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dosdude1

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Feb 16, 2012
2,550
6,783
This thread will be used to discuss advancements in getting macOS 11.0 Big Sur running on unsupported Macs.

---
Compatibility List:

  • 2015 and later MacBook
    • MacBook8,1
    • MacBook9,1
    • MacBook10,1
  • 2013 and later MacBook Air
    • MacBookAir6,x
    • MacBookAir7,x
    • MacBookAir8,x
    • MacBookAir9,1
  • Late 2013 and later MacBook Pro
    • MacBookPro11,x
    • MacBookPro12,1
    • MacBookPro13,x
    • MacBookPro14,x
    • MacBookPro15,x
    • MacBookPro16,x
  • 2014 and later iMac
    • iMac14,4
    • iMac15,1
    • iMac16,x
    • iMac17,1
    • iMac18,x
    • iMac19,x
  • 2017 and later iMac Pro
    • iMacPro1,1
  • 2014 and later Mac mini
    • Macmini7,1
    • Macmini8,1
  • 2013 and later Mac Pro
    • MacPro6,1
    • MacPro7,1

- These Macs so far are capable of running Big Sur properly, but WiFi is not yet fully stable (except on iMac14,x, i.e. Late 2013 iMacs), and (at least on iMac14,x) Fusion Drive performance is significantly slower than on previous macOS releases. See FAQ for more information.

  • 2012 and Early 2013 MacBook Pro
    • MacBookPro9,x
    • MacBookPro10,x
  • 2012 MacBook Air
    • MacBookAir5,x
  • 2012 and 2013 iMac
    • iMac13,x
    • iMac14,x
  • 2012 Mac mini
    • Macmini6,x

- These Macs so far can boot Big Sur, some got graphical acceleration support and, as with most 2012-2013 Macs, using early versions of Big Sur WiFi is not fully stable yet. See FAQ for more information.

* Not officially supported in macOS Catalina, but are fully capable of running both Catalina and Big Sur with a Metal-compatible GPU and upgraded WiFi/BT card.

+ graphics acceleration added back by @ASentientBot (
OpenCore Legacy Patcher list of GPU support)
  • Early-2008 or newer Mac Pro, iMac, or MacBook Pro:
    • MacPro3,1 *
    • MacPro4,1 *
    • MacPro5,1 *
    • iMac7,1 +
    • iMac8,1 +
    • iMac9,1 +
    • iMac10,x +
    • iMac11,x (starting with OCLP 0.2.5 systems with AMD Radeon HD 5xxx and 6xxx series GPUs will be supported under Big Sur as well. Radeon HD 4xxx series GPU has graphics acceleration with Big Sur!) *
    • iMac12,x (starting with OCLP 0.2.5 systems with AMD Radeon HD 5xxx and 6xxx series GPUs will be supported under Big Sur as well. Radeon HD 4xxx series GPU has graphics acceleration with Big Sur!) *
    • MacBookPro4,1 +
    • MacBookPro5,x +
    • MacBookPro6,x +
    • MacBookPro7,x +
    • MacBookPro8,x +
  • Late-2008 or newer MacBook Air or Aluminum Unibody MacBook:
    • MacBookAir2,1 +
    • MacBookAir3,x +
    • MacBookAir4,x +
    • MacBook5,1 +
  • Early-2009 or newer Mac Mini or white MacBook:
    • Macmini3,1 +
    • Macmini4,1 +
    • Macmini5,x (starting with OCLP 0.2.5 systems with AMD Radeon HD 6xxx series GPUs will be supported under Big Sur as well.) +
    • MacBook5,2 +
    • MacBook6,1 +
    • MacBook7,1 +
  • Early-2008 or newer Xserve:
    • Xserve2,1 *
    • Xserve3,1 *

  • 2006-2007 Mac Pros, iMacs, MacBook Pros, and Mac Minis:
    • MacPro1,1
    • MacPro2,1
    • iMac4,1
    • iMac5,x
    • iMac6,1
    • MacBookPro1,1
    • MacBookPro2,1
    • MacBookPro3,1
    • Macmini1,1
    • Macmini2,1
  • — The 2007 iMac 7,1 is compatible with Catalina and potentially Big Sur if the CPU is upgraded to a Penryn-based Core 2 Duo, such as a T9300.

  • 2006-2008 MacBooks:
    • MacBook1,1
    • MacBook2,1
    • MacBook3,1
    • MacBook4,1 (as with Mojave and Catalina, we'll be on our own here, but Big Sur will be running on this machine!)
  • 2008 MacBook Air (MacBookAir 1,1)
  • All PowerPC-based Macs
  • All 68k-based Macs

After a long journey @ASentientBot was able to add graphics acceleration back to some systems without a metal GPU. A complete list of the current public beta phase has been created within this particular OpenCore Legacy Patcher documentation.

The current consensus is to install Big Sur on systems offering a Metal capable GPU. These cards offer graphics acceleration and more importantly (probably) full application support. Big Sur will be almost unusable without graphics acceleration.

You can install a Metal GPU in Mac Pro systems and some iMac Late 2009 to Mid 2011 systems.

You can install Big Sur on such systems, but it is not possible to get graphics acceleration when running Big Sur on a system with:

Pre-Metal AMD video cards: Radeon HD 6xxx, 5xxx series (support has been added to OCLP)
Pre-Metal Intel video cards: 3rd and 4th Gen are unsupported (GMA series)

Big Sur will be almost unusable without graphics acceleration.

This is a short list of users and theirs systems running Big Sur with some of the patcher options listed below. It is not complete, does not represent a ranking, is just meant to answer the "is my system supported" question. The OLCP support list can be found here.

I gathered this list from the signatures the particular users added to their account here, just searching through the last 10 pages of posts.

If you want to see a longer list please just add a signature to your own account showing the data I need to fill the columns here in the table.

@woefiMacBookPro9,2BCM94331CAX11.2.2OCLP 0.0.13
@buckrockMacBookPro10,1BCM94360CSAX11.2.2@Barry K. Nathan yp 0.5.1
@whgmkellerMacBookPro9,211.2.2OCLP 0.0.11
@vincenzo79MacBookPro10,111.2.1?
@contacosMacBookPro10,111.2.1Patched Sur
@il-rollinoMacBookPro10,1BCM94360CSAX11.2.2@Barry K. Nathan yp 0.5.1
@BmjuMacBookPro10,1BCM94360CSAX11.2.1OC 0.6.7
@adam25255MacBookPro9,211.3 beta 1@Ausdauersportler yp 0.5.5
@MacdctrMacPro5,111.2.1,OC 0.6.6
@Pri-estMacPro4,111.2.2/11.3 beta 2OCLP 0.0.9
@Pri-estMacPro3,111.2.2/11.3 beta 2OCLP 0.0.9
@alphascorpMacPro5,1RX580, BCM94360CD11.6.2OCLP 0.3.0
@RogueBMacBookPro5,211.3 beta3@jackluke (BigSurFixes)
@hvdsMacBookPro5,211.3.1/11.4 beta 1@jackluke (BigSurFixes) and OCLP 0.1.4
@air.manMacBookPro5,111.2@jackluke (BigSurFixes)
@air.manMacBookPro8,211.2.1@Barry K. Nathan yp 0.4.4
@webg3MacBookAir5,111.2.2OCLP ?
@AusdauersportlerMacBookAir5,111.2.2OCLP 0.0.9
@clarosiMac14,211.2.2@Barry K. Nathan yp 0.5.1
@iMac-OldschooliMac13,111.2@Barry K. Nathan yp 0.5.1
@TockmaniMac13,211.5 b2OCLP 0.1.2
@n0rt0nthecatiMac14,211.2.2@Barry K. Nathan yp 0.5.1
@Will350iMac14,211.3 beta3@Barry K. Nathan yp 0.5.1
@RogueBiMac 13,211.3 beta3@Barry K. Nathan yp 0.5.1
@Ben NaamboiMac12,1K610M11.1@Barry K. Nathan yp 0.5.1
@AusdauersportleriMac11,1WX4150, BCM943602CDP11.6.1OCLP 0.3.0
@AusdauersportleriMac11,3RX480, BCM943602CDP11.6.1OCLP 0.3.0
@AusdauersportleriMac12,2WX4170, BCM943602CDP11.6.1OCLP 0.3.0
@StephN999iMac12,1WX415011.3 beta 2OCLP 0.0.22 and @Ausdauersportler yp dev-0.5.5
@johnrakiMac12,1GTX765M11.2.2@Ausdauersportler yp 0.5.4

Glossary:
yp micropatcher
OC OpenCore
OCLP OpenCore Legacy Patcher
GTX765M, K610M, RX480, RX580, WX4150, WX4170: GPU types
BCM943602CDP, BCM94360CD, BCM94360CSAX: BT 4.0/4.2 and WiFi combo cards
---

FAQ:

Q: What does unsupported mean for my old Mac?
A:
Three problems: Apple locks you out from running the stock installer of Big Sur and as important to mention, you cannot get OTA upgrades via Softwareupdate in the Systems Preference. Third problem: software functionality may have been stripped from the new macOS. To make your old system working again it needs searching, finding and reinstallation of these stripped parts. Non-metal graphics card support is missing, just as an example.

Q: I see that my (2011 or earlier) unsupported Mac does not have "graphics acceleration" under Big Sur. How much performance loss does this cause?
A:
For example, minimizing a Safari window takes well under a second on a 2012 MacBook Pro with accelerated graphics, versus 14 seconds on an Early 2011 13" MacBook Pro (2.3GHz Intel Core i5) or 25 seconds on a Late 2009 MacBook (2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo). During these multi-second delays, the entire user interface can freeze up. So when one app causes a graphics processing delay, it can occupy the entire computer and prevent switching to another app. Video playback is still generally fluid on 2011 Macs with 2nd generation Intel Core processors, but videos are almost slide shows if you have a Core 2 Duo. Overall, a small number of users of these Macs may have a serious need for Big Sur and may be able to endure the slowdowns, but most users will find unaccelerated graphics performance to be simply unacceptable.

Q: When will my unsupported Mac receive macOS 11.0 Big Sur?
A:
This is a community-driven effort to try and restore support for various unsupported Macs. Community members are working as hard as they can, often in their spare time, to try and add back stable support for these Macs. Based upon changes in macOS Big Sur, it may be possible some Macs that were previously patchable in Mojave, Catalina, and other previous releases of macOS may not be patchable under Big Sur. Please do not harass the patch developers to go faster, release the patcher, etc. Please do not clog up the thread with useless posts asking if your specific Mac will be patchable. Rest assured, the dedicated community of developers are working on these patches and doing everything that they can to re-add support for as many Macs as possible.

A: Check the table containing current download links. Please do not assume that all links will be all valid in the future! Apple may pull these downloads from their servers.

ReleaseVersionDownload Linkcomment
11.0.120B2029expired downloadinitial release
11.0.120B2050expired downloadminor fixes
11.120C69expired downloadupdate 1
11.220D64expired downloadupdate 2
11.2.120D75expired downloadupdate 2.1
11.2.220D81expired downloadupdate 2.2
11.2.320D91download from mirrorupdate 2.3
11.320E232expired downloadupdate 3
11.3.120E241expired downloadupdate 3.1
11.420F71expired downloadupdate 4
11.520G71expired downloadupdate 5
11.5.120G80expired downloadupdate 5.1
11.5.220G95expired downloadupdate 5.2
11.620G165download hereupdate 6 (security update!)
11.6.120G224download hereupdate 6.1
11.6.220G314download hereUpdate 6.2

To get the latest installer, use this tool. Create the USB installer following this guide.

Q: How to create a USB installer after downloading the InstallAssistant package??
A:
Install the package, it creates an app named Install macOS Big Sur in your applications folder. Create the USB installer following this official Apple guide.

Q: How to prepare my installation disk before installation??
A:
Of course, you will need to do the normal prudent things like backup your disk. You'll probably want to erase and reformat your entire internal SSD. Big Sur doesn't like to share space with Catalina. Do some reading up on the new, APFS format and how Big Sur sets up snapshots, uses SIP, and uses containers rather than partitions: Eclectic LC article on boot volume layout is a great start.

Q: Where/how can I download a patcher tool?
A:
Currently we have here more than a single known option. Historically no former patcher was able to enable the normal Apple Software Update on unsupported systems. With the interception of Acidanthera's OpenCore on Macs this has changed dramatically. The first and most important tool is OpenCore Legacy Patcher. It uses OpenCore and lets your system look like a supported one and you can use the common Apple system tools to install and update, have SIP enabled, use File Vault, have WPA Wireless support and more.
  1. OpenCore Legacy Patcher by @khronokernel and @dhinakg is a completely different approach based on OpenCore. Detailed information is available from his announcement on this thread and their guide. This is currently the only option offering system updates via Apple software update like all supported Macs as well as Legacy Graphics Acceleration. While the preparation uses a simple GUI the Big Sur installation and updating happens in the same way as on supported systems via System Preferences.
    • Supports macOS 10.9, Mavericks and later to run.
      • Supports macOS 10.7, Lion and later if Python3 is installed manually.
    • For easy troubleshooting and discussion with developers, we recommend joining the OpenCore Patcher Paradise Discord.
There are other solutions sometimes using partly the same OpenCore or the older well-known patching methodologies and we have them listed here just to be complete. We would recommend that every user of those tools checks if you can move over to OpenCore Legacy Patcher.

  1. micropatcher by @Barry K. Nathan was the first tool supporting a longer list of hardware. Installation needs some preparations and following the instructions step by step. Using this patcher you can also easily add your own extensions after patching following this doc. Please study the docs before you press the download button!
    • Development is on indefinite hold as of November 17th, 2020, see option 1: OpenCore Legacy Patcher.
  2. bigmac by StarPlayrX is another patcher worth considering if you have a Mac Pro.
    • Development is on temporary hold as of April 11th, 2021.
  3. BigSurFixes by @jackluke is the next option. This patcher allows booting of the Big Sur (Beta) installer on a wider range of older systems without graphics acceleration.
  4. iMac micropatcher by @Ausdauersportler is a forked variant of the 0.5.1 release of the @Barry K. Nathan micropatcher you will find here all necessary extensions needed to install and run Big Sur on the iMac Late 2009 to Mid 2011 modded with a Metal GPU as described in this thread. This patcher is an enhancement of the original including the @jackluke Night Shift patch and can be used as a fully replacement and it is still under development (dev-v0.5.5). There is an OpenCore add-on available to offer software upgrades (hybrid solution). Basically, this comes close to the OCLP approach and for that reason development has been stopped.
    • Further development progress is available through the OpenCore Legacy Patcher.
  5. Patched Sur by @BenSova is a really nice polished GUI patching option. The GUI makes it more comfortable to follow the process.
    • Supports macOS 10.15, Catalina and later and so can only be used to update starting from Catalina!
    • Development is on hold as of Oct 9th, 2021.
  6. MicropatcherAutomator by MinhTonand @moosethegoose2213 is another frontend using the micropatcher backend. The GUI makes it more comfortable to create the USB installer and follow the installation and patch process.
    • Supports macOS 10.11, El Capitan and later to create a bootable installer - so it closes a gap for users starting with systems having older macOS versions currently installed.
  7. OpenCore on the Mac Pro by @cdf is a detailed thread explaining the process of installing OpenCore onto MacPro5,1's teaching users how to maintain their own configurations. For more tech-savvy users, this is a great way to learn the legacy patching process.
    • For users less confident in configuring their own OpenCore setup, OpenCore Legacy Patcher is available to automate this process.

Please remember it is highly suggested that you have a backup in place before installing new system software on your main devices, overwriting any stable releases.

Please remember it is highly suggested that you have a backup of your Macs firmware. You can use @dosdude1 (legacy) software called romtool (password of the software archive is rom) to save and store it externally. Getting a corrupted firmware can cause serious headaches.

Unsupported software can cause irreparable hardware damage or irrecoverable data loss and should be used at one's own risk.

Q: Where/how can I upgrade the Big Sur installation with upcoming releases?
A: Normally unsupported implies, that Apple locks out these Macs from the normal initial installation process as well as from the normal upgrade process. Currently only the option 1 (OpenCore Legacy Patcher) offers the possibility to use the (normal) Apple upgrade process (called OTA upgrades). Option 6 (Patched Sur) has a macOS updater inside its post-install app, and while it still requires the 12 GB InstallAssistant.pkg, it does not require a USB to upgrade. With all other versions, you have to go through the initial process, again. Download the recent InstallAssistant.pkg from Apple, create a USB installer, follow the instructions provided by the various patcher options.

Q: Where/how can I download the @dosdude1 Big Sur patcher tool?
A:
@dosdude1 commented recently directly on this topic. There will be no such patcher for Big Sur available. Please do not clutter the thread asking for it again and again.

Q: After a PRAM reset I get a prohibited symbol and cannot boot back into Big Sur - what to do now?
A:
Depending on your patcher you need to reboot into the EFI partition of your USB installer once to set the boot-args properly (all micropatcher based options above except #2 and #4). Option 1: OpenCore Legacy Patcher users need to boot OpenCore before booting into Big Sur!

Q: After the installation of Big Sur some unknown volumes appear on my desktop. Why does this happen ?
A:
Compared to Catalina a lot of changes came up. You can find an interesting article linked in here. Do not try to delete the volumes or snapshots listed in the disk utility!

Q: Using the patchers listed above I have issues! How to post my problems?
A:
Please first add a signature to your account describing your hardware setup. It will be added automatically to each of your posts. Please describe what you did and what you experienced. Add screen shots of your Mac using
Hold CMD+Shift+3 for whole screen capture of CMD+Shift+4 for capturing selection. Do not post blurred photos. Be specific and be precise, be sharp!

Q: Why did Apple drop support for my perfectly capable Mac?
A:
Only Apple can give a definite answer to this. However, there is evidence that it is based upon the CPUs being used in the now-unsupported Macs, which was the case last year with the Mac Pro 4,1/5,1. Intel decided to stop releasing firmware security fixes for Ivy Bridge and previous-generation CPUs. While they are technically compatible and supported in Big Sur, Apple has decided it is not worth the risk to continue supporting CPUs that have permanently unpatched security holes, putting users at risk. Also, terrible Fusion Drive performance under Big Sur on Late 2013 iMacs may be the reason Apple dropped support for that model.

While this is also not confirmed, another possibility could be that some of the excluded Macs feature WiFi chips that are no longer deemed fit for the next major release. This decision could be based on the previously mentioned security issues as well. The presence of graphics drivers for some of these newly unsupported Macs in Big Sur Beta 1 suggests this.

Q: So will my now unsupported Mac get macOS 11.x Big Sur?
A:
If your Mac had official support in macOS Catalina, it will be able to be patched to run Big Sur with minimal issues.
If your Mac was unsupported before the release of macOS Catalina, support remains to be seen as graphics acceleration may not be feasible (as before with Mojave and Catalina) at this time. (OpenGL is deprecated but actually still supported for now in Big Sur, as mentioned in Apple's own developer documentation. However, there are other reasons why providing non-Metal graphics acceleration on Big Sur is proving to be very difficult.)


For legal purposes, the only official way to obtain a copy of macOS Big Sur at this time is to register with the Apple Developer program ($99/year) or, for the public beta, the Apple Beta Software Program (free). Please remember it is highly suggested that you do not install beta software on your main devices, overwriting any stable releases. Beta software can cause irreparable hardware damage or irrecoverable data loss and should be used at one's own risk.

Apple and all patch developers are not responsible for any potential damage or data loss caused by using pre-release software or unofficial support patches. Please use at your own risk.
 
Last edited:

19SK91

macrumors 6502
Aug 4, 2014
338
641
Really hoping my 2012 Unibody MBP is supported but that's unlikely. Guess I'll join the unsupported club!

Unfortunately not, my iMac isn't supported either.

These are supported Macs:

MacBook
2015 and later

MacBook Air
2013 and later

MacBook Pro
Late 2013 and later

Mac mini
2014 and later

iMac
2014 and later

iMac Pro
2017 and later
(all models)

Mac Pro
2013 and later
 

0403979

Cancelled
Jun 11, 2018
1,402
1,734
Supported Macs
1592852243303.png
 

Macbugsur

macrumors newbie
Jun 22, 2020
1
1
This thread will be used to discuss advancements in getting macOS 11 Big Sur running on unsupported Macs.
Hi There (dosd
This thread will be used to discuss advancements in getting macOS 11 Big Sur running on unsupported Macs.
hi there (Dosdude1) please remove the code screen with 5 second countdown at boot on apfs volume on unsupported mac please give me ways to remove it
 

0403979

Cancelled
Jun 11, 2018
1,402
1,734
Do "iPad Air 2" and "mini 4" get iPadOS 14 ?

But reading that list I doubt, even if 2012 Mac having a Metal GPU should get with few efforts "Big Sur", I guess.
Yes they do. iOS 14 will support the iPhone 6s and later. iPadOS 14 will support the iPad Air 2 and later, all iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation and later, and iPad mini 4 and later. You should join our Discord, we discussed WWDC live and it's a quick way to distribute info to a lot of users!
 

TheSkywalker77

macrumors 68030
Sep 9, 2017
2,855
2,679
Unfortunately not, my iMac isn't supported either.

These are supported Macs:

MacBook
2015 and later

MacBook Air
2013 and later

MacBook Pro
Late 2013 and later

Mac mini
2014 and later

iMac
2014 and later

iMac Pro
2017 and later
(all models)

Mac Pro
2013 and later
Damn, oh well. This will be an adventure!
 
  • Like
Reactions: TimothyR734

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,800
7,818
Unfortunately not, my iMac isn't supported either.

These are supported Macs:

MacBook
2015 and later

MacBook Air
2013 and later

MacBook Pro
Late 2013 and later

Mac mini
2014 and later

iMac
2014 and later

iMac Pro
2017 and later
(all models)

Mac Pro
2013 and later
Ugh. Dropping the 2012 Mac mini and leaving the 2014. That just seems cruel.

MacOS support is completely arbitrary at this point. I miss when there was some kind of reason to justify dropping the older models.
 
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