Dear Lifehacker, I really want to try out OS X Lion, but I have a Hackintosh I built using one of your guides. I’m scared to just update it normally; is there anything special I have to do? Sincerely,Looking Forward to Lion
Photo remixed from an original by Eric Kilby.
Upgrading to Lion is easy, but it will get a little confused if you try to install it on a Hackintosh. Luckily, it’s still fairly simple, as long as you have the right tools. Here’s how to upgrade a Tonymacx86-based Hackintosh (like the ones in our recent guides) to OS X Lion. These instructions come straight from Tonymac himself, and I’ve tested it on my machine and it worked like a charm.
What You’ll Need
Before you start the process, you’ll want to make sure you have:
- An Intel Core 2 or above 64-bit CPU (required for Lion)
- The Lion installer from the Mac App Store.
- 8GB free space on your hard drive
- A system defined as a Mac Pro 3,1. You can check this by going to System Profiler and looking under “Model Identifier” on the main page. If it’s something other than MacPro3,1, you can use Multibeast to change it. Just look for MacPro3,1 under customisation > Definitions > Mac Pro.
- The latest version of the Chimera bootloader from Tonymac. If you’re using Chameleon, you can use Multibeast to replace it with Chimera under Drivers & Bootloaders > Bootloaders.
- Tonymacx86’s xMove tool
Step One: Prepare Your Drive for Lion
Before you do anything, back up your computer. Use Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner to back up your Snow Leopard partition just in case something goes wrong. You’ll also want to remove any kexts that are usually incompatible between updates (SleepEnabler leaps to mind) before you begin.
Boot into Snow Leopard and open up the Lion installer you downloaded from the Mac App Store. Click Continue on the first screen, then choose your Snow Leopard partition and hit Install. This won’t install Lion right away, it’s just going to install the necessary files (if only it were that simple). When it’s done, reboot your computer as prompted.
Step Two: Create the Installer Partition
Because Lion doesn’t come on a DVD, it creates an installer partition that you can use to recover your computer in case something goes wrong. On a Hackintosh, it gets confused as to where this partition should be, so we need to create it ourselves. Open up Disk Utility from /Applications/Utilities and highlight the drive containing Snow Leopard in the left sidebar. Click the Partition tab.
Hit the plus sign to add a new partition and name it Installer. Size it up to 8GB and click Apply. Then, close Disk Utility.
Step Three: xMove
Here’s where the special tricks come in: download Tonymac’s xMove program and start it up. Click the “Change Install Location” button and choose the Installer partition as your destination (NOT your Snow Leopard partition), and hit Continue. This will move Lion’s installation files to that new partition. When it’s done, reboot your computer.
Step Four: Install Lion
When you restart, the Lion installer should come up in the Chimera boot menu. Pick that as your option and you’ll boot into the OS X installer, from which you can update your Snow Leopard partition normally. Once you’re done, you should have Lion installed on your Hackintosh! You may have to re-run Multibeast afterwards and roll back a few kexts, depending on your hardware, but if you’ve been keeping your Hackintosh up to date thus far, it won’t be anything new. Check out Tonymac’s blog post on Lion for more information, and good luck!
P.S. Hit any roadblocks or have any important notes from your own Lion update? Help each other out in the comments.