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Run macOS on QEMU/KVM. With OpenCore + Big Sur support now! Only commercial (paid) support is available now to avoid spammy issues.

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# 679
5 commits


documents the process of creating a
Virtual Hackintosh

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

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

Working with

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:

  • Documentation around running macOS on popular cloud providers (Hetzner, GCP, AWS). See the

    Is This Legal?
    section and associated references.
  • Document (share) how you use this project to build + test open-source projects / get your stuff done.

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

  • 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 VNC + SSH support out of the box or more easily.

  • Robustness improvements are always welcome!

  • (Not so) crazy idea - automate the macOS installation via OpenCV.


  • 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 (

    grep -e vmx -e svm /proc/cpuinfo
  • 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 | sudo tee /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  # for intel boxes only
  • Install QEMU and other packages.
  sudo apt-get install qemu uml-utilities virt-manager git \
      wget libguestfs-tools p7zip-full -y

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

  • Add user to the
    group (might be needed).
  sudo usermod -aG kvm $(whoami)
  • Clone this repository on your QEMU system. Files from this repository are used in the following steps.
  cd ~

git clone --depth 1 --recursive


  • Fetch macOS installer.

You can choose your desired macOS version here. After executing this step, you should have the

file in the current folder.


Big Sur
setup sit at the
Country Selection
screen, and other similar places for a while if things are being slow. The initial macOS setup wizard will eventually succeed.

Sample run:

  $ ./
  1. High Sierra (10.13)
  2. Mojave (10.14)
  3. Catalina (10.15) - RECOMMENDED
  4. Latest (Big Sur - 11)

Choose a product to download (1-4): 3

Note: Modern NVIDIA GPUs are supported on HighSierra but not on later versions.

  • Convert the downloaded
    file into the
  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
    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 process.

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

  • You are all set! 🙌

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

    • Edit
      file and change the various file paths (search for
      strings in that file). The following command should do the trick usually.
    sed "s/CHANGEME/$USER/g" macOS-libvirt-Catalina.xml > macOS.xml

    virt-xml-validate macOS.xml

    • Create a VM by running the following command.
    virsh --connect qemu:///system define macOS.xml
    • Launch
      and start the
      virtual machine.

    Note: You may need to run

    sudo ip link delete tap0
    command before
    is able to start the

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?).


I have the following commands present in

  #!/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

functionality manually on modern Ubuntu versions. Check out the notes included in this repository for details.
  • To passthrough GPUs and other devices, see these notes.

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

  • Trouble with iMessage? Check out the notes included in this repository.

  • Highly recommended macOS tweaks -

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.

Please review the 'Legality of Hackintoshing' documentation bits from Dortania's OpenCore Install Guide.

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

You may also find this 'Announcing Amazon EC2 Mac instances for macOS' article interesting.


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).


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

Personally speaking, this repository has been a way for me to 'exit' the Apple ecosystem. It has helped me to test and compare the interoperability of

CanoScan LiDE 120
scanner, and
Brother HL-2250DN
laser printer. And these devices now work decently enough on modern versions of Ubuntu (Yay for free software). Also, a long time back, I had to completely wipe my (then) brand new
MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013)
and install Xubuntu on it - as the
kernel kept crashing on it!

Backstory: I was a (poor) student in Canada in a previous life and Apple made my work on cracking Apple Keychains a lot harder than it needed to be. This is how I got interested in Hackintosh systems.

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