Snow Leopard on MBA 2011 fully working

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by jonny33, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. jonny33, Apr 1, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012

    jonny33 macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2012
    Hi, since I bought my new MBA 2011 I was in searching how to install SL on it cause I don't like Lion at all. I finally maanaged to install it fully working and since there are a lot of people here who wants to do that here what you'll need

    1. MBA 2011
    2. Snow Leopard Retail DVD
    3. USB flash 8GB or more
    4. external display (and the cable to connect it to MBA obviously)
    5. Another USB or SD card

    So first you have to make it the usb drive an install disc. Here's how (follow the instructions made by sup3r1or

    then you have to download the attached file to your second usb flash/sd card

    then insert the usb in your MBA restart and while booting hold down the option key which will ask you from which disk to boot. You have to choose your flash drive (the USB one). Then you have to format your Lion partition (and all the data on it so make a Backup first). Once done you can freshly install Snow Leopard. After installation you will probably get stucked on the startup screen. Don't worry it's just a missing driver. Then Connect your mac to the external Display and you'll see the new freshly installed Snow leopard. From here you can make the system update to 10.6.8 and then insert the drive with the attached file (which is a kext) into the air and install it, repair permissions reboot, aaand you're good to go with Brand new snow leopard installed

    Attached Files:

  2. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    This works? It's stable and everything?

    Where did you get that kext?

    I'm diying to try this... but final exams are right around the corner and I cannot risk a borken computer at this time. I'll definitely try this after finals though...
  3. jonny33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2012
    It is stable and everything yes, it's because basicly the hardware configuration of the MBA is like the one of the MBP 2010 I mean the processors are the same and MBP runs on SL and the only thing that is different is the Graphics and the kext is taken from here
  4. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    Awesome! Now the question of the year: is it actually better / faster than Lion on a 2011 MBA?
  5. mac26 macrumors 6502

    Dec 27, 2011
    Out of curiosity would Thunderbolt also work?
  6. jonny33, Apr 1, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012

    jonny33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2012
    for is it better I can't say because I don't mesure the time at boot up and stuff but it actually consumes less battery, and for the thunderbolt it works as display port but as actual thunderbolt I can't say cause I don't have any adapters

    Update: I found this so I think that it should probably work
  7. njean777 macrumors 6502

    Oct 17, 2009
    pretty neat, luckily I can always downgrade to snow leopard if I want.
  8. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    Makes me feel good about sticking with SL on my 2010. It just works!
  9. Yggbert macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2011
    I really don't understand the hate for Lion. What's going on?

    It hasn't crashed once for me, not once. I've been using it since release and it has been perfect, that goes for my 13" 2011 Air and my old white 2010 MacBook.

    Just perfect the entire time. There's a lot of disgruntled people giving it one stars on the App Store, not quite able to relate to them.
  10. mac26 macrumors 6502

    Dec 27, 2011
    I'd advise not to downgrade to SL because then your going to have to update back to Lion and the ML if you want ML, every one should just hold out for 4-6 months and then have a party when ML comes and Apple amazes us with record sales and adoption :cool:
  11. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    No so much a hate for Lion, more of a 'it's ain't broke so don't fix it'
  12. robeddie Suspended


    Jul 21, 2003
    Umm, just the kind of blind enthusiasm I heard about Lion before it's release.
    The course Apple is taking is clear: MacOS will soon be just like iOS.
    For those of us who don't like that direction ... there are few options.

    Thanks Jonny33 for letting us know there IS an option!
  13. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    I was just wondering if anyone besides jonny33 has tried this? Any hickups or issues?

    I plan to do this in 2 weeks when final exams are done, and was wondering what I should look forward to.

    When I do it, I will record before and after videos of bootup times, wake-up times, and any other metrics I can think of.

    jonny33 - I am assume you have been running SL on your 13" MBA for the past month? Is that true? If so, do you have the i5 or i7? How has it been?
  14. jonny33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2012
    For me it's working woth no problems on core i5 the battery life is just amazing a have 1 hour + compared to Lion and it works like a charm :):)
  15. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    I tried this today, ran into an issue booting the SL installer.

    1. What version of SL did you use? The highest retail version I can find is 10.6.3, which seems to be not be able to boot on this machine.
    2. Did you install the kext first, or update to 10.6.8 first? Does this matter?
  16. Kauai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2010
    When it comes to things like operating systems; that's just plain stupid.

    We should have stuck with Windows CE and Mac OS, then.
  17. jonny33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2012
    I think I use 10.6.3 too and I install the update first, I don't know if it matters or not

    P.S Try booting with hold down C key that will force the system to boot from the drive
  18. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    When I try a retail 10.6.3, it hangs on the apple logo forever.

    Holding down C is for booting from an optical drive. I hold down option and select the USB thumbdrive to boot from that, it selects and begins fine, just never finishes.

    I tried a version of 10.6.7 that I think was from a macbook pro, and it begins to boot with the apple logo and the spinning wheel under it, and then turns into a prohibitory sign and hangs.

    Any thoughts?
  19. jonny33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2012
    Try pluging the display from the very beginning and again with 10.6.3 maybe just the display is got stuck
  20. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    somewhat a success. i have SL up and running, with the native display. however, there are a few shortcomings.
    1. no dual display support. if i boot with the external display connected, it will use only that. if i boot without it connected, it will use the laptop display. it can't use both, and it doesn't seem to recognize it's own display that well.
    2. no trackpad support. in preferences, it says no trackpad found. no two-finger click or scrolling, none of that.
    3. none of the top-row keys on the keyboard do what they're supposed to do.

    am i missing something? jonny33, did you have the same issues?
  21. macbook pro i5 macrumors 65816

    macbook pro i5

    May 13, 2011
    New Zealand
    I,on my early 2011 MacBook Pro I have had 4 kernal panics in ONE day so I decided to downgrade,Sorry my bad upgrade to SL a week ago and could not be happier:)
  22. thestickman, Apr 30, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012

    thestickman macrumors regular

    Nov 21, 2010
    Jacksonville, FL
    Bare with me here. I read the readme that comes with the drivers and I don't know what S/L/E is. Could you elaborate, please?

    This is looking very promising as wife and I spend much time outside where I do various tasks on the MBA including streaming video. Peace :)

    EDIT: Figured out it was System/Library/Extensions

    Downside is, my 2011 MBA won't boot with the Snow Leopard USB which was made from retail Snow Leopard CD.<sigh>
  23. jonny33, May 1, 2012
    Last edited: May 1, 2012

    jonny33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2012
    1. for the display, yes I have this but it's not much of an issue for me cause I use only my laptop display (did you try the thunderbolt update that I gave to see if it will solve this)
    And what do you mean by "it doesn't seem to recognize it's own display that well." I can't understand
    2.For the trackpad, after update works fine for me, but you can try this I know it's for pro but the trackpad's are the same, right?
    3. For these keys it's normal because the 2010 models (mba,mbp etc) come with slightly different arrangement of that keys and that's why you don't have the same thing that is on the specified key but actually you can rearrange the buttons to do what you want as they are all the same size

    Here how it is on the MBA 2010

    Hope this helps
  24. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    I restored back to Lion last night (thank you CCC) but I will try this again, with your advice. Unfortunately I forgot about the thunderbolt update, and I will try the trackpad update.

    For installing SL, 10.6.3 retail never worked for me. I ended up finding a restore disk for a Early 2011 13" MBP with 10.6.7 on it. It wouldn't boot when I used Disk Utility to restore the imagine to my flash drive, but when using CCC it booted just fine, but then presented that this was not a supported computer.

    The workaround for that problem I found here:
    Basically, this works for turning any locked restore disk into one that will work on any computer. Follow these steps:
    1. Use CCC to clone the disk imagine to the flash drive.
    2. Make sure the drive is named "Mac OS X Install DVD"
    3. Run the following terminal commands (not the ones that start with #):
    #expand OSINstall.mpkg
    /usr/sbin/pkgutil --expand /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Install\ DVD/System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.mpkg /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Install\ DVD/System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.expanded
    #modify Distribution script in place with no backup
    /usr/bin/sed -i '' "s/modelProp\ \=\=\ hwbeSupportedMachines\[i\]/1/g" /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Install\ DVD/System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.expanded/Distribution
    #modify Distribution script in place with backup (for sissies)
    #/usr/bin/sed -i '.original' "s/modelProp\ \=\=\ hwbeSupportedMachines\[i\]/1/g" /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Install\ DVD/System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.expanded/Distribution
    #remove original OSInstall.mpkg package
    /bin/rm -rf /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Install\ DVD/System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.mpkg
    #flatten new package
    /usr/sbin/pkgutil --flatten /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Install\ DVD/System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.expanded /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Install\ DVD/System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.mpkg
    #remove expanded folder 
    /bin/rm -rf /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Install\ DVD/System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.expanded
    This creates a SL installer that will boot on any machine, like the retail, but can be made from a version that shipped later than 10.6.3.
  25. AL-Baby macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2012
    Snow leopard running faster on a 2011 MBA and easier install method

    Snow leopard is operating on a 2011 MBA at fast speed.

    To do this by my method you need the following:
    *Another Mac that operates with SL
    *USB HD with more than 20GB-NOT SD card.
    * Copy of Carbon Copy Clone (CCC)-free down load-should give contribution when successful.

    With another Mac -format USB HD and call it something like Snow Leopard USB . Then From DVD retail -install 10.6 SL.
    Upgrade to 10.6.8.
    Now you need to upgrade this USB installation for the MBA by changing some kexts.
    There are 3 kexts to be changed -2 for the graphics (Thanks to jonny33) and 1 that I have modified so that the CPU is properly recognized (method given by the people from the Mac Mini 2011) This will allow the MBA to run at normal speeds.
    Because I have not the time or experience to use Terminal –I use Kext wizard to install kexts.
    Follow the instructions of text wizard(TW) –set the USB HD as target and drop all 3 kexts into TW and install.
    Use Disk utilities to repair permissions.

    Reject USB HD and connect to MBA

    Boot up -holding Option key -it will recognize new USB HD use arrow to boot it.
    You now should have you 2011 MBA operating from a USB HD which will slow it down a bit.
    Notice that all works well except sleep.
    If you want you can transfer it to the MBA hard disk.
    To do this you need to reboot in emergency mode –run disk utilities and select partition. Press + and use slider to size a partition and name it some like SL HD –make it greater than 20GB-apply and you will have extra partition.
    Reboot Lion and use CCC to copy the USB HD to the new SL HD partition.
    Reboot the MBA and sect Option key –select the new partition and check its operation.
    So now you have both SL and Lion and can test and compare the two
    I have checked it using Geekbench (32 bit ) it is 5906 for my MBA which is a i7 1.8MHz model. The MBA using lion was 5870 –so SL is slightly faster.

    Real problem now is the sleep-obviously a kext needs to be modified.
    For this we need some super experts to take an interest.

    Basically downgrading from Lion to SL is all about freedom of choice. For me the new MBA is a great piece of Engineering but I considered the Lion System that came with it to be junk. I love SL but hate using Lion. Its also incompatible with many of my applications I also object to the "Big Brother" culture of Apple. If I pay about $1000 for a computer I want to use what system I choose.


    Attached Files:

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