macOS Catalina Patcher - Install new operating system on unsupported Macs

Every year the DosDude1 brings us the opportunity to install the latest Apple operating system on unsupported Macs. You can try it again this year; with the macOS Catalina Patcher. I have you covered which Mac, iMac and MacBook models are compatible with macOS 10.15 Catalina out of the box summarized at this point. Your Apple computer is not on the list? Then you can try your luck with the patcher - but of course at your own risk;) 

Maybe prefer macOS 10.14: Install Mojave on old Macs

Of course, you won't get the new operating system on an iBook, but with the macOS Catalina Patcher you can install the 10.15 version on other unsupported Macs.

Of course, you won't get the new operating system on an iBook, but with the macOS Catalina Patcher you can install the 10.15 version on other unsupported Macs.

macOS Catalina Patcher by DosDude1

Under the pseudonym “DosDude1”, the developer Collin offers so-called “patchers” on his website (see below) with which new Mac operating systems can be installed on computers that are actually not supported by them. The current versions of the workaround software are available for Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave and Catalina. According to the description on the website, the latest version is an “easy-to-use tool that allows everyone to use macOS Catalina on non-supported Macs  to install":

macOS Catalina Patcher, the successor to macOS Mojave Patcher, is an all-new, easy-to-use tool that allows anyone to install macOS Catalina on unsupported Macs.

macOS Catalina Patcher Download from developer

If you want to get involved in the experiment and install the new Apple operating system on a non-supported Mac, you can find the macOS Catalina Patcher Download with this link. As always, the note: If it is not available in the App Store, download software directly from the developer and not from download portals such as CHIP, Softonic, etc. 

On the linked download page you will find the possibility to download the patcher free of charge as well as information about the tool and its use (in English). There is also a manual as a Tutorial video, which describes the exact procedure for the installation:

You can install Catalina on these old Macs

Not all old Apple computers and laptops are supported by the macOS Catalina Patcher. With regard to the Mac Pro, iMac, and MacBook Pro, it's the early 2008 models that you can try. MacBook Air supports models from late 2008 onwards. With regard to Mac mini and MacBook, it is the models from early 2009 onwards. Even with the patcher, you CANNOT install macOS Catalina on these old Macs: 2006-2007 models of Mac Pro, iMac, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini as well as 2006-2008 MacBooks and 2008 MacBook Air (as well as older ones). The entire list with all individual models can be found on the macOS Catalina download page.

Known issues and how to take precautions

You should always make a backup before upgrading to a new operating system. When experimenting with loading a new system onto a machine that is not recommended for it, this is of course doubly true! So to prevent data loss due to problems installing or using Catalina on older Macs, back up the contents of your hard drive beforehand. You can find tips on backup software here: My recommendations for regular (bootable) backups.

In addition to eventualities, there are also two known problems with some Mac models or chip sets in the computers. You can find these on the linked developer website under "Known Issues". Full graphics performance is not achieved with the AMD / ATI Radeon HD 5xxx and 6xxx series. The 2008 Mac Pro 3,1 AMD GPU support must also be considered, as newer AMD video cards (Radeon HD 7xxx series and newer) are not supported.

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15 comments

  1. Michael Borchardt says:

    Well, this is really something for hobbyists and tinkerers. My old MacBookPro (end of 2008) runs on an SSD with the last official MacOS version from El Capitan - and on a second SSD (instead of a DVD burner) with Linux Mint 19.2. Of course, working (productively) under MacOS is more fun - but in security-critical environments I am happy about my Linux. And runs, and runs, and runs.

  2. Iodine master says:

    I installed Catalina on my 2010 Mac Pro. Runs great!
    The question now is how do I update to 15.1? I am not offered it under Settings -> Software update.

    Does anyone have any idea?

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      All that remains is to wait until it appears there. Sometimes it helps to restart the computer so that it searches for the new update.

    • Jan says:

      Moin iodine master,
      I also have a MacPro from 2010, but thought the update to Catalina doesn't work if you have certain graphics cards (ATI Radeon HD 5770 in my case). Do you have one in there and it still works for you? According to dosdude, that should lead to problems. Did you do it through his patcher or directly?
      Thanks for your tips

      • Jens Kleinholz says:

        Hello Jan! I'm not the iodine master and I don't know if he'll answer, but my simple answer to the question is: Just make a 1: 1 copy of your system on an external hard drive (works with Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper) and then install the update on Catalina there. Then you know firsthand whether it works or not and still don't take any risks. ;-)

  3. Greg says:

    I've restarted my iMac 2011 50 times and nothing appears. What do you do when you need new updates? Could something else come up or do you have to completely reinstall?

    Greeting
    Greg

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      I am not familiar with the patcher. The 10.15.1 update is out now. If your Mac doesn't show this update, then I would think you have to reload the system and install over it. No personal data is lost in the process.

  4. Lennard says:

    I wanted to install the patch on a suitably formatted (Mac Os extended Journaled) USB stick, but while he wanted the USB stick with the patch I got an error that I formatted it as a normal extended ... in the hard disk service program it is after me this process is also shown as an Extended ... have already done this three times and the same thing over and over again ... what can I do?

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      As far as I know, Mojave and Catalina expect an APFS formatted hard drive. The Mac OS Extended won't make him happy. I would reformat the stick to APFS and then try again.

  5. Tobias says:

    Hallo,
    At that time I had installed the patcher on 10.14.4 OS Mojave on a Mac mini 2010. can I simply upgrade to the current Catalina on this system, which is displayed under Software Update or do I have to patch the system again?

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello, tobias! Unfortunately, I don't know because I don't use patchers on myself. But I reckon that you will have to patch it again, because Catalina is sure to check again what kind of Mac it is looking at.

  6. Diewe says:

    Hello everyone, I successfully installed Catalina on my iMac9,1 early 2009 using the patcher. Almost everything works! In the FOTOS program, however, the first function "FOTOS" is missing; the sidbar only begins with the media library and "Reviews". The filters for day, month, and years are also missing. The synchronization of the photos via iCloud does not work either. Does anyone have a TIP? Unfortunately, I can't go back because the APFS formatted HD is no longer displayed by the old OS. This means that reformatting is no longer possible.

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello Diewe! Maybe a case for repairing the photos library? To do this, hold down CMD + ALT and then start photos. But plan a few hours. If you have a lot of photos, the process will take a long time. For a 2009 iMac, it would be VERY long.
      Otherwise you can also call up the "Photos" function above via the "View" menu. Is that available? If not, it could be that photos need a bit to revise the media library. I'd like to see what the Mac is doing in the Activity Monitor utility. If a process there uses a lot of CPU, it is probably the Photos app that is revising the media library.

  7. xxx says:

    Can I do this with a new mac too?

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      On a new Mac, you can install the operating system without a patch. What sense would it make to patch here?

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