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This is Mac OS X Running on a Chromebook

chromappleIf you dream of being able to install Mac OS X on a Chromebook it is time to open your eyes. Someone has done it.

In another case of “because why not?”, developer ‘Coolstar’ has managed to squeeze Mac OS X 10.9.1 ‘Mavericks’ on to his (upgraded) Acer C720 Chromebook.

Yes, natively.

Installing OS X on hardware that is not sold by Apple is difficult but not super difficult.

An entire ‘hackintosh‘ community has grown up around the concept and is dedicated to providing the tools, custom drivers and kernel patches needed to run the OS on devices Apple would rather it didn’t.

For this Acer C720 Chromebook Coolstar says he needed to use a ‘custom coreboot and fake CPU via clover EFI’.

Mavericks doesn’t run smoothly on the notebook, neither figuratively or literally. A lack of graphics acceleration means Safari is “sluggish”. Many of the core interface animations and workflows will also be affected.

Image: @coolstarorg

Image: @coolstarorg

Is this real?

I know what some of you may be thinking: that this isn’t real. It must be Mac OS X 10.9 running in a virtual machine, right?

Maybe. But given the developer behind this effort that is highly unlikely.

Coolstar is not an unknown. He has form for tinkering, fudging and hacking, from iOS to Chrome OS.

Last month he detailed his on-going effort to get Windows 8.1 running on this exact same Chromebook — even going as far as to port Linux drivers to Windows by hand.

Now that’s dedication!

The question of whether the effort it takes to install alternative OSes on a Chromebook, often with wildly varying degrees of success, is worth it.

But I think that question misses the core point of why people like Coolstar do this. They do it because they can.

  • Georgie Orman

    I wish I had an intel based chromebook.

    • Drew Ciccotelli

      Then get to getting it.

  • JPB

    Nicely done.

  • Adam Acuo

    Nice technical skills – but not practical. I run Mac OSX on my Chromebook all the time – via Chrome Remote Desktop. It’s probably my favorite feature. Better yet – unlike on the PC where CRD accesses the PC completely – ie regardless of who is logged in at the time – on OSX it accesses a virtual machine of that particular user’s account. That means that if my son is using the Mac on his own account, when I log in to it via CRD i access my account and username and date only – he keeps using it and in fact isn’t even aware that I’m also on the system. Pretty cool.

    • HOLY SH*T! For real?? I din’t know that! oO

    • Man, I want really badly a Chromebook Pixel 2 and a Macbook Air. But I don’t have money to get both. I don’t know what should I do. ;-;

      • James Bell

        Macbook Air. The Chromebook Pixel just isn’t practical.

        • Man, I already have a really good desktop Windows PC. And I really like Chrome OS. Are you sure I should get the Macbook? I mean, on the Macbook I can run Windows 10, Ubuntu and Mac OS X, but not Chrome OS (not the REAL and GOOD Chrome OS), also it doesn’t have a touchscreen. And on the other side, with the Pixel 2, I have a really good hardware (better then the Macbook, and with touchscreen), that I can run Windows 10, Ubuntu and Chrome OS, but not Mac OS X – well… I kind of can… accordingly to this article.

          • Curtis Mitchell

            Bear in mind that this isn’t a publicly released mod that you can just download and follow some simple instructions to get up and running on your own device. You’ll have to do some heavy-duty tinkering to replicate this.

            I imagine it would be significantly more functional on a Pixel 2 since it is running a Broadwell i5 and HD 5500 GPU.

            If you want to run OS X the most hassle-free and least buggy way of getting it is going to be to go with a Macbook. Otherwise you are looking at a project of varying difficulty and operability.

            Why do you need to run so many OSes? Development?

          • Eric Master

            Get the Pixel. Not sure about Windows and Mac OS X yet but for me it is easier for me to get up and running with a side by side linux OS in the Chromebook with developer mode enabled. And by side-by-side I mean I use chroot (google crouton) which allows me to run ubuntu and several debian boxes within the chromebook simultaneously (no dual boot or virtualization) mostly with no performance impact, except when I make use of some window manager through X11. I also own a macbook pro, which is really nice for using hardcore apps like photoshop, but for portability I prefer to take the chromebook when feeling like working out of the office. In conclusion, it depends on what you need, but I would suggest to give the chromebook a try. If you can’t afford the pixel, go for the acer c910 with core i5 processor, it is the closest performance you’ll get to the pixel for half the price.

      • forresthopkinsa

        Obviously get the Pixel. Don’t give Apple the favor of your consideration.

    • A virtual machine? Are you sure it doesn’t just run a new login instance on that machine which doesn’t interfere with what is running? Because that can work on Linux so OSX could do the same.

      • Adam Acuo

        Sure, it might, I’m not sure that the remote session is actually virtualized but I do know that two users are simultaneously logged in at tne same time with full access to the Mac. For whatever reason Chrome Remote Desktop can’t access Linux based systems, but you can use a Linux based system to access a Windows or Mac. When I’m at work, I always use a CRD session connected to my home computer for all personal stuff.

  • anyway to reverse the process? i’d love to dual boot chromeos on my macbookpro.. theoretically battery would last longer, and i have long haul flights and bus journeys so 10/15 hours of battery use just might be possible…

    • Stephen Gale

      You should be able to with the Chromium Project or Chromixum (a forked Linux Distro).

      • Chromixium sucks really badly. That thing isn’t Chrome OS.

      • liamdools

        Linux on a Macbook on purpose. Ha, good one.

  • Stephen Gale

    Again, a great feat programming wise, but…
    Mac OS Xs EULA states that the software must be run on Mac hardware. I had asked Apple about running OS X on Thin net Clients and they said that it would be within the User License Agreement so long as I was running the Virtualization server on Mac Hardware.

    That being said, I really wish that I had this kids determination when I was in High School.

    • Eddie Xavier

      eula only aplicates to us residents

  • moe

    whats the point of chrome os, if you don’t use the operating system itself.

    • A cheap laptop :P

    • This way I can get Windows, Ubuntu, Mac OS X and Chrome OS running on the same machine. I think that sounds amazing! lol

    • Chris

      I agree. If you want to install a different OS than Chrome OS, there is a lot better hardware for very little more money. Once you take Chrome OS off a Chromebook, is it really still a Chromebook, or just another laptop?

      • But I can’t have a Chrome OS experience on any other laptop.

        • Kevin


      • Jason

        I run Ubuntu on my Chromebook with no trace of ChromeOS left. It’s still is a Chromebook in the hardware sense. That was my intention when I bought the machine. The hardware is the highest end specifications for this price range, so it was a perfect choice.

    • Sebastiaan Franken

      Because we can. Sometimes that’s all the reason you need

      • Luca Ironman Del Signore

        just a stupid worthless effort. want a mac, buy a mac. want a chromebook, use it as is. many people seem to have time to waste

        • Jason

          Sounds like your life is a waste? I bought a Chromebook to install Ubuntu onto it. It’s the highest end machine for it’s price range, and I prefer Ubuntu. Totally worth the investment!

        • Tj Gienger

          When I had a mac I installed Windows on it. Got a Surface and I have Ubuntu on it. Getting a pixel and, hmm, maybe all of them!

        • Cameron

          A) hardware hacking can be loads of fun. Also, mac puts a lot of their computers outside of the pricerange of many people, so it’s perfectly logical that if you have the time and patience to install OSX on a non-mac computer, you’ve gotten yourself a macintosh for about 1/3 of the price or perhaps less. A brand new netbook runs between 200-500 dollars on the average, a brand new macbook is defiinitely above 1000 dollars. Necessity is the mother of invention. If Apple won’t make a reasonably priced laptop, then a hackintosh is the best way to go.

    • Jason

      It’s for the hardware. Chromebook are arguable the highest end machines for their price range. I run Ubuntu on my Chromebook specifically for the hardware.

  • Graham

    Somebody post a link to more info on this, please!

  • Any video?

  • Braulio Cesar Holtz Ribeiro

    It would be cool to the contrary, be able to run Chrome OS on any PC and not the Chromium OS version

  • Clayf700

    I don’t care what you people’s opinions are about Apple or OS X, but I think this is so cool!

  • Degru

    What I want is the reverse.. to be able to run ChromeOS (the real one, not just Chromium OS) on any PC. I have several old laptops that would be perfect for it. This probably won’t happen, though, due to drivers. ChromeOS supports only a specific subset of hardware and would bloat the OS and make it slower if they added support for other hardware. (Not to mention most people wouldn’t find it useful)

    • liamdools

      Step 1. Buy Macbook
      Step 2. Install Chrome
      Step 3. Live with your laptop plugged in at all times.

  • Luca Ironman Del Signore

    cui prodest?

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    I would love this on the Asus C300 Chromebook. Triple booting ChromeOS, Ubuntu and MacOS – all on a single machine, natively

    that’s what I call value

  • Have this working on the Chromebook Pixel 2 LS and you will have the most powerful and relatively cheap system running OS X :P

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  • Russell’s Teapot


    • Charlie

      Install OS X on Chromebook and use Firefox as main browser hah :D

    • blitz4075


      • José Eligio Paredes Ibáñez


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  • LiteGaming

    I am in his little group working to get i2c track pads working and I can confirm that it’s not a VM