Skip to content
Go to file

Latest commit

- Changes from Nick (<3)

- SIP is disabled to allow "hacking"

- Cleanups

- Use '-netdev user...' for initial bringup

Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time


This documents the process of creating a Virtual Hackintosh system.

Note: All blobs and resources included in this repository are re-derivable (all instructions are included!).

💚 Looking for commercial support with this stuff? I am available over email for a chat for commercial support options only.

Looking for Big Sur support? See these notes.

Working with Proxmox and macOS? See Nick's blog for sure.

Yes, we support offline macOS installations now 🎉

Contributing Back

This project can always use your help, time and attention. I am looking for help (pull-requests!) with the following work items:

  • Enable to work with Python 3.9.x.

  • Create full installation (ISO) image without requiring an existing macOS physical/virtual installation.

  • Documentation around running macOS on popular cloud providers (GCP, AWS). See the Is This Legal? section and associated references.

  • Test accel=hvf flag on QEMU + macOS Mojave on MacBook Pro.

  • Document (share) how you use this project to build + test open-source projects / get your stuff done.

  • Document how to use this project for iOS development.

  • Document how to use this project for XNU kernel debugging and development.

  • Document the process to create and reuse VM snapshots. Instantaneous macOS boots would be nice this way.

  • Document the process to launch a bunch of headless macOS VMs (build farm).

  • Document usage of munki to deploy software to such a build farm.

  • Enable SSH support out of the box or more easily.

  • Better support + docs for AMD Ryzen.

  • Patches to unify the various scripts we have. Robustness improvements.


  • A modern Linux distribution. E.g. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS 64-bit or later.

  • QEMU >= 4.2.0

  • A CPU with Intel VT-x / AMD SVM support is required

  • A CPU with SSE4.1 support is required for >= macOS Sierra

  • A CPU with AVX2 support is required for >= macOS Mojave

Note: Older AMD CPU(s) are known to be problematic. AMD FX-8350 works but Phenom II X3 720 does not. Ryzen processors work just fine.

Installation Preparation

  • KVM may need the following tweak on the host machine to work.

    # echo 1 > /sys/module/kvm/parameters/ignore_msrs

    To make this change permanent, you may use the following command.

    $ sudo cp kvm.conf /etc/modprobe.d/kvm.conf
  • Install QEMU and other packages.

    sudo apt-get install qemu uml-utilities virt-manager git wget libguestfs-tools -y

    This step may need to be adapted for your Linux distribution.

  • Clone this repository on your QEMU system. Files from this repository are used in the following steps.

    cd ~
    git clone --depth 1
    cd OSX-KVM
  • Fetch macOS installer.


    You can choose your desired macOS version here. After executing this step, you should have the BaseSystem.dmg file in the current folder.

    Sample run:

    $ ./
     #    ProductID    Version   Post Date  Title
     1    061-26578    10.14.5  2019-10-14  macOS Mojave
     2    061-26589    10.14.6  2019-10-14  macOS Mojave
     3    041-91758    10.13.6  2019-10-19  macOS High Sierra
     4    041-88800    10.14.4  2019-10-23  macOS Mojave
     5    041-90855    10.13.5  2019-10-23  Install macOS High Sierra Beta
     6    061-86291    10.15.3  2020-03-23  macOS Catalina
     7    001-04366    10.15.4  2020-05-04  macOS Catalina
     8    001-15219    10.15.5  2020-06-15  macOS Catalina
     9    001-36735    10.15.6  2020-08-06  macOS Catalina
    10    001-36801    10.15.6  2020-08-12  macOS Catalina
    11    001-51042    10.15.7  2020-09-24  macOS Catalina
    Choose a product to download (1-11): 11

    Attention: Modern NVIDIA GPUs are supported on HighSierra but not on later versions (yet).

    Next, convert this file into a usable format.

    qemu-img convert BaseSystem.dmg -O raw BaseSystem.img
  • Create a virtual HDD image where macOS will be installed. If you change the name of the disk image from mac_hdd.img to something else, the boot scripts will need to be updated to point to the new image name.

    qemu-img create -f qcow2 mac_hdd_ng.img 128G

    NOTE: Create this HDD image file on a fast SSD/NVMe disk for best results.

  • Now you are ready to install macOS 🚀


  • CLI method (primary). Just run the script to start the installation proces.


    Note: This same script works for Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, and High Sierra.

    If you are new to installing macOS, see the older README for help.

  • You are all set! 🙌

  • (OPTIONAL) Use this macOS VM disk with libvirt (virt-manager / virsh stuff).

    • Edit macOS-libvirt-Catalina.xml file and change the various file paths (search for CHANGEME strings in that file). The following command should do the trick usually.

      sed -i "s/CHANGEME/$USER/g" macOS-libvirt-Catalina.xml
      virt-xml-validate macOS-libvirt-Catalina.xml
    • Create a VM by running the following command.

      virsh --connect qemu:///system define macOS-libvirt-Catalina.xml
    • Launch virt-manager and start the macOS virtual machine.

      Note: You may need to run sudo ip link delete tap0 command before virt-manager is able to start the macOS VM.

Setting Expectations Right

Nice job on setting up a Virtual Hackintosh system! Such a system can be used for a variety of purposes (e.g. software builds, testing, reversing work), and it may be all you need, along with some tweaks documented in this repository.

However, such a system lacks graphical acceleration, a reliable sound sub-system, USB (3) functionality and other similar things. To enable these things, take a look at our notes. We would like to resume our testing and documentation work around this area. Please reach out to us if you are able to fund this area of work.

It is possible to have 'beyond-native-apple-hw' performance but it does require work, patience, and a bit of luck (perhaps?).


  • See networking notes to setup guest networking.

    I have the following commands present in /etc/rc.local.

    #!/usr/bin/env bash
    sudo ip tuntap add dev tap0 mode tap
    sudo ip link set tap0 up promisc on
    sudo ip link set dev virbr0 up
    sudo ip link set dev tap0 master virbr0

    This has been enough for me so far.

    Note: You may need to enable the rc.local functionality manually on modern Ubuntu versions.

  • To get sound on your virtual Mac, see the "Virtual Sound Device" in notes.

  • To passthrough GPUs and other devices, see these notes.

  • Need a different resolution? Check out the notes included in this repository.

  • To generate your own SMBIOS, use GenSMBIOS.

Is This Legal?

The "secret" Apple OSK string is widely available on the Internet. It is also included in a public court document available here. I am not a lawyer but it seems that Apple's attempt(s) to get the OSK string treated as a trade secret did not work out. Due to these reasons, the OSK string is freely included in this repository.

Gabriel Somlo also has some thoughts on the legal aspects involved in running macOS under QEMU/KVM.


My aim is to enable macOS based educational tasks, builds + testing, kernel debugging, reversing, and macOS security research in an easy, reproducible manner without getting 'invested' in Apple's closed ecosystem (too heavily).

These Virtual Hackintosh systems are not intended to replace the genuine physical macOS systems.

Backstory: I was a (poor) student in Canada once and Apple made my work on cracking Apple Keychains a lot harder than it needed to be.

You can’t perform that action at this time.