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by kholia

kholia /OSX-KVM

Run macOS on QEMU/KVM. Only commercial support is available. With OpenCore + Big Sur support now!

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documents the

new method

to install macOS. The older


is available here.


new method

does not require an existing physical/virtual macOS installation. However, this

new method

requires internet access during the macOS installation process. This limitation may be addressed in a future commit.

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.

Looking for

Big Sur

support? See these notes.

Contributing Back

This project can always use your help, time and attention. I am looking for help (pull-requests!) with the following work items:

  • Create full installation (ISO) image without requiring an existing macOS physical/virtual installation.

  • An Ansible playbook to automate all-the-things!

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

Is This Legal?

section and associated references.



flag on QEMU + macOS Mojave on MacBook Pro.

  • Document (share) how you use this project to build + test open-source projects / get your stuff done.

  • Document how to use this project for iOS development.

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

  • Document the process to create and reuse VM snapshots. Instantaneous macOS boots would be nice this way.

  • 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 SSH support out of the box or more easily.

  • Better support + docs for AMD Ryzen.

  • Patches to unify the various scripts we have. Robustness improvements.


  • A modern Linux distribution. E.g. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS 64-bit or later.

  • QEMU > 2.11.1

  • A CPU with Intel VT-x / AMD SVM support is required

  • 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 \> /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
  • Install QEMU and other packages.
sudo apt-get install qemu uml-utilities virt-manager dmg2img git wget libguestfs-tools

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

  • Clone this repository on your QEMU system. Files from this repository are used in the following steps.
cd ~ git clone cd OSX-KVM
  • Fetch macOS installer.

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


file in the current folder.

Sample run:

$ ./ # ProductID Version Build Post Date Title 1 061-26578 10.14.5 18F2059 2019-10-14 macOS Mojave 2 061-26589 10.14.6 18G103 2019-10-14 macOS Mojave 3 041-91758 10.13.6 17G66 2019-10-19 macOS High Sierra 4 041-88800 10.14.4 18E2034 2019-10-23 macOS Mojave 5 041-90855 10.13.5 17F66a 2019-10-23 Install macOS High Sierra Beta 6 061-44345 10.15.2 19C39d 2019-11-15 macOS Catalina Beta 7 061-77704 10.15.4 19E242d 2020-02-26 macOS Catalina Beta 8 061-86291 10.15.3 19D2064 2020-03-23 macOS Catalina 9 061-96006 10.15.4 19E287 2020-04-08 macOS Catalina Choose a product to download (1-9): 9

Attention: Modern NVIDIA GPUs are supported on HighSierra but not on later versions (yet).

Next, convert this file into a usable format.

dmg2img BaseSystem.dmg BaseSystem.img

Note: You can also use the following command to do this conversion, if your QEMU version is >= 4.0.0.

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 updating to point to the new image name.
qemu-img create -f qcow2 mac\_hdd\_ng.img 128G
  • Setup quick networking by running the following commands.
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

Note: If


network interface is not present on your system, it may have been deactivated. Try enabling it by using the following commands,

virsh net-start default virsh net-autostart default
  • Now you are ready to install macOS πŸš€


  • CLI method (primary). Just run the
    script to start the installation proces.

Experimental: Use the

script to maximize fun ;)

If you are new to installing macOS, see the older README for help.

  • You are all set! πŸ™Œ

(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 -i "s/CHANGEME/$USER/g" macOS-libvirt-Catalina.xml virt-xml-validate macOS-libvirt-Catalina.xml
  • Create a VM by running the following command.
virsh --connect qemu:///system define macOS-libvirt-Catalina.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




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.

  • To get sound on your virtual Mac, see the "Virtual Sound Device" in notes.

  • To passthrough GPUs and other devices, see these notes.

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

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.

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


My aim is to enable macOS based builds + testing, kernel debugging, reversing and security tasks in an easy, reproducible manner without needing to invest in Apple's closed ecosystem (too heavily).

Backstory: I was a (poor) student in Canada once and Apple made my work on cracking Apple Keychains a lot harder than it needed to be.

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