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Developers help older Macs do something Apple won’t allow

They said your Mac was too old for the latest and greatest Mac OS upgrade. They told you to buy a new Mac instead. Apple can be a harsh companion. But I’m here to tell you there is another way, the way of MacOS Ventura on older Macs.

The team of developers behind the OpenCore Legacy Patcher, a free software tool that allows unsupported Macs to run Big Sur and Monterey, is working on bringing Ventura into the fold. No longer can Big Apple tell you what you do with your Mac.

Stage manager in macOS Ventura.

“After many months of work, we’ve finally gotten macOS Ventura running on legacy Metal GPUs!” Mykola Grymalyuk, one of the engineers behind the OCLP tool, said in a tweet on Monday. “This includes my early 2008 Mac Pro, 2012 Mac Mini, 2014 Mac Mini, and 2014 5K iMac!”

Porting macOS Ventura to OCLP for older Macs hasn’t been easy, the engineers told Ars Technica. Those older machines run Intel processors with x86 architecture, while Apple silicone uses ARM chipsets. Plus, Apple has significantly changed the Metal rendering stack in the intervening years to the point where new macOS releases are practically an alien language to older Macs.

After many months of work, we’ve finally gotten macOS Ventura running on legacy Metal GPUs!

This includes my early 2008 Mac Pro (Nvidia Kepler and AMD GCN 1), 2012 Mac mini, 2014 Mac mini and 2014 5k iMac!

— Mykola Grymalyuk (@khronokernel) August 22, 2022

But what is a software engineer if not an explorer of the possible? The team behind OCLP showed no cowardice in tackling the problem and through some kind of wizardry, they managed to get Ventura running on old x86 Macs. Quite frankly, some of these Macs should be in a museum and not sitting on desks out in public, pretending to still be useful, but that is only my own grumpy opinion.

Still, I can see why people who refuse to part with a 2012 MacBook Air, complete with bezels larger than my hand, would want to run macOS Ventura. The new operating system brings some amazing new features, such as Stage Manager, an actually useful Mail app, some killer Spotlight features, and the wonders of Continuity Camera, to name a few.

Apple said macOS Ventura will not run on iMacs from before 2017, MacBooks from before 2018, and Mac Minis made before 2018. But the OCLP developers said “Hogwash! We shall bring Stage Manager to the masses who insist on still using ancient computers!” And this they have done.

You can download OpenCore Legacy Patcher from GitHub here.

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Nathan Drescher
Nathan Drescher is a freelance journalist and writer from Ottawa, Canada. He's been writing about technology from around the…
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