Hackintosh for Development

Years ago, I bought a MacIntosh–the original 128K 68000 Motorola CPU  box. Like the Apple 2 before that, I upgraded it as best I could, and tried to develop programs for it. But, it was all not easy. And, it was exceedingly expensive–from the computer, to the upgrades, to the software, to the books detailing how to program the system. The decision by Apple to make the system so closed and so expensive made an impression that hasn’t changed over 30 years. I won’t buy an Apple product.

Unfortunately, if you are software developer, you have to use crap you really don’t want to use. The share of iPhones in the U.S. seems to be increasing, not decreasing, and I want to be able to write software for the iPhone. My dad, sisters, brother, and their families all own these exceedingly expensive cellphones. But, as Apple doesn’t give discounts for developers for their hardware, I decided to put together a hackintosh.

After a week or so, I finally found a hardware/software combination that seems to do the trick. My hackintosh is an Acer Aspire e5-574, with 6 GB memory, and an external 1 TB USB harddrive (Kingwin EZ-Dock 2535). It runs Sierra OS X, which I downloaded from a virtual machined hackintosh. It uses a USB keyboard and mouse as there are no drivers for the integrated keyboard and mouse. There are also no drivers for access to the internal SATA drive, which is why it runs with an external USB drive.

The hack wasn’t easy to set up. I’ve tried setting up El Capitan on two other Intel boxes and had no luck. I found the laptop hack after trying it out with the instructions on TonyMacX86.com. I’ll repeat the steps here.

Step 1: Download Sierra OS X.

  1. Start up an existing Mac.
  2. Download Sierra OS X.
  3. The files for OS X will be in /Applications.

Step 2: Create a bootable USB drive with UniBeast.

  1. Insert a USB thumb drive into the Mac. The USB drive should be 10 GB or more. If it doesn’t recognize the drive, try another.
  2. Open /Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility.
  3. Select the USB drive and erase it. The default should be OS X Extended (Journaled), and GUID Partition Map.
  4. Download Unibeast and run. You will need to sign up for a TonyMacX86.com account. I used UniBeast 7.0.1.
  5. In Unibeast, go through the preliminaries. Then select the destination USB drive, Sierra for the OS Installation, UEFI Boot mode. Then install.
  6. You should download MultiBeast and copy it to the USB drive. I used version 9.0.1.

Step 3: Set up BIOS settings on the laptop.

  1. Use “F2” repeatedly to get to the BIOS screen for the Acer.
  2. The only setting for the Acer laptop that is important is the Secure boot mode. Make sure it is turned off.

Step 4: Install OS X Sierra on the laptop.

  1. Insert the USB thumb drive on the laptop.
  2. Use “F12” to get the boot selector for the Acer laptop.
  3. Boot from the USB drive.
  4. In Clover, select the appropriate drive, then boot.
  5. After a long time, you should see an installation screen fro OS X.
  6. Insert the EZ-Dock drive.
  7. Format the EZ-Dock drive.
  8. Install Sierra on it.
  9. Reboot. Select the new drive. Sierra should come up.

Step 5: Post install

  1. Run MultiBeast on Sierra.
  2. Select Network and add in Atheros2200Ethernet 2.2.0, then install on the Sierra OS.
  3. Pull out the thumb drive, and reboot. It should now work.

Ken