Skip to main content

The Oculus Rift unofficially supports modern MacOS machines via a new app

macos oculus rift cindori vr desktop
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Developer Cindori released a MacOS app called VR Desktop for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. This app creates a virtual multi-monitor workspace for machines running MacOS 10.11 or higher that is viewed specifically through the Oculus Rift Development Kit v2. A version for the retail release of Facebook’s VR headset isn’t expected to arrive until later in 2017.

Costing $20, the new app enables Mac owners to strap on the Oculus Rift and view their MacOS desktop across up to three virtual displays. The catch is that the app will work on “modern” Macs that include discrete graphics chips. That is quite an amazing feat given the Oculus Rift isn’t officially supported on Mac machines.

Why? Because Macs typically don’t have the graphics chip component required to run the Rift. For example, the 21.5-inch iMac relies on Intel’s integrated graphics while the 27-inch models have an AMD Radeon R9 M300 Series component, which isn’t advertised as VR-ready. The latest MacBook Pros rely on integrated graphics as well and the expensive cylinder-shaped Mac Pro desktops sport dual AMD FirePro D-Series graphics chips, which don’t meet the Rift’s requirements either.

But it seems that Cindori is working around the current limitations. The company said it created a custom “state-of-the-art VR framework” promising a smooth experience on recent Macs with a discrete graphics chip. That rules out all models that rely solely on integrated Intel graphics.

The actual hardware requirements to run the app are unknown. However, here are the minimum and recommended specs needed to use the Oculus Rift:

Minimum Recommended
Processor: Intel Core i3-6100
AMD FX 4350
Intel Core i5-4590
Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
AMD Radeon RX 470
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
AMD Radeon RX 480
Alternative graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960
AMD Radeon R9 290
Nvidia GeForce GTX 970
AMD Radeon R9 290
Memory: 8GB 8GB
Video output: HDMI 1.3 at 297MHz HDMI 1.3 at 297MHz
USB ports: 1x USB 3.0
2x USB 2.0
3x USB 3.0
1x USB 2.0

Oculus VR placed its plans to support MacOS and Linux on hold a while ago. Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey said in March 2016 that Oculus would resume its efforts to support MacOS again when Apple releases “a good computer.” He clarified by adding that Apple may release a $6,000 Mac Pro with the top of the line AMD FirePro D700 discrete graphics chip but it still doesn’t meet the Rift’s requirements.

“It just boils down to the fact that Apple doesn’t prioritize high-end GPUs,” he said. “If they prioritize higher-end GPUs like they used to for a while back in the day, we’d love to support Mac. But right now, there’s just not a single machine out there that supports it.”

For now, it seems, VR can be enabled on modern Macs with discrete graphics through the new app. Users can play games, watch movies, work on spreadsheets, and more in a VR environment. Support for the HTC Vive headset is planned for sometime in 2017.

Editors' Recommendations

Kevin Parrish
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then…
The one thing the next version of macOS needs to address
The MacBook Pro open on a wooden table.

Every year we get a new version of macOS, and that usually comes with an assortment of tweaks and features. But with the massive uptick in interest in generative AI, 2023 isn't like any other year in the world of tech.

Apple hasn't commented on or announced anything in response to tools like ChatGPT or Midjourney, making it one of the few big tech companies that haven't dipped their toe in yet. But WWDC 2023 is just around the corner, and rather than focus on all the iterative features Apple likely has in the works, generative AI will feel like the elephant in the room if it isn't addressed in macOS 14.

Read more
Ranking the best (and worst) versions of macOS from the last 20 years
An Apple iMac from 2019 placed on a desk. The macOS Mojave operating system is on its display.

Apple’s macOS operating system is known for its stability and features, but it wasn’t always this way. Throughout the history of macOS (and OS X before it), there have been some real stinkers that Apple would probably rather we all forgot about. Yet there have also been some classic versions that still live fondly in the memories of Mac users new and old.

In this article, we’ve picked five of the best versions of Apple’s Mac operating system, as well as five of its worst, presented in chronological order. We’ve started with the launch of OS X 10.0 in 2001 and continued right up to the present, past the operating system’s rebranding as macOS in 2016. If Windows is your speed, we've also ranked the best Windows versions of all time. Let’s explore Apple’s greatest hits -- and some of its worst howlers.
Worst: OS X 10.0 Cheetah (2001)

Read more
Common macOS Ventura problems and how to fix them
A MacBook Pro M2 sits on a wooden table with a nice bokeh background.

Apple released macOS Ventura in late October of 2022 bringing several interesting features as well as a few new problems. If you're having trouble after upgrading from macOS Monterey to Ventura, here are some solutions that could help.
AirDrop isn't working

AirDrop is a fantastic feature when it works and incredibly frustrating when it doesn't. A macOS update sometimes leads to AirDrop problems. Luckily a few simple tips can usually correct the problem. The easiest solution is to open the Control Center and toggle AirDrop off and on again. You can also try switching between Contacts Only and Everyone.

Read more