Updating your Hackintosh to Catalina 10.15

To update an existing hackintosh to macOS Catalina 10.15 here is what you should know before you proceed.

macOS Catalina 10.15 changes that can affect hackintoshing:

  • Removal of 32bit App support in macOS Catalina
  • All system files were moved to a read-only partition
  • NVIDIA Alternate Graphic Drivers NOT available in macOS Catalina/Mojave. While older  natively supported cards like work NVIDIA 6xx and 7xx ‘Kepler’ still work newer Maxwell or Pascal cards cannot get full acceleration.
  • Catalina Graphics Support:
    • Intel HD 4000 and higher
    • AMD Vega, AMD RX 5xx, AMD Radeon HD 7xxx and higher
    • AMD Navi Vega 20 Support in 10.15.1
    • Non-Metal supported GPUs can no longer render using OpenGL as a fallback so its recommended that those who rely on their GPU for certain macOS apps update their graphics card to a Metal supported card if they want to use Catalina.
  • Changes to AirPortBrcm4360.kext may require it to be forceloaded to get certain non-apple WiFi cards to work.
  • Changes to EC can cause issues booting and running Catalina requires either disabling AppleACPIEC, using a fake EC, or renaming EC under DSDT -> Patches in config.plist.

Catalina 10.15 Update Steps

Download macOS Catalina 10.15

  • If you’re using macOS Mojave, get macOS Catalina via Software Update: Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Software Update.
  • Or use this link to open the macOS Catalina page on the App Store: Get macOS Catalina. Then click the Get button or iCloud download icon.

Backup before Updating

Its always recommended to do a fresh install of macOS on a hackintosh when a new version comes out, but you can also upgrade directly. While downloading Catalina its a good idea to back up your Mac.  Time Machine makes it simple, and other backup methods are also available. Learn how to back up your Mac.

Update Clover EFI folder for Catalina Compatability

  • May need to update Clover EFI folder to a newer version for Catalina compatibility:
    • Be aware that any Clover r5000+ version has a revised file hierarchy of its drivers folder. To update:
  • There is now an alternative to Clover called OpenCore that can be used as a bootloader and install Catalina with.

Catalina 10.15 USB Port Limit Patch

By default macOS limits the number of allowed USB ports which can cause certain USB2/USB3 ports to not function as the motherboard being hackintoshed likely contains many more than the limit. To enable all available ports something called a USB port-limit patch must be added.

To increase the USB limit see the list of available port-limit patches for macOS 10.15

Make sure to disable or delete any previous port limit patches.

Graphics in macOS Catalina:

  • Intel (U)HD 630 graphics users may need the -disablegfxfirmware bootflag to be added at the Clover boot screen or permanently in config.plist under Boot -> Arguments
  • AMD Vega, AMD RX 5xx, AMD Radeon HD 7xxx and higher – Will need Lilu.kext + WhateverGreen.kext updated and may require a special boot flag to avoid receiving a black screen on boot in 10.15.1. https://hackintosher.com/guides/hackintosh-catalina-10-15-1-update-guide
  • Nvidia Pascal and Maxwell graphic cards cannot get full acceleration without Nvidia Alternative Drivers which have not been released for Catalina or even Mojave, but the older cards that use to come in Mac’s are still compatible NVIDIA 6xx and 7xx ‘Kepler’ series.

Hackintosh Catalina EC Patching

AppleACPIEC changes macOS Catalina require it to be either disabled, renamed or spoofed to boot macOS Catalina on hackintosh. If you don’t add a fix you may not be able to boot and get various verbose outputs such as Waiting on root device… and AE_NOT_FOUND. Fix this by patching your EFI device

AE_NOT_FOUND Dealing with AppleACPIEC on a Catalina Hackintosh

Make Extensions Library writable again

  • All system files were moved to a read-only partition meaning /L/E or /S/L/E can’t be edited by you when adding or removing kexts.
    • To get around this after Catalina is installed these folders need to be mounted with write privileges through the Terminal app with sudo mount -uw /

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