A topic that has interested many users of late is cross functionality of operating systems in purpose-built hardware and one question that I have been asked on several occasions is, “Is it possible to install Mac OS on PC?”. Whilst the short answer is yes, it is, we need to look deeper at how this can actually be done and both the pro’s and the cons of doing it. The process of cross functionality in operating systems involves using things referred to as Virtual Machines and Hackintosh.
So, just what is a Virtual Machine?
A Virtual Machine is a computer program that acts like a genuine computer would be expected to. The program can be run as a window as any other program would be. In essence, It is a computer within another computer. The end game of the Virtual Machine is to give the user the full experience of if they were using the actual operating system itself. These types of programs are usually ring-fenced. This means that the data and software in the program is unable to interact with the machine it is installed on. This generally means software can be used on machines it wasn’t originally intended to be used on and virtually prevents the risk of transmitting viruses and affecting its host hardware. Several of these virtual machines can be run at the same time on the same computer. What you will usually find is there will be an overseeing piece of software that facilitates this. Specific examples of a Virtual Machine could be either VirtualBox or VMware. So now we have a basic knowledge of what a Virtual Machine is and how it works. Let’s move on to Hackintosh.
What is Hackintosh?
In simple terms, Hackintosh is the name given to the action of installing Mac OS on PC. So instead of installing Windows, you would install Mac. Whilst running Mac OS on a traditional PC is not supported by creators Apple, with the proper hardware and user knowledge, it can be done. The term “Hackintosh” itself implies that the software needs to be patched in order to run efficiently and correctly. Naturally, some parts of the hardware would need to be altered in some cases as well. Now that we have a brief understanding of both Virtual Machines and Hackintosh, let us go over the pro’s and the cons of both.
Pros of using a Virtual Machine
- It is generally easy to install macOS on a PC. The user just needs to download a VMware Image (VMDK) or VirtualBox Image (VDI) and run the program.
- Virtual machines are designed to work with all types of hardware, making them universally accessible.
- Any piece of hardware with a working internet connection (LAN) is able to run a virtual machine.
- Support is available in a variety of languages making it accessible to people who would usually be classed as technologically uneducated, all around the world.
- With the way that Virtual Machines work, you are able to work efficiently, running different operating systems in side by side windows. For example, you could be running macOS and Ubuntu, simultaneously.
- Share your Windows file or hard disk in easily using the “drag and drop” function.
- Installing the operating system is simple and straightforward and there are often user guides available.
- Virtual Machines are easy to maintain. Regular updates are supplied by developers allowing users to upgrade their operating software with ease.
- VirtualBox and VMware Player are both available free of charge, making them an even more attractive option to users.
Cons of running a Virtual Machine
- If the user is running several virtual machines simultaneously, this can contribute to an unstable CPU performance.
- Virtual Machines do not support genuine graphics cards. Virtual Machines are not designed to fully support the user’s Camera, Bluetooth.
- The user usually requires a high CPU and RAM to run a single Virtual machine, let alone several at once.
- You will find that your computers audio is not utilising its peak performance when using a Virtual Machine.
Pros of running a machine using Hackintosh
- Even when functioning at less than its intended efficiency. It is still more efficient than running Windows 10 for example. You can expect a vast reduction in hardware related crashes and you will find the operating system generally handles better.
- You can enjoy almost fully customisation of your computer. For example, if you don’t want to use the traditional ATI graphics card used by Mac, you could use Nvidia instead.
- Use of a Dual-Boot system. You can utilise both Windows and macOS on a Hackintosh machine.
- It enables a “Try before you buy” culture. If you are someone who has always been hesitant in using apple products. Building a Hackintosh machine is the ideal way to experience Apples operating software before committing to buying it. If you don’t enjoy it, you can simply change it back to a standard PC with virtually zero consequences.
Cons of using a machine running Hackintosh
- You are essentially stuck with the parts that you have. The parts that you are currently using are all tested to work together and any attempt to upgrade or change any parts can break your system.
- It is not for beginners. You really need some sort of experience in building computers before you attempt to build a machine using Hackintosh as not all parts work.
- Strange foreign errors. It is important to remember that macOS was never intended to run on a PC. This can lead to frequent and unexplained errors. This again leads us back to the point that Apple support cannot help you with this.
- It is a very tricky set up process compared to that of a PC. You will need to download numerous drivers and add-ons that can easily go wrong if you are inexperienced in this field.
To summarise, although theoretically, it is possible to install Mac OS on PC, I would strongly suggest that those of us that truly love Apples OS, that you invest in a Mac Mini.
A Mac Mini is essentially a very small computer created by Apple that is capable of connecting to almost any standard computer screen. Originally introduced in 2005, the Mac Mini was targeted at consumers switching from traditional PC’s over to Mac. In my opinion it is the ideal computer for anyone who is looking to make the switch from a traditional PC over to Mac but is conscious of their budget.
It features the full Apple software that many of us have come to know and love and comes with the massive benefit of the wonderful Apple customer support we discussed earlier. Users can generally get their hands on a Mac Mini for around $500. The standard cost of a regular PC. Apple recently updated the Mac Mini for 2018. The Mac Mini hadn’t been refreshed since 2014 prior to this and now boasts the 8th generation CPU and a massive 64GB of memory. It’s new eco friendly design is a welcome addition to Apple lovers worldwide and is available to purchase from many mainstream retailers, as well as the official Apple store.