How to install macOS Big Sur on unsupported Macs

Now that Apple’s latest desktop operating system is out, many users would want to install it on their Macs, even if they are not officially supported. Luckily, you can use ‘Patched Sur’ to install macOS Big Sur on unsupported Macs. Follow our guide to see how you can do so.

Install macOS Big Sur on unsupported Macs

A new tool called ‘Patched Sur’, currently in beta, allows users to download and install macOS Big Sur on unsupported Macs. The patcher downloads the original installation file for Big Sur (or optionally, the public or developer beta), and also downloads a micropatcher for kexts and other resources that allow macOS 11 to be installed on unsupported Macs, along with working services and features.

Unsupported Macs supported by ‘Patched Sur’

First of all, make sure that your Mac is not in the official macOS Big Sur list of compatible Macs. At the time of writing, the following Macs are supported:

  • Fully supported Macs:
    • iMac – late 2013
    • Mac Pro – 2010/2012
    • Mac Pro – 2009
    • MacBook Pro – 2012
    • Other Macs released in 2012/2013
  • Partially supported Macs:
    • iMac – 2009 – 2010 (with GPUs that support Metal)
    • iMac and MacBooks – 2011
    • MacBook – mid-2010 and late-2009
    • 13-inch MacBook Pro – 2010
    • MacBook Air – 2010
    • Mac mini – 2010
  • Unsupported Macs
    • 15″/17″ MacBook Pro – 2012
    • iMac – 2010
    • Any Mac with pre-Penryn Intel CPU

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and it could increase with time as more users test the patcher with their Macs.

Use Patched Sur to install macOS Big Sur on unsupported Macs

To get started, make sure that you have a 16GB USB drive with no important data on it. This will be used to create a bootable macOS Big Sur USB installer later in the guide.

  1. Download the latest version of ‘Patched Sur’ from Github.
  2. Open the file on your Mac. You might have to go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General and click on ‘Open Anyway’ for the first time when you run the app.
  3. Once in the app, go to the next screens by clicking ‘Start’ and ‘Continue’ until you see the below screen to ‘Set Update Track’. We suggest selecting ‘Release’ here as you are already trying something which might have bugs and stability issues. Using a public beta or developer beta will just add to these issues.
  4. Select ‘Clean’ or ‘Update’ on this screen. At the time of writing, only ‘Update’ option is supported. The ‘Clean’ option will completely wipe your Mac and reinstall macOS Big Sur.
  5. In the next step, the tool will download various kext patches to ensure that your Mac can use most of its hardware after upgrading to macOS Big Sur.
  6. Next, click on ‘Download macOS 11.0.1’, or whatever the latest version is that shows here. If you have already downloaded a copy of macOS Big Sur, click on ‘view other versions’ to point the tool to it. This is helpful in situations where the Internet connection is slow and you want to utilize the macOS copy you already have.If you select the download option, let it complete. The download file is around 12GB so it might take a while. 
  7. Once the download completes, you will have to enter your Mac password and click continue. This will allow the patcher to use createinstallmedia tool to create a macOS Big Sur bootable installer USB.Plug in the USB to your Mac and select it in the below screen. Click continue and let the process complete.
  8. Restart your Mac, and press and hold the Option key when it’s booting up. You should see the Startup Manager. Select the EFI boot drive and hit return. Your Mac might restart again. Select the option to install macOS Big Sur, and follow the steps to complete the installation process.
  9. Once macOS Big Sur is installed and boots up, open the Applications folder and run the ‘Patched Sur’ app. You might have to enter your Mac password to allow it to run. Once done, reboot your Mac.

Install future macOS Big Sur updates on unsupported Macs

Whenever there is an update for macOS Big Sur, instead of updating using Software Update in System Preferences, open ‘Patched Sur’ to download the latest version, and repeat the above steps again to complete the upgrade.

Read more:

About the Author

Snapchatter and Apple fangirl, covers everything about social media, app reviews and Apple news.