Install macOS Sonoma on Unsupported Mac – Full Guide
Apple’s latest operating system, macOS Sonoma, brings exciting new features and functionality to Mac users. However, not all Mac models are compatible with this update, leaving some older models unsupported. But with careful patching and a thorough understanding of the process, it’s possible to install macOS Sonoma on unsupported Mac. In this guide, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of achieving this.
Install macOS Sonoma on Unsupported Mac
Can I Install macOS Sonoma?
Locating your Mac’s model information is essential before attempting to install macOS Sonoma. This information helps you determine compatibility and choose the right patching tools.
Apple provides a list of officially supported Macs for macOS Sonoma. However, many older Macs possess the hardware capability to run the OS, albeit being held back by Apple’s system requirements. By patching, unsupported Macs can also experience the Sonoma upgrade.
Finding Your Mac Model
To find your Mac’s system specifications:
Apple menu > System Information > Hardware. Look for the Model Identifier.
If you find the following then you can run macOS Sonoma on your Mac else you will apply the method given:
- iMac: 2019 and later
- iMac Pro: 2017 and later
- Mac Pro: 2019 and later
- Mac Studio: 2022 and later
- MacBook Air: 2018 and later
- MacBook Pro: 2018 and later
- Mac Mini: 2018 and later
Backup all your data
Make sure to back up all your data before performing any sort of installation. As you might lose your data during or after the installation. To back up all your data on macOS Ventura:
1. Connect an external storage device (e.g., external hard drive or USB flash drive) to your Mac.
2. Click the Apple Menu and select System Preferences.
3. Choose Time Machine.
4. Turn on Time Machine by clicking the ON button.
5. Click Select Backup Disk and choose your external storage device.
6. Click Use Disk to confirm and initiate the backup. You will click on Back Up Now from the Time Machine menu to initiate the process.
Once you have backed up your data you will begin the process to install macOS Sonoma on unsupported Mac.
Downloading macOS Sonoma Install Assistant PKG
Now you will download macOS Sonoma Install Assistant PKG. We are going to use this file to create a bootable USB which will be later used for installation.
For these, you can use this link and download the Install Assistant PKG. You can also visit the Apple App Store and download macOS Sonoma Install Assistant PKG. Since the file is quite big in size this might take some time.
Once you have downloaded then you will continue to the next step.
Formatting a USB for macOS
Connect a USB Drive to your Mac and format the USB. Make sure the USB drive is at least 16 GB in size and all the data inside is backed up.
- Insert the USB drive. Open Disk Utility from Applications > Utilities or using Spotlight.
- Select the USB drive from the left panel. Click Erase and choose the format (Mac OS Extended) and scheme (GUID Partition Map).
- Give the drive a name if desired.
- Click Erase to confirm and format. Wait for the process to finish.
Create macOS Sonoma USB Installer
To create a macOS Sonoma USB installer, follow these steps:
Open Terminal from Applications > Utilities. Use the following command, replacing “MyVolume” with your USB drive’s name:
sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sonoma.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume
Enter your admin password and confirm. The terminal will copy files to the USB drive. Wait until it’s done.
Now, your USB drive is a bootable macOS Sonoma installer. We will use it to install macOS Sonoma on Mac. But first, there is one more thing we need to do.
Downloading and Installing OpenCore Legacy Patcher on macOS USB Installer
To begin, you will download OpenCore Legacy. For this purpose, you can use this link. Then we will configure and install OpenCore on the EFI partition of the macOS Sonoma USB Installer.
Now we will launch OpenCore and navigate to the Settings section. There we will customize OpenCore specifically for your Mac.
- Select the Target Model as the Mac you are using.
- Enable Verbose (-v) mode.
- In the SMBIOS section, select a suitable Model for your macOS.
Tip: Verbose mode is a feature that provides detailed information about the boot process of your Hackintosh or macOS system. It’s similar to the verbose mode in macOS, but in the context of OpenCore, it’s specifically related to the bootloader’s activity. Enabling verbose mode in OpenCore can be useful for troubleshooting boot issues, identifying potential errors, and understanding how the boot loader loads various components during startup.
Tip: It’s important to note that macOS Sonoma only supports certain Mac models, so make sure to select the model that aligns with your Mac. You will select a Mac version that is supported by macOS Sonoma and also aligns with your current Mac.
To begin the installation of macOS Sonoma on unsupported Mac; these two options are enough. However; if you got any issues during the installation then you can change the settings here. Now exit the settings.
Now go to the Build and Install OpenCore to continue with the installation. Pick your USB drive and opt for the EFI partition. Once these actions are finished, you’ll be set to install macOS Sonoma on your Mac, even if it’s not officially supported.
Install macOS Sonoma on Unsupported Mac
Now you will restart your Mac and hold the Option key while starting again.
Select macOS USB Installer and access Disk Utility. Here you will need to click on erase your current macOS disk or create a new partition for macOS Sonoma.
Alternatively, you can also click on Add and create a new partition. This will enable you to run multiple macOS on your Mac. It is sort of like dual-booting macOS and Windows.
Exit the Disk Utility and proceed with the macOS Sonoma installation process.
Now the installation will take place and will restart multiple times. The installation process might take 10-30 minutes.
Install OpenCore Legacy Boot on macOS Sonoma
After the installation, you will ensure that Targeted Model is matched with your current model. OpenCore and go to Target Model to make sure you have selected the correct one.
“Build and Install OpenCore” option will appear on your screen. Make all the adjustments required and click on Build and Install OpenCore.
You will find similar phases that you have experienced earlier but now instead of selecting any USB, you will select the macOS system’s hard drive. This step is crucial as it will allow you to boot directly into macOS Sonoma without relying on a macOS USB Installer.
Proceed to the Post-Install Root Patch as the last step. Within this stage, OpenCore will scan for and implement the essential Kexts (drivers) tailored to the hardware components of older Macs, or resolve any associated issues, ensuring a smooth interaction with macOS Sonoma.
Occasionally, an internet connection might be necessary during the Post-Install procedure to fetch the relevant components.
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Key Considerations and Risks
It’s vital to be aware of potential issues that might arise when installing macOS Sonoma on unsupported Macs.
– Compatibility: Potential hardware and software compatibility issues.
– Stability: Risk of instability, crashes, and performance problems.
– Warranty and Support: This may void the warranty and lack official support.
– Data Loss: The installation process could lead to data loss.
– Third-Party Software: Compatibility issues with apps and drivers.
– Security Risks: Missed security updates and vulnerabilities.
– Reversibility: Complex process to revert with possible data loss.
– Technical Expertise: Requires technical understanding and skills.
– Unofficial Methods: Relies on unofficial tools like OpenCore Legacy Patcher.
– Limited Functionality: Some advanced features may not work on unsupported hardware.
What is OpenCore Legacy Patcher?
OpenCore Legacy Patcher is an open-source tool designed to help users install the latest versions of macOS on older systems that are no longer officially supported by Apple. It works by modifying the official macOS installer, allowing it to bypass certain compatibility checks and enable installation on hardware that wouldn’t normally meet the requirements.
The tool integrates patches and drivers that address potential software issues and enable booting on unsupported machines. It’s used by individuals who want to extend the lifespan of their older Macs by running newer macOS versions. However, it’s important to note that using OpenCore Legacy Patcher is not endorsed or supported by Apple, and it comes with potential risks, including system instability and voiding warranties. Users should exercise caution and ensure they have proper backups before attempting to use this tool.
Installing macOS Sonoma on unsupported Macs is a possibility for those willing to delve into patching and workarounds. While the process offers exciting opportunities, it comes with potential risks that users should be aware of. By following the steps outlined in this guide and exercising caution, users can explore the latest features of macOS Sonoma on older Mac models.
Related: Install macOS Sonoma on VirtualBox