After we have dealt with the experiences with our Mäcki system in the previous article, here are some more general questions that are also important in connection with the Hackintoshs.

This text was translated with the help of DeepL.

Community

The community idea plays an important role in the Apple world, both in marketing and for the users among themselves. This is similar in the hackintosh scene, there are people who invest their time and a lot of idealism and they make their know-how available in the form of instructions and tools. But this is not a one-way street.


Stronger together. Source: Shutterstock

Know-how from the hackintosh scene is also used for „real“ Macs. For example, the tool macOS High Sierra Patcher ensures that the latest version of Apple’s operating system can be installed on Macs that are no longer officially supported by Apple. Another example are the WLAN and Bluetooth cards with matching adapters, which we have already mentioned several times. They are not only targeted at Hackintosh’s, but are also intended for retrofitting older iMac and Mac Pro models to enable features they would otherwise no longer support.

All communities deserve a big Thank You at this point!

Without the idealism of certain people it would simply not be possible for us – and many others – to run macOS on other hardware. Strictly speaking, the hackintosh community is also the only place where you can get some kind of support in case of problems. But depending on the situation, one can also reach the point where one has to accept that there is not a solution for everything. If you have purchased new hardware components for your Hackintosh system, you can of course take advantage of the usual warranty services in the event of defects.

Security

As a manufacturer, Apple is making great efforts in the field of security. The System Integrity Protection (SIP) is only one aspect; we have already described its role in more detail in the chapter Installation. To make a hack work however, you have to undermine these security features. The SIP cannot be active, otherwise the unsigned Kexts cannot be used. Hackintosh users should be aware of this fact. Kexts are always executed with root privileges.

Another factor are the kexts and tools that can be downloaded from the various hackintosh and community pages. For many tools and drivers you have access to the open source code, but in the end you download and use it in the compiled version and without knowing exactly who is behind it.


Source: Shutterstock

This requires a great deal of trust, because technically there is a potential for abuse. That’s why we recommend downloading tools from the original source whenever possible. We don’t want to impute anything to anyone here, but anyone with bad intentions could misuse the hackintosh scene to compromise hardware or infiltrate users‘ systems with malware such as keyloggers. It becomes particularly critical for the user if the hackintosh is not only a technical gadget, but is also used for everyday things such as e-banking and the like.

Sword of Damocles

Apart from the potential for compromising and the resulting security issues, a completely different „Sword of Damocles“ hovers above the hackintosh.

Apple could technically unplug the hackintoshs at any time. To identify a computer with macOS as a „hack“, one could, for example, start by checking the serial number or query which motherboard was actually installed in the system – and since Apple has never installed a board from manufacturers such as Asus or Gigybyte, such a hack could be quickly detected. Systematic exclusion from the services of the ecosystem or even the App Store would deprive the Hackintosh of any appeal. Ultimately, Apple has more pull because they develop the operating system, determine the hardware on which it is to run and control access to their services. Especially the access to services like iCloud or iMessage has long been a challenge for the community to get it running properly.

Apple continues to develop its systems to improve the user experience for its customers and protect them against external attacks. Like a cat-and-mouse game, the Hackintosh scene always has to react to new developments.

The focus is on kernel extensions and proprietary hardware chips on the motherboard. Apple steers the development in the direction that only signed kernel extensions should be allowed in the system. Under macOS High Sierra you have to explicitly agree to the use of kernel extensions from third party developers. It is still possible to deactivate the System Integrity Protection (SIP) and thus give all kernel extensions a free rein, so to speak. The moment a user cannot deactivate the SIP and only kernel extensions signed by Apple are allowed, the hackintosh gets a problem, kext like the FakeSMC will never be signed by Apple. The future role of the T2 chip currently installed by Apple on the motherboard of the iMac Pro is also open. It will also be used in other model series. The chip monitors the boot process. At the moment this has no effect in the hackintosh – but what if the T2 chip takes over more functions or it simply becomes a prerequisite for macOS to be installed at all? And if Apple then, as just mentioned, prevents the use of unsigned Kext, it becomes difficult to emulate the T2 by software. Of course we don’t know how Apple will develop the handling of kernel extensions and possible alternatives as well as the T2 chip further, that’s why we’re also a little bit in the area of speculation here.


The future is not set… Source: Shutterstock

So the question is how long the Hackintosh community can continue to respond to Apple’s developments with solutions. This reveals one of the basic characteristics of the Hackintosh concept: Even if everything currently works without problems – there is no guarantee that this will continue in the future. The „ultimate Sword of Damocles“ so to speak, would be if Apple decided to turn its back on the x86 architecture and Intel and rely on its own ARM processors. But there are no more than rumors and speculations on this subject at the moment. Developments on unsigned kernel extensions and proprietary chips are much more real in comparison.

Hello, I am a Hack

Who remembers the funny spots Hello, I am a Mac… and I am a PC? In this commercial, Mac and PC are sitting in their packaging boxes: Mac is ready to go and can’t wait to create a video or website – PC needs to update drivers and read manuals before it can get started. Does that look familiar?

PC and Mac. Source: Screenshot YouTube

The commercial „Out of the box“ (link to video) dates from 2006 and referred to the advantages of a Mac over a PC with Windows. Today, twelve years later, it sums up the differences between an Apple computer and a hack just as well:

  • Original Mac-computers work by „switch it on and use it“. You don’t have to worry about the hardware and its drivers or how to get the operating system to work at all. They are an all-inclusive package, including software updates or support with extended warranties such as the Protection Plan.
  • The Hackintosh is just about the opposite. Unlike Apple’s devices, it is not a one-stop system. Operating system and hardware come from a wide variety of manufacturers. As a user, you are responsible for the assembly, installation and ongoing support.

Outlook

The short comparison between Mac and Hack has set the stage for the last article in our reporting on the Mäcki project: It’s about our final thoughts about the Hackintosh.

All post for Project Mäcki

Project Mäcki by hitzestau
Project Mäcki: First pictures of our Heatkiller Tube
Project Mäcki: Working on the metal plate for the aquareo
Project Mäcki: A brief update
Project Mäcki: Installation of new CPU waterblock
Project Mäcki: Photoshooting with the new CPU waterblock
Project Mäcki: Cleaning the GPU-waterblock
Project Mäcki: We are waiting…
Project Mäcki: …we can continue
Project Mäcki: Installation of the WLAN card
Project Mäcki: Cleaning the fans
Project Mäcki: New litz wire for the DDC pump
Project Mäcki: Installation of the front radiator
Project Mäcki: SSD and Cabling
Project Mäcki: Tubing and Filling
Project Mäcki: Pictures of the complete system
Project Mäcki: What is a Hackintosh?
Project Mäcki: What makes macOS attractive as an operating system?
Project Mäcki: Installation
Project Mäcki: Our experiences with the system
Project Mäcki: Two concepts
Project Mäcki: Final Thoughts


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