Apple begins phasing out kernel extensions in macOS 10.15.4

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple appears to be slowly phasing out support for macOS kernel extensions, according to a new support document and dialog box appearing on macOS 10.15.4.

Catalina changed a lot of system settings, and 10.15.4 continues that trend with the phasing-out of kernel extensions.
Catalina changed a lot of system settings, and 10.15.4 continues that trend with the phasing-out of kernel extensions.


Previously, drivers and other types of low-level software were installed as "kernel extensions," rather than in user space. In macOS Catalina, that behavior became unnecessary. That offers some benefits to users, such as a reduced chance of a system crashing if something goes wrong with an extension.

As of macOS 10.15.4, it appears that Apple is beginning to phase out support for kernel extensions, which it calls "legacy system extensions," entirely. When a kernel extension (KEXT) first loads in 10.15.4, users will see a dialogue box advising them that kexts will be incompatible with a future version of macOS.




The same advisory message will continue to appear periodically if an app continues to use a kernel extension. The company also published a support document detailing the shift.

Apple explains that these system extensions rely on "older methods that aren't as secure or reliable as modern alternatives." By moving past them, the company says developers will help improve macOS's security, reliably and software distribution methods.

It isn't clear when exactly legacy system extensions will be deprecated at this time. However, they will continue to work in 10.15.4 and future versions of macOS Catalina.

App makers can find more information on kernel extension deprecation at this Apple developer document.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    I wonder how this will affect those who use Hackintoshes? AFAIK, there are a number of .kext files used with them.

    vannygeedysamoriadonjuanwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 33
    civaciva Posts: 78member
    I wonder how this will affect the use of an eGPU on non thunderbolt 3 machines. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 33
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,513administrator
    I wonder how this will affect those who use Hackintoshes? AFAIK, there are a number of .kext files used with them.

    civa said:
    I wonder how this will affect the use of an eGPU on non thunderbolt 3 machines. 
    It's going to be very bad for both. Perhaps not possible. We'll see.
    donjuanwatto_cobrachasm
  • Reply 4 of 33
    I wonder how this will affect those who use Hackintoshes? AFAIK, there are a number of .kext files used with them.

    This will have a huge impact on the hackintosh community. First thing that came to my mind.
    donjuanwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 33
    Hackintosh is the only reason I am using a MacBook. 
    donjuanvannygee
  • Reply 6 of 33
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,633member
    Too much more of this absurd locking down of everything with no way around for people that don't want or need this "security" that is actually a guise for control, and i'll be off to Linux or even Windblows.
    ElCapitanlkruppdonjuan
  • Reply 7 of 33
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,013member
    I have received that pop-up for my MalwareBytes installation. I remember using an app called Conflict Catcher long ago that was used to resolve third party extension conflicts on OS 9. More than a few developers think they know more than Apple about its operating system and ignore official APIs, make unapproved system modifications, etc. I for one am glad that Apple is trying to look out for me and my security and privacy.
    Phobos7TomPMRIStrangeDayscaladanianmanfred zornwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 33
    Phobos7Phobos7 Posts: 56member
    elijahg said:
    Too much more of this absurd locking down of everything with no way around for people that don't want or need this "security" that is actually a guise for control, and i'll be off to Linux or even Windblows.
    Either adapt or be left Behind I think is the message here. Apple, while it’s  OS’s are ground breaking, they are still utilizing largely experimental features and codes that have barely seen the light of day. So with all that happening at once I personally don’t see the efficacy of throwing out the baby with the bath water. Just sayin’ 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 33
    civaciva Posts: 78member
    Phobos7 said:
    elijahg said:
    Too much more of this absurd locking down of everything with no way around for people that don't want or need this "security" that is actually a guise for control, and i'll be off to Linux or even Windblows.
    Either adapt or be left Behind I think is the message here. Apple, while it’s  OS’s are ground breaking, they are still utilizing largely experimental features and codes that have barely seen the light of day. So with all that happening at once I personally don’t see the efficacy of throwing out the baby with the bath water. Just sayin’ 
    I understand "why" they are doing this, in the preparation to move back to ARM (RISC) processors, and to get developers on the same page, to ease that transition, however I a bit concerned as to why they would do it now, on the older system. 
    I guess it's just good to get ahead of the game. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 33
    Norton Security has the same issue.
    caladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 33
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,006member
    lkrupp said:
    I have received that pop-up for my MalwareBytes installation. I remember using an app called Conflict Catcher long ago that was used to resolve third party extension conflicts on OS 9. More than a few developers think they know more than Apple about its operating system and ignore official APIs, make unapproved system modifications, etc. I for one am glad that Apple is trying to look out for me and my security and privacy.
    I got the same message after upgrading to macOS 10.15.4 but Malwarebytes had an update waiting for me so after updating, no pop-ups. It appears they've been able to adjust their code to handle Apple's new requirements.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 33
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,006member
    Norton Security has the same issue.
    Sorry, but Norton was the largest installer of malware, outside of Microsoft Word, to ever hit the Mac platform. They might be better now but I doubt it. I don't see them fixing their software anytime soon since they install their software deep into the bowels of macOS. There are other anti-virus and malware finding software that doesn't take over your Mac.
    azheatmiserElCapitanthtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 33
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,353member
    Wow, Apple really want people to stay on Mojave, huh?
    elijahgdonjuanElCapitanlkrupp
  • Reply 14 of 33
    rob53 said:
    Norton Security has the same issue.
    Sorry, but Norton was the largest installer of malware, outside of Microsoft Word, to ever hit the Mac platform. They might be better now but I doubt it. I don't see them fixing their software anytime soon since they install their software deep into the bowels of macOS. There are other anti-virus and malware finding software that doesn't take over your Mac.

    At work, we have had strange behavior ever since Norton versions 8.4 and 8.5 for Mac were released.  Before that you hardly knew that Norton was on your machine.  Sent in log files to Apple, after analyzing they decided the issues were being caused by a Symantec Kext extension corrupting memory in the kernel.  I guess this is why Apple wants to get away from kernel extensions.
    caladanianGG1watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 33
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,195member
    elijahg said:
    Too much more of this absurd locking down of everything with no way around for people that don't want or need this "security" that is actually a guise for control, and i'll be off to Linux or even Windblows.
    LOL, yes, let's ask people whether they need "security" and go from there. Yeah no, you're completely wrong -- it is not security as a guise for control, it is control to improve security. Nobody in the real world cares about the problems of hackintosh users, and it's absolutely no reason to not lock things down further if it improves the security use cases for actual customers. 

    Go to the land of neckbeard Linux, please. How's tomorrow looking?
    dysamoriamdriftmeyerericthehalfbeewatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 33
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,195member
    crowley said:
    Wow, Apple really want people to stay on Mojave, huh?
    Nah, you're confusing yourself with normals. Normals don't even know what kernel extensions are, and are fine with that. 
    dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 33
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    crowley said:
    Wow, Apple really want people to stay on Mojave, huh?
    Your choice. 🤷🏾‍♂️
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 33
    rezwitsrezwits Posts: 829member
    This will be AWESOME!!! Systems, that can update and never have to restart again (unless you crash)!!  Can't Wait!!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 33
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    rezwits said:
    This will be AWESOME!!! Systems, that can update and never have to restart again (unless you crash)!!  Can't Wait!!
    I’ll believe it when I see it. I remember BeOS used to let users restart daemons instead of rebooting for driver changes or daemon crashes. It was like a new world opened up... and then Windows Vista would restart the graphics subsystem if the GPU crashed. It was amazing that progress was being made.

    And then BeOS died and Windows Vista’s successors turned back to crashing/restarting the whole computer whenever the GPU crashed (a PITA for gaming), turning back the clock on that little bit of progress, and Apple ... well, is this finally it now?

    Again, I’ll believe it when I see it. 
    elijahg
  • Reply 20 of 33
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    As for the impending loss of support for kernel extensions... how much do you want to bet that, even with this early warning, most developers won’t have done shit about it on their products by the time the final OS comes out which actually bans kernel extensions?
    civawatto_cobra
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