Are you excited about the new version of MacOS Big Sur? Apple made big changes to its flagship operating system, which is sure to make a splash when it debuts this fall. If you’re like us, you are itching to download the public beta and dive in.
The problem is, you don’t have a Mac. That is not as big an obstacle as you think. Read on to follow this step-by-step guide to installing MacOS Catalina on a compatible PC.
When you install the MacOS Operating System on a PC, you create a Hackintosh. A Hackintosh is a portmanteau of “hack” and “Macintosh,” and there is a thriving community of hobbyists who make MacOS work on a variety of systems. If you have a problem with your Hackintosh, you can find someone to help you.
Before you do anything, you’ll want to take a look at the Big Sur system requirements. If your PC doesn’t meet them, this will save you time and effort. Remember, you still have time to get a fresh laptop or build yourself a new PC specifically for Big Sur.
The only downside to the method outlined here is you need a functioning Mac to get started. It doesn’t have to be new, just newer than a 2012 model MacBook. It can even be a version of the MacOS operating system run on a virtual machine!
The point is, you need the App Store to get the first component, the install files for MacOS. Then you need a couple of programs to make a bootable USB drive that will work on your Intel PC.
Setting up the USB Boot Disk
Make sure your PC meets the MacOS system requirements, then download the install files for MacOS Catalina. This will get you the latest version of MacOS. It should be sitting in the Applications folder.
Register and Download Unibeast. You need to download this and the related app MultiBeast on a Mac. They won’t work if you download them and copy them over to a Mac.
Install UniBeast on the Mac. This program is what allows you to create the USB boot drive.
Plug the USB drive you want to use to install MacOS. Launch Disk Utility, open the Partition tab, and get rid of any extra partitions on the drive. Then make sure the drive format is Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and click “Apply”.
If the Scheme is listed as anything other than “GUID Partition Map” click the Erase tab, change it, and press Erase. Otherwise, you’re good and can move on.
Launch UniBeast. The first window lets you choose the installer destination. Click on the USB drive you just formatted.
Click “Continue” in UniBeast until it asks you which OS you wish to install. In this case, you’ll want to pick Catalina. Click “Next”.
Next, you need to choose between the two main boot modes, UEFI and Legacy. In most cases, choose UEFI. If your motherboard is an older model and uses BIOS, then choose Legacy.
After that, you’ll be asked to choose your PC’s graphics card. If you have a modern computer with a newer Intel CPU, then you can skip this step. Otherwise, choose whichever option best describes your PC’s graphics card.
Click “Continue” and UniBeast will begin installing on your chosen USB drive. Be patient with this step, as it can take up to an hour.
When UniBeast is done, you can then download MultiBeast and drop it onto the USB drive. MultiBeast will allow you to configure the installation on your PC.
Configuring the UEFI
This part is a bit tricky, but if you follow along, you should be fine! On the PC you plan to install MacOS on, follow these steps:
- Open Settings
- Click on Update & Security
- Click on Recovery
- Under “Advanced Startup” click Restart Now
- Click on Troubleshoot
- Click on Advanced Options
- Click on UEFI Firmware Settings
- Click on Restart
Once you follow those, your PC will restart. Instead of booting into Windows 10, it will boot into the PC’s UEFI Firmware. Here, you can change the necessary options.
The first option we want is Boot Option Priorities. You want your PC to boot using a USB drive first, so set USB device as your first option. Then, make sure your PC’s hard drive is the second boot device.
The last two settings you need are making sure the xHCI Mode is set to auto and the xHCI Hand-off/ECHI Hand-off are both enabled. Once these are done, save these settings and exit. Doing this will reboot your PC.
Installing MacOS on the PC
It is now time to install Catalina on your PC. Reinsert the USB stick which has your installer on it if you’ve removed it and reboot your PC. This should boot you into the UniBeast Installer.
Navigate to the “External” option and press “Enter.” This will start the MacOS installer. When the option comes on screen, select the drive you want to install Catalina onto.
If for some reason there are no options for this, click the “Utilities” menu. When Disk Utility opens, choose the drive you want to install Catalina onto. As with the USB installation you created above, make sure “Mac OS Extended(Journaled)” is selected and the Scheme is set to “GUID Partition Map,” then click erase.
Once the drive is erased, you can close Disk Utility and select it from the installer. Choose the drive and follow the installer until MacOS begins installation. It should take about half an hour.
Once it has finished, restart your PC, with the USB stick still plugged in. When you boot back into UniBeast, it will display the MacOS boot disk. Choose the boot disk, and your PC will boot into MacOS Catalina.
At this stage, you can launch MultiBeast. Use it to configure your setting to better match your PC for Catalina. After that, you’re good to go!
Ready for Big Sur
Now you can have fun with your brand new Hackintosh. Learn it’s ups and downs if you’ve never used MacOS. If you’re a veteran Mac user, you can get everything the way you like it before the release of Big Sur!
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