What is Hackintosh – Everything You Need to Know [Complete Guide]
What is a Hackintosh?
For the purpose of understanding, here’s an easy explanation:
Hackintosh is your standard laptop or desktop PC which was designed to work with either a Windows or a Linux operating system. Until one day you decided to hack it before enabling it to run a Mackintosh operating system, with the resulting system known as Hackintosh. Put simply, Hackintosh is any non-Apple hardware which can install and run macOS on it.
Where did the name come from?
The term owes its origin to the fact that in order to build a Hackintosh, you need to hackinto the Mac software before you can tweak it to run on non-mac hardware. Though the software isn’t the only thing which might require tweaking, as the hardware needs some interfering from your side as well.
How the idea of Hackintosh came into being?
Until 2006, it was impossible to build a Hackintosh. While the likes of Apple used PowerPC processors on their Macintosh computers, Windows relied on Intel and AMD chipsets. As a result, with both these operating systems being virtually incompatible, you couldn’t run one on the other.
Cue Steve Jobs, and one of his brilliant ideas.
With a view to cut losses and increase profits, Mr. Jobs announced that Apple’s Macintosh computers would from now on contain Intel-based chipsets. That decision resulted in the company making MacBook Pro and iMac in January 2006, the first Apple machines containing Intel chipsets.
Unfortunately, it was still impossible to build a Hackintosh.
While Apple did provide dual boot Windows and OS X support – which means you could use an Apple hardware to run Windows – it didn’t allow any other hardware to support the installation of Apple’s OS X. So you still weren’t able to run Apple’s operating system on any other hardware.
OSx86 is a hacking project with the aim of running OS X on non-Apple hardware. Early on, the project met with little success. Apart from running into a sea of incompatibilities and bugs, only a few GPUs actually had the power which this project required.
Still, while the project didn’t reach its destination, it showed people the way. Scores of communities appeared on the internet with the goal of building a Hackintosh. These tech-enthusiasts then made available step-by-step guides using which you can run easily macOS on your PC.
Thanks to their efforts, building a Hackintosh today is much easier than it used to be. Provided you have a good quality PC, some knowledge of computer and a free afternoon at your disposal, you can build your own Hackintosh in no time.
Why Should One Build a Hackintosh?
In contrast to what a layman might believe, a Hackintosh comes with many benefits which go over and above those provided by its equivalent Apple Macbooks.
Have doubts? Then check out these five reasons why people are turning to Hackintosh:
It lets you control the spec
What are the single most important reasons why anybody would want to build their own computer? That’s right; you can control all its specs. The same reason encourages Hackintosh enthusiasts to spend their time and money in its pursuit.
For instance, whether you want to change its display size or tinker with the internal graphics cards, a Hackintosh would be happy to let you do it. Video card too slow? A Hackintosh allows you to buy a new one from Amazon before installing it that very day.
It is cheaper to repair a Hackintosh
Ask the users of Mac computers, and they’d tell you how much money the company charges to repair its products. Also, with only the bigger cities having Apple stores, people living in the countryside have to travel long distances to get their MacBooks repaired.
A Hackintosh, on the other hand, lets you not only remove the broken part but also gives you the freedom to repair it yourself. No need whatsoever to bring the part to an Apple-authorized repair shop. The parts which need replacement can be easily found at Newegg and Amazon.
You can get rid of Apple’s slow update cycle
Provided you aren’t living in a cave, you might have heard of a recent scandal in which Apple admitted that it was deliberately slowing down its previous models with updates. Even if that isn’t the case with your device, you can hardly feel happy at the lackluster pace at which Apple sends updates.
What if, on the back of these state of affairs, you can get a high-powered Mac machine which would require no updates whatsoever? As we have mentioned earlier, you get that ability with a Hackintosh which gives you an unlimited choice of components and features.
That means that for as long as you want, you can run your Mac device at top speed without worrying about any new update which might slow down your device.
Say goodbye to Apple’s design sensibility
In a news published years ago, a credible news outlet called out Apple for what it called its design sensibility, which is the restriction it poses over its users by not allowing them to customize their device. While the news made little impact, the problem it highlighted remained.
Fortunately, a Hackintosh is alien to Apple’s sensitivity problems, with the result that you can customize it to look exactly the way you want it to. Install any app, run any game or download any media player (within reason, of course), and there won’t be any prompt telling you that you cannot download the stuff you love.
You can build a for-purpose machine
Want your macOS to run on your small media center? Looking to integrate it into your smart home system? Desirous of seeing it working in your car? Provided you’re a little on the techy side, a Hackintosh will allow you to do all this and much more.
Put simply, if you want a MacOS which gives you the flexibility which Windows users currently enjoy, a Hackintosh will give you plenty of options to get just that.
Is Hackintosh Illegal?
The answer to this question will depend on who you ask. As far as Apple is concerned, since you’re violating their EULA by installing a Mac software on non-Mac hardware, you’re in violation of Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA).
That is the official point of view, though an altogether different view is offered by the community of Hackintosh enthusiasts. They claim that since you “own” the software after having purchased it in the first place, you’re free to do whatever you want to do with it.
While you might see the latter view with skepticism, the fact that Apple hasn’t gone after people who are building Hackintosh lends credence to this viewpoint. After all, Apple has a history of dismantling everything and anything that threatened its business. Why, then, the company is tolerating Hackintosh?
Since Apple won’t answer this question, the legal status of Hackintosh remains in a gray area.
What You Need To Build Hackintosh
Agree with the view of enthusiasts that it is okay to build a Hackintosh at home? Then you might need to get the following equipment:
A Hackintosh Ready PC/Laptop
The first thing you need for sure to convert your PC into a Hackintosh is that it must at least have an i3 processor or above. Otherwise, if the processor is core 2duo or something like that, your dream of building a Hackintosh might remain a dream.
Compatible Graphics Card
As long as you don’t have a compatible graphics card, you’ll remain stuck in the Hackintosh installation process. Therefore, before you embark on your mission, get a VGA/graphics card which is compatible with your laptop’s Hackintosh requirements.
Ask experts, and they’ll tell you that to install macOS on your PC, you need to have a Hackintosh bootable USB. Hence the reason why you need the macOS Installer App. Available on the internet, this app lets you make a Hackintosh bootable USB whether you’re a Windows or a real Mac user.
Do you have prior experience of building a Hackintosh? If so, did you run into any problems while building the machine? How much money did you save by preferring a Hackintosh over its equivalent real Mac? You can share your experience with other Hackintosh enthusiasts using the below-given comments section.