Hackintosh Frequently Asked Questions

1 What is a Hackintosh?

A Hackintosh is an Intel based PC which is capable of running Mac OS X either by modifying (hacking) the OS itself or using a special boot procedure which allows the Mac OS X install DVD to run and install the OS on the hard drive.  The term Hackintosh, is a portmanteau of the word hack and the name of Apple’s main brand of computers, Macintosh.

2 Can any PC be made into a Hackintosh?

No, only those capable of running OS X can be used. This generally means later generation PC’s with Core based CPU’s.  There are exceptions, depending on which distro you use, which will allow even older Pentium 4 based systems to run OS X. Latest macOS requires a processor with SSE 4.2 Instruction set.

3 Does Apple care if I run OS X on my PC?

Yes they do, the Apple EULA (End User License Agreement), states that OS X is only to be run on Apple computers.  However, the legality of this agreement is in dispute in both the courts and by the community at large.

4 How difficult is it to build a Hackintosh?

A Hackintosh can easily be put together from available parts with the system up and running in less than an hour.  As always, the amount of time it will take any individual depends on their skill level.  If you can put together a PC you will have no problem building a Hackintosh.  If you don’t know what a motherboard is you might be better off asking someone who does know to build it for you.  Most people who build systems will do it just for the fun of it.  🙂

5 How much does it cost to build a Hackintosh?

This varies depending on what type of system you want.  I’ve personally built Hackintoshes for as little as $200 and some costing nearly $5,000.  But the bottom line is, whatever system you decide on will cost much less than a Macintosh of similar performance.

6 Why build a Hackintosh when I can buy a Mac?

If you don’t think you can build one yourself, or don’t know someone who will do it for you, this question is moot.  However there are those who will build the system for you for a small fee, still making the total cost less than a Macintosh of similar performance.  Obviously the cost is the overriding reason to choose a Hackintosh over a Macintosh.  If you are someone who prefers the security of a warranty or knowing you aren’t breaking any rules, a Hackintosh is not for you.

7 How well does a Hackintosh perform compared to a Mac?

Because you are free to choose whatever options you want from all of the PC hardware available, instead of being limited to what Apple wants you to have, you can build a Hackintosh to outperform the fastest Mac available at a lower cost.  Obviously a Hackintosh with specs that are similar to the Mac you are comparing it to will perform at the same level.

8 Will a Hackintosh run all Mac software?

No, the majority of programs will run on a Hackintosh, but there are a few that check to see if they are running on a Mac which will not run.  Boot Camp is one such program that comes to mind as it checks the boot rom of your system and will not run if it doesn’t find a true Mac boot rom.  However, there are so many other better options available that this is a moot point.

9 Will software updates break a Hackintosh?

This is perhaps been the biggest downside to using a Hackintosh.  All of the minor updates to applications can be applied with little worry of the system breaking, but the major point OS upgrades sometimes render a Hackintosh useless unless some common sense (system backup) is used in updating.  Also those systems using a retail install will generally have an easier path to updates than those using one of the many OS X distros such as Kalyway, IatKOS, Leo4all, etc.  The reason being is those using the retail version can generally find fixes on the net for any problems encountered in short order, where as those using the distros will have to wait for whoever puts out that particular distro to issue an updated version.  Niresh distro can be updated with default software update.

10  Can a Hackintosh run Windows?

Perhaps the easiest question of all, the answer is yes, since it is a PC, it will always be able to run Windows.  The options are many for doing so, dual boot, VMware, etc.  

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