It is possible to upgrade a Mac to a later version that it is compatible with, bypassing the limitations imposed by Apple. However, the process can be quite complicated and requires a lot of attention from the user, so that everything works correctly. Follow our tutorial and learn how to update an old Mac.
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How to update old Mac
Always backup your data before starting.
The installation methods for macOS Big Sur and Catalina are quite different from each other. Check each of them:
macOS Big Sur Beta
The macOS Big Sur procedure is quite complex and requires a lot of attention, mainly because it is still in a beta version.
You will need:
- The old Mac where macOS Big Sur will be installed, updated to the latest version of Catalina;
- A flash drive with at least 16 GB of space;
- Another Mac, this one compatible with macOS Big Sur (required to format the flash drive);
- Patch files needed to install the update.
On a Mac that supports macOS Big Sur, do the following:
- Click on Apple Menu, “System Preferences”, “Software Update” and download the macOS Big Sur installer;
- When the installer runs, close it;
- Access the patch website , click the “Code” button, “Download ZIP” and download the patches;
- Unzip the .zip file and open the folder with the files;
- Open another Finder window and click on “Applications”;
- Right-click on “MacOS Big Sur Beta Installation” and then on “Show Package Contents”;
- Abra a pasta “Contents”, “Resources”;
- Open a Terminal and type “sudo” (without quotes) and press the Space bar (do not press “Enter”);
- Drag the “createinstallmedia” file to the terminal, type “–volume” (without quotes) and press the Space bar;
- Drag the pendrive icon to the Terminal and press “Enter”;
- Enter the user password and press “y” to confirm the formatting;
- After formatting, type “sudo” again (without quotes) and press the Space key;
- Drag the file “micropatcher.sh” and the pendrive icon to the Terminal, in that order, and press “Enter”;
- After the process, type “sudo” again (without quotes) and press the space key;
- Drag the “install-setvars.sh” file and the flash drive icon to the Terminal, in that order, and press “Enter”.
On the old Mac where Big Sur will be installed, do the following:
- Shut down the Mac, plug in the USB stick and turn it on, holding the “Option” key during boot. On a non-Apple keyboard, hold the “Alt” key;
- The internal HD drives, the macOS installation drive and the “EFI boot” drive will appear , the last two referring to the USB stick. If the drives do not appear, unplug the flash drive and plug it in again;
- Select “EFI boot” and press “Enter”, the Mac will shut down;
- Turn it back on again by holding “Option”, select “Install macOS Big Sur Beta” and press “Enter”;
- On the installation screen, select “Disk Utility” and click “Continue”;
- Click “View”, “Show All Devices”;
- Click on the disk drive where the system will be installed, then on “Erase”;
- Enter the name of the drive, select “ APFS ”, “GUID Partition Map” and click the “Erase” button;
- Close Disk Utility and open Terminal;
- Type the command “/Volumes/Image\ Volume/insert-hax.sh –seal” (without quotes) and press “Enter”;
- Close the Terminal and click “Installing macOS Big Sur Beta”.
At the end of the installation, the Wi-Fi will probably not be working. To fix this, do the following:
- Hit “Command + Q” (on a non-Apple keyboard, “Win + Q” key) and shut down Mac
- Restart it by holding the “Option” key, select “Install macOS Big Sur Beta” and press “Enter”;
- Open Terminal and type the command “/Volumes/Image\Volume/patch-kexts.sh /Volumes/[macOS disk drive name]” (without quotes) and type “Enter”. If the drive has a space in the name, press the “Tab” key before the first space and the tool will complete the name;
- At the end of the process, restart macOS.
Important: By default, the tool installs patches for Macs manufactured in 2012. If your computer is from 2010 or 2011, type “–2010” or “–2011” (without quotes) between “patch-kexts.sh” and “/Volumes /[unit name]”.
After these procedures, macOS Big Sur will work on an old Mac with Wi-Fi enabled.
For computers that have stopped at macOS Mojave, there is a much simpler installation procedure than Big Sur, which does not require a compatible computer. However, you will still need a flash drive of at least 16 GB.
- Go to dosdude1.com and download Catalina patcher;
- Open the program and click “Continue”;
- Click on “Download a Copy” and the program will download the macOS Catalina image;
- At the end of the download, connect the flash drive and click on “Create a bootable installer”;
- After creating the Pendrive, restart the Mac by holding the “Option” key;
- Select the flash drive and press “Enter”;
- Click on “Reinstall macOS” and wait until the end of the process;
- Restart macOS again by holding the “Option” key and select the USB stick;
- Click on “macOS Post Install” and wait for the necessary patches to install;
- At the end of the process, click on “Force Cache Rebuild”;
- Restart Mac.
Once this is done, the old Mac will be running macOS Catalina.