To Make a Hackintosh â€“ Pros & Cons.
After Microsoft Windows, macOS is the most popular desktop operating system. You might think this is simply due to the relative popularity of Apple Macs and MacBooks that are tied to macOS, but macOS X stands out as a great modern desktop operating system.
There are many reasons to love macOS over Windows or Linux, but one of the main barriers to entry is the high cost of Apple hardware. However, since modern Macs and Windows computers use essentially the same basic hardware, it is actually possible to run macOS X on a non-Apple computer, a practice called hacking.
If you’ve heard of hacks and are wondering if learning how to do hackintoshes is worth it, here are some of the most important pros and cons to consider before going down this path.
Pro: It’s the cheapest way to get macOS
Macs are expensive, although there are many arguments to justify their cost. This means that if you want to work with macOS but can’t shell out thousands of dollars for one of Apple’s shiny computers, hacking may be the only option on the table.
This is especially true if you already have a computer that meets the hackintosh compatibility requirements.
Pro: You can beat Apple specs for a fraction of the cost
When you compare Apple computers to their Windows equivalents in terms of performance, there is often a huge gap in terms of performance per dollar. Of course, this is not the only way to compare these machines, and the high price that Apple charges for its computers also factor in aspects such as design and build quality.
However, if you take the same budget that you would spend on a Mac and apply it to create a hackintosh, the resulting computer must be in a different universe of performance.
Pro: PC Resilience
With the exception of the latest Mac Pro, modern Apple computers are not actually upgradeable. In the case of Apple computers, you usually need to make sure you order a computer with the right specs right out of the box, otherwise your only option may be to buy a new computer when you run into machine limitations.
Since hackintosh is a regular macOS computer, this problem is largely addressed. Whether you need a faster processor, GPU, or more RAM, all you have to do is insert components and enjoy the extra performance.
Pro: Access macOS exclusive software
This is perhaps the most popular reason anyone would even consider creating a hackintosh. Some software packages, especially for the creative profession, are only available on macOS. This creates an incentive for some people starting out in these industries to create hacking programs, since buying real Macs is financially impractical.
This is also facilitated by the fact that many institutions that teach professions such as film editing, music production, or graphic design teach Mac students. So, while there may be alternative Windows or Linux applications, the transition represents quite a lot of extra effort and learning. Instead, it’s easier to create a hackintosh as a temporary measure.
Cons: It’s tough and technical
Make no mistake, hacking is not easy. Not only do you have to make sure you collect your hackintosh from a very specific list of hardware, but the installation process itself is not for the faint of heart.
Even if you follow the instructions exactly, there is no guarantee that it will work. You also need to be careful with upgrades and often need to add redundant hardware for compatibility reasons. In other words, it completely discards the “it just works” allure of Apple computers running macOS.
Even if your hackintosh is working reliably, one update may break your installation. This is why many hackintoshes are mostly isolated from any change if they work well enough.
Cons: Many Apple features are hidden
What makes Mac and macOS so popular? Ease of use and an intuitive interface are a big part of that. macOS also runs pretty well even on low-spec Macs, and of course it’s a super stable operating system. This is why it is so popular with creative professionals and programmers who cannot afford constant crashes that interrupt or destroy their work.
The problem is, these benefits aren’t just a result of macOS itself. Apple has a closed hardware ecosystem. They know exactly what hardware is installed on their computers, and macOS is written and tested specifically for those machines. Since Apple controls the entire computing ecosystem from start to finish, you’ll get a more stable experience.
When you create a hackintosh, this is no longer the case. Some hardware just won’t work, but worse, other configurations will only work from time to time. Plus, you can’t take advantage of the updates right away, and you definitely can’t contact Apple for support as you are not a customer! MacOS, deprived of its place in the overall picture, loses its shine.
Negatives: This is Legally Questionable
This may be the most important one. The fact is that, unlike Windows, macOS is not sold separately as a software product. Apple licenses macOS only on its own hardware. Remember, the software you buy does not belong to you. You just have a license to use it under certain conditions.
Hackintoshes are explicitly excluded from this license agreement. If Apple wanted to, they could do hacker attacks. This usually does not happen to people who do it privately, as Apple only targets people selling hacker computers. However, your own moral compass will have to guide you, and there is no question that Apple has the power to prohibit hacking computers.
Cons: Apple may ditch Intel
This last big argument requires a long-term look at the hackintosh movement. The only reason hacks are possible is because Apple ditched processors from other manufacturers and started using the same hardware as Windows and Linux PCs. There is a long list of reasons for this step, but those reasons disappear.
With Apple’s investment in its own processor technology used in the iPad and iPhone, the company may be ready to migrate its Mac and MacBook to the same chips. This will mark the end of the hackintosh movement.
If you are thinking about learning how to do hacking in the long run, this is a good reason to make other plans, as at some point in the future any software upgrade path will come to a standstill.
Should you create a Hackintosh?
For most people, the answer to this question is no. Making a hackintosh has always been more of a hobbyist’s home project than something to offer a serious alternative to buying the Mac itself.
If you already have compatible hardware and want to try it from a hobbyist perspective, then this is one thing. However, we cannot recommend buying or building a computer specifically to boot macOS on. If you are really in trouble, you might want to consider buying a refurbished Mac, or take a look at the latest MacBook series, which offer pretty decent value for money.
Did you make a hackintosh? What was the experience like? We’d love if you could share with us in the comments, including why you think you should or shouldn’t go the hackintosh path.