit, with promoting iOS 12 as being faster on older devices (I've avoided iOS 11 but I might go to iOS 12). They need to do more of this, on all platforms.
    ...But the only thing I was pissed off about with the update was that there weren't compelling machines to upgrade to for people who's machines were at the end of being supported. Hopefully they'll have the whole line up upgraded in the fall...

    This!

     Ending support for my 2011 iMac will probably eventually put me on a new Windows machine.  It’ll start with Boot Camp, and then, at some point, I’ll want to stay with what “I know” but will need something faster.  
  • Reply 20 of 27
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Dude, I have a machine that can't run Mojave, it's from 2011.
    As long as it has a Metal-compatible GPU (or you use dosdude’s “add in the old drivers” utility), it should work perfectly.
    But the only thing I was pissed off about with the update was that there weren't compelling machines to upgrade to for people who's machines were at the end of being supported.

    Wait, what do you mean here?

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