EliteMacx86

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 22, 2018
Motherboard
GIGABYTE Z370 AROUS GAMING 3
CPU
Intel Core i9 9900K
Graphics
2xAMD RX 580 8GB
OS X/macOS
11.0 (Beta)
Bootloader
OpenCore
Mac
MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
Android, iOS
How to Install macOS Big Sur on Unsupported Mac mini

This guide covers a clean installation of macOS Big Sur on Unsupported Mac mini unofficially.

Overview

Recently, Apple announced their new macOS lineup i.e macOS Big Sur 11.0 for which we have been waiting for. macOS Big Sur includes many new features. The most attractive feature is the new GUI. With each release of macOS, Apple remove supports for old hardware. With the the release of macOS Big Sur, Apple has officially dropped support for Mac mini 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

If you tend to install, you cannot even boot as the system is incompatible. You'll get a prohibited or no-entry sign. With this in mind, you'll have to use other way to get macOS Big Sur on your unsupported Mac mini. Previously, Dosdude, did an excellent job for running macOS on unsupported Macs. From macOS Sierra to Catalina. As there's no any work for macOS Big Sur from Dosdude, a thread is available by him which is linked below.

Before you start with this guide, here are the requirements for setting up macOS Big Sur on your unsupported Mac mini.

HardwareRequirements
Mac miniLate 2009, Mid 2010, Mid 2011, and Late 2012
Boot ROM Version144.0.0.0.0*
Graphics CardAny supported Graphics Card


If you meet the above requirements, you're good to go and can start with the guide.

macOS Big Sur Compatibility

Following are the compatibility chart for Mac mini lineup for macOS Big Sur

ModelSMBIOSmacOS Big Sur Support
Mac mini (Early 2006)Macmini1,1❌
Mac mini (Mid 2007)Macmini2,1❌
Mac mini (Late 2009)Macmini3,1❎
Mac mini (Mid 2010)Macmini4,1❎
Mac mini (Mid 2011)Macmini5,1❎
Mac mini (Mid 2011)Macmini5,2❎
Mac mini (Server, Mid 2011)Macmini5,3❎
Mac mini (Late 2012)Macmini6,1❎
Mac mini (Server, Late 2012)Macmini6,2❎
Mac mini (Late 2014)Macmini7,1
Mac mini (Late 2018)Macmini8,1


❌ = Completely unsupported in any means.

❎ = Unofficially supported

= Officially supported.

To find out the complete list of supported Mac models for macOS Big Sur, we suggest you to check the compatibility list below.

If you're having any other unsupported Mac models and want to install macOS Big Sur, you can check the guide below.

For Unsupported Mac Pro

For Unsupported iMac

The next steps are continued in the post #2 of this thread for continuing with the preparing and patching the USB installer.
 
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EliteMacx86

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 22, 2018
Motherboard
GIGABYTE Z370 AROUS GAMING 3
CPU
Intel Core i9 9900K
Graphics
2xAMD RX 580 8GB
OS X/macOS
11.0 (Beta)
Bootloader
OpenCore
Mac
MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
Android, iOS
How to Install macOS Big Sur on Unsupported Mac mini

Create a Backup of your Mac

Before you proceed with the installation, we advise you to perform a backup of your Mac. In case the installation fails or you encounter any issue with the installation, you can roll back to your existing installation.

To create Backup for your Mac, follow the guide below

Download macOS Big Sur

The next step is to download macOS Big Sur. To download macOS Big Sur, follow the steps below

1. If you're using macOS Mojave or later, you can obtain macOS Big Sur via Software Update. Click on Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click on Software Update. Alternatively, you can click on System Preferences and then click on Software Update.

If you're having trouble with Software Update, you can obtain a copy of macOS Big Sur via App Store. To Get macOS Big Sur and click on GET button to continue downloading macOS Big Sur.

Creating macOS Big Sur Bootable USB

After downloading macOS Big Sur, the next step is to create the Bootable USB for macOS Big Sur. To create macOS Big Sur Bootable USB, follow the guide below


Note:
As you've already downloaded macOS Big Sur, so just continue with the createinstallmedia step to create your Bootable USB


Preparing the USB Installer


The next step is to prepare the USB installer for booting macOS Big Sur. Before you start preparing the USB installer, check the support for patching the USB installer.

Micropatcher VersionmacOS Version
v0.5.1macOS Big Sur (20B28)
macOS Big Sur (20B5012d)
macOS Big Sur (20A5395g)
macOS Big Sur (20B28)
v0.4.2-v0.4.4macOS Big Sur (20A5395g)
macOS Big Sur (20A5384c)
macOS Big Sur (20B5012d)


Patching USB Installer

The next step is to run micropatcher to patch the USB installer. To patch your USB Installer, follow the steps below.

1. Download Micropatcher
2. Extract the Micropatcher to your Desktop
3. Open Terminal and type the commands below
Code:
/Users/yourusername/Desktop/big-sur-micropatcher-0.5.1\ 2/micropatcher.sh /Volumes/Install\ macOS\ Big\ Sur
You should see something similar like the screenshot attached below.
Code:
/Users/yourusername/Desktop/big-sur-micropatcher-0.5.1\ 2/install-setvars.sh /Volumes/Install\ macOS\ Big\ Sur
You should see something similar like the screenshot attached below.

Notes:
  • It's recommended to use the latest version of micropatcher to avoid issues.
  • You must replace "yourusername" with your actual username otherwise the command will not work.

Running setvars EFI Utility

Once you're done with the above steps, you'll need to run servars EFI utility which will allow to boot macOS Big Sur. To setup setvars on your Mac mini, follow the steps below.

1. Restart your Mac mini and while restarting, hold down the option key and boot from "EFI Boot".

Note:
Once you boot from EFI boot, your Mac mini will shut down. This is an indication that the setvars EFI utility has successfully finished making necessary changes to your Mac mini's NVRAM settings. These changes include disabling SIP, disabling authenticated root, and enabling TRIM on non-Apple SSDs.

The next steps are continued in the post
#3 of this thread for continuing with the installation.
 
Last edited:

EliteMacx86

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 22, 2018
Motherboard
GIGABYTE Z370 AROUS GAMING 3
CPU
Intel Core i9 9900K
Graphics
2xAMD RX 580 8GB
OS X/macOS
11.0 (Beta)
Bootloader
OpenCore
Mac
MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
Android, iOS
How to Install macOS Big Sur on Unsupported Mac mini

Booting the macOS Installer

Once you finish setting up setvars EFI utility, you're ready to install macOS Big Sur on your Mac mini.

1. Start your Mac mini and while restarting, hold down the option key and boot from "Install macOS Big Sur". The installer will load in a while.

2. When at installation screen, select your preferred language and continue

3. Select Disk Utility and continue, click on View and select Show all Devices.

4. Now select your Hard Drive or SSD on which you want to install macOS and use the following parameters to erase your drive.

OptionsValue
NameMacintosh HD
FormatAPFS
SchemeGUID Partition Map

5. Close Disk Utility

6. Select Install macOS Big Sur and continue with the options.

7. Now select Macintosh HD and click on Continue.

Note:
This will take couple of minutes and will restart at "Less than a minute is remaining". Upon completion, your Mac mini will automatically restart and continue the installation further.


Here it ends the first phase of the installation.

8. When your Mac restarts, select Boot macOS Install from Macintosh HD and then boot.

It will continue the second phase of the installation. Upon completion, your Mac will automatically restart.

9. When you're at the welcome screen, continue with the basics options such as Keyboard setup, Network, Computer Account and Privacy settings.

Notes:
  • If you get a prohibited or no-entry sign when booting the installer, restart your Mac and boot from "EFI Boot". You need to follow the steps from "Running setvars EFI Utility" mentioned above. Make sure you boot using the "external" (yellow color) EFI boot which represents your USB Installer.
  • During the installation process, your Mac might restart several times. You might get blank screen at certain times but that's normal and the installer is still working in background.
  • The first boot maybe slower as the caches are not build yet. Once the caches are built, it will boot normally.
  • Do NOT continue with the setup as you need to patch the kexts or most of the things like USB, WiFi and BT will NOT work.
The next steps are continued in the post #4 of this thread for continuing with post-installation.
 
Last edited:

EliteMacx86

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 22, 2018
Motherboard
GIGABYTE Z370 AROUS GAMING 3
CPU
Intel Core i9 9900K
Graphics
2xAMD RX 580 8GB
OS X/macOS
11.0 (Beta)
Bootloader
OpenCore
Mac
MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
Android, iOS
How to Install macOS Big Sur on Unsupported Mac mini

Post Installation

After installation, Post Installation needs to be performed. The post installation is required to achieve the fully system functionality.
Typically, the post installation includes enabling boot from the system drive, Graphics, Network, Audio, USB Ports Mapping, and Power Management. But for a real Mac, you just need to patch kexts and setup booting from System Drive using OpenCore.

Patching Kexts

After completing the installation, you need to patch the kexts for making WiFi, BT and USB ports functional.
To patch the kexts, follow the steps below.

1. Open your USB Installer which is named as "Install macOS Big Sur."
2. From Spotlight search, find and open Terminal
3. In Terminal, type the following command below
Code:
/Volumes/Install\ macOS\ Big\ Sur/patch-kexts.sh
You should see something similar like the screenshot attached below.
4. When prompted, enter your password.
5. The script will start to patch the kexts. Once it finishes the process, you should see something similar like the screenshot attached below.
6. Quit Terminal
7. Restart your Mac mini.

Note:
Letters and spacing are case-sensitive.

The next steps are continued in the post
#5 of this thread for continuing with OpenCore installation.
 
Last edited:

EliteMacx86

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 22, 2018
Motherboard
GIGABYTE Z370 AROUS GAMING 3
CPU
Intel Core i9 9900K
Graphics
2xAMD RX 580 8GB
OS X/macOS
11.0 (Beta)
Bootloader
OpenCore
Mac
MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
Android, iOS
How to Install macOS Big Sur on Unsupported Mac mini

Now, the installation is complete but you might have been wondering why OpenCore is needed on a real Mac? The answer is simple, your Mac mini will lack encoding function. To enable encoding function, you'll need to use OpenCore.

Preparing OpenCore Bootloader

To prepare OpenCore boot loader, you need to download OpenCore.
Download the Release folder followed by the release version.
When extracting, you'll get 4 folders which has been listed below.

DirectoriesPurpose
DocsContains documentation, change log, a sample config.plist, and ACPI Samples for OpenCore
IA32Contains OpenCore EFI, 32-bit OpenCore Boot Loader
UtilitiesContains several utilities
x64Contains OpenCore EFI, 64-bit OpenCore Boot Loader

1. Copy X64 to your working directory and follow the steps below

Adding Required Drivers

Drivers are mandatory which allows several important function and is required to boot the system. Follow the steps below to add the drivers.

Driver NameRequiredNotes
OpenCanopy.efiYES
  • Provides GUI functionality for OpenCore Boot screen. This driver is required for GUI or theme for OpenCore.
OpenRuntime.efiYES
  • Runtime driver including several other drivers merged such as ApfsDriverLoader. OpenRuntime.efi is a replacement for AptioMemoryFix.efi driver.


Note :
All the drivers can be found at: X64/EFI/OC/Drivers

Adding Required Kexts

In order to boot into the installation, you need to add the necessary kexts. Follow the steps below to place the necessary kexts.

Kext NameRequiredNotes
Lilu.kextYES
  • Provides arbitrary patching.
WhateverGreen.kextYES
  • Provides GPU patching on macOS.
  • This kext requires Lilu.kext to function


1. Download the above kexts.
2. Extract the kexts from the RELEASE folder.
3. Copy the kexts to: /EFI/OC/Kexts

Notes
:
  • Do not download the project files. The pre-built binaries/downloads are available in the README.md section. Make sure you read it carefully.
  • Download the latest version for better support.
  • Use the kext from RELEASE folder and RELEASE.zip file.
  • Do not place unnecessary kexts here. It might prevent booting the installer.

Selecting a Config.plist File

OpenCore comes with a default config.plist file. This config.plist cannot be used to boot your Mac. You'll need to configure the config.plist according to your hardware, mainly graphics and other devices.

We've already created a separate thread on configuring your config.plist to boot the installer. Depending on your Mac model, create a config.plist according to the guide. For more information on creating a config.plist, follow the guide below.


Installing OpenCore Bootloader

1. Mount the EFI partition of your system drive.
2. Copy the EFI from your working directory to your system drive.

Boot from System Drive

This is one of the most important part as it will allow you to boot from OC from your EFI partition.

1. Download Bless OpenCore
2. Extract it.
3. Right click on Bless OpenCore and click on Open.
4. It will ask you for a password. Enter your password and click on OK and it will make the necessary changes.
5. Restart your Mac mini

By using this method, you’ll be easily able to boot OpenCore Boot loader on your System Drive.

Note:
Always use right click and then run Bless OpenCore or it may fail to make the necessary changes.


Now you’ve successfully installed macOS Big Sur, and configured it. The installation is complete!

Enjoy macOS Big Sur on your unsupported Mac mini :)
 
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