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Developers run macOS Ventura on unsupported Macs

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When Apple announced macOS Ventura in June at WWDC 2022, the company also revealed that multiple older Macs were officially discontinued, including the beloved “trash can” Mac Pro and the very first MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. However, a group of developers have been working on a tool that will let users run macOS Ventura on unsupported Macs.

OpenCore Legacy Patcher” (or just OCLP) is a tool that allows older Macs to run macOS Big Sur and Monterey without official support from Apple. The tool is based on the same OpenCore bootloader used for Hackintosh, which is a well-known method for running macOS on regular PCs.

The developers behind OCLP told ArsTechnica that supporting macOS Ventura won’t be easy, but that the team has already “made progress in some crucial areas,” which should allow owners of some older Macs to keep them updated for a bit longer. It’s worth noting that tools like this have been around for years, ever since the PowerPC era of Macs.

But how exactly do these tools work, and what’s the challenge with macOS Ventura? The thing is, in the past when Apple discontinued some specific Mac model with a new version of macOS, that version usually still ran on other Macs that shared the same CPU as the discontinued Mac.

For example, macOS Monterey dropped support for most Macs released between 2012 and 2014 that use third- and fourth-generation Intel CPUs. However, macOS Monterey still officially runs on the 2013 Mac Pro and 2014 Mac mini, which are also equipped with older Intel processors. This makes it easier for developers to modify the system to run on Macs no longer supported by Apple.

What changes with macOS Ventura?

As for macOS Ventura, it no longer supports any Macs with Intel CPUs older than the seventh generation, and for this reason, Apple has removed most of the drivers used by these older Macs. This includes drivers for non-Force Touch trackpads, Intel Ethernet controllers, Nvidia GPUs, and more.

The latest version of macOS, which is yet to be made available to the public, also requires CPUs with the AVX2 instruction set, as well as a new version of Metal that doesn’t work with older GPUs. Still, the OCLP developers have made some progress.

The team was able to run macOS Ventura without AVX2 instruction support thanks to old system files that are still part of the Rosetta 2 technology, which emulates features of an old CPU to run Intel apps on Apple Silicon Macs. Some older drivers have also been ported to run on macOS 13.

Progress has been made

This week, developer Mykola Grymalyuk showed macOS Ventura running on a 2008 Mac Pro, 2012 Mac mini, 2014 Mac mini, and a 2014 iMac. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but the OCLP team believes that owners of some older Macs will have the opportunity to run macOS Ventura without major compromises.

This is certainly not the ideal solution, but it’s interesting to see that people still find ways to continue using computers from a decade ago. Would you use this tool on your old Mac? Let us know in the comments below.

Keep in mind that macOS Ventura is currently available as beta software for developers. The official release is expected this fall.

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