Are Hackintosh Computers Legal?

It seems that a week doesn’t go by that we don’t have someone in the community asking about Hackintosh computers. Hackintosh is a nickname given to a PC, made of non-Apple components, which runs on some version of OS X. Simply put, this is seen as an inexpensive method of building a Mac without having to pay a premium for the Apple hardware.

There is a reason we at LockerGnome don’t have Hackintosh tutorials on the site. It isn’t because these systems have a sketchy track record consisting of instability, a setup process that is usually too complex for the average user, or out of any fanboyism on the part of the writers. The primary reason is simply that doing so is in violation of the end-user license agreement (EULA) from Apple for OS X.

The question being answered in this article isn’t whether or not it’s right or ethical to build a Hackintosh. The question is whether or not it’s potentially illegal to do so.

While Apple itself was founded on the roots of hacking and modifying software and hardware to do something it wasn’t originally intended to do, today’s Apple is one of the largest and wealthiest corporations in the history of commerce. Each Apple-branded computer sold is important to Apple’s bottom line. That bottom line gives people jobs, pays taxes, and makes it possible for us to benefit from the software and hardware innovations Apple is making available through its products.

If Apple made $29 instead of $1,000 for every Mac user out there, we would never have the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or possibly even any of the similar products made available by its competitors. If iOS never existed, would Android? These are difficult questions to answer, and ones that are probably best left for another day.

Here are some points to consider before heading down the path of forcing OS X to run on your old PC.

Is it Legal to Sell a Hackintosh?

The end-user license agreement for Apple’s flagship operating system (OS X) has been interpreted in a number of ways since the beginning for the Hackintosh controversy. If you ask the courts that handled the Psystar case, ruling in favor of Apple, the answer would be a most definite no.

Psystar was an interesting case. The company actually sold computers pre-designed to accept OS X as a native operating system. As much as Psystar tried to circumvent the EULA by proving a bundled copy of OS X and not actually installing the software itself, Apple’s lawsuit was successful, winning damages and multiple appeals against Psystar, which has since been permanently barred from selling its Hackintosh systems.

That’s a case where the systems were sold, but what about home users who are building them for friends and/or family? Are they breaking the law?

Don’t I Own the Software?

Let’s get one thing out of the way. You don’t own your copy of OS X, even if you bought a USB thumb drive with Lion pre-installed. Apple licenses its software to you, and you technically rent it from the company for life by paying the initial fee. When you purchase a Mac, you are purchasing the hardware in conjunction with a license for the software. That license is based on a specific set of requirements that must be met in order to be used within the boundaries of the law.

Here is an excerpt from the OS X Lion EULA:

The Apple software (including Boot ROM code), any third party software, documentation, interfaces, content, fonts and any data accompanying this License whether preinstalled on Apple-branded hardware, on disk, in read only memory, on any other media or in any other form (collectively the “Apple Software”) are licensed, not sold, to you by Apple Inc. (“Apple”) for use only under the terms of this License. Apple and/or Apple’s licensors retain ownership of the Apple Software itself and reserve all rights not expressly granted to you.

What About Making One for Myself, or a Friend?

It’s easy to overlook the EULA when you’re in the privacy of your own home, working with your own hardware. The question being answered in this article is whether or not it is illegal (unlawful) to build a Hackintosh using Apple’s software on non-Apple branded hardware.

With that question in mind, the simple answer is yes. Because you don’t actually own the software you’re installing on the machine, even if you purchased a physical copy, it isn’t really your right to install it unless it meets the specified parameters of the license agreement. The license agreement is very clear in this regard:

The grants set forth in this License do not permit you to, and you agree not to, install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-branded computer, or to enable others to do so.

In fact, the third line on the top of the document states “For use on Apple-branded Systems.”

While it could be argued that it would be difficult for Apple to find a needle in a haystack that is the home hobbyist Hackintosh maker, the purpose of this article is to determine whether or not creating one could be considered infringement.

There’s a misconception circulating that what you do with your hardware and your software is your business. It is, but only if you own both the hardware and software. In this case, you don’t. That’s the rub, and the reason so much controversy has derived from this seemingly simple situation.

What About if I Install it On a Virtual Machine?

Virtual machines aren’t technically Apple-branded hardware, so do they count? Actually, Apple has taken virtual machines into account in the EULA. You are allowed to install up to two instances of your OS X license within a virtual operating environment, as long as that virtual machine is running on an existing copy of the same operating system.

From Apple’s EULA:

…to install, use and run up to two (2) additional copies or instances of the Apple Software within virtual operating system environments on each Mac Computer you own or control that is already running the Apple Software.

What About Reverse Engineering the Code for ‘Educational’ Reasons?

Reverse engineering Apple’s code is how some of the more popular Hackintosh projects came about. By mimicking Apple’s boot loading software, and creating an environment that looks to the OS as if it is actually an Apple-branded system, the engineers behind the projects have effectively reverse-engineered part of Apple’s software.

According to Apple’s EULA:

You may not and you agree not to, or to enable others to, copy (except as expressly permitted by this License or by the Usage Rules if they are applicable to you), decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, attempt to derive the source code of, decrypt, modify, or create derivative works of the Apple Software or any services provided by the Apple Software, or any part thereof.

This brings up the bigger (and more popular argument) of whether or not OS X is built on open source platforms which would make it legal to reverse engineer. Apple actually does allow you to modify portions of its software that are derived from open source works. It’s covered in the EULA. However, the majority of the operating system that evolved from its initial founding is built on Apple’s dime, making it off-limits.

You may modify or replace only these Open-Sourced Components; provided that: (i) the resultant modified Apple Software is used, in place of the unmodified Apple Software, on Apple-branded computers you own or control, as long as each such Apple computer has a properly licensed copy of the Apple Software on it; and (ii) you otherwise comply with the terms of this License and any applicable licensing terms governing use of the Open-Sourced Components.

What’s the Worst That Can Happen, Really?

We decided to pose questions regarding the legality (and possible resulting legal actions) surrounding the Hackintosh to Attorney Brett Trout, an Iowa patent lawyer licensed to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He specializes in intellectual property and information technology issues, and knows a thing or two about the controversy surrounding this issue.

“The bottom line is that it does not really matter if it is legal or illegal, if no one has the money to get to a jury.” He said, “Apple can bring causes of action for breach of contract, copyright infringement, violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, etc. and no one is going to want to spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars it would take to get to a jury.”

Simply put, these cases are expensive to both parties involved. Apple has enough money to cover legal fees that far exceed the abilities of the average Joe. Taking your case to a jury costs big bucks as defending yourself in court isn’t cheap.

Brett Trout went on to explain, “Even if you could get to a jury, you run the risk of not being able to convince the retired people on the jury that you are right and Apple is wrong.”

While the burden of proof is on the prosecution, it’s hard to argue your case against a company as large as Apple. Jurors are faced with having to choose between a single individual that decided to circumvent a EULA or an international corporation that would appear to know exactly what its software is and isn’t supposed to do. Remember, you don’t own your copy of OS X.

It can’t be all bad news. Brett went on to say, “The only thing you would have going for you is that before you got sued, it would be tough for Apple to find you and it would be a net financial loss for Apple to sue you, even if [it] won.”

Final Thoughts

Going in to this article, I wanted to give a fair answer to a question being asked in courts and in chatrooms across the world. Apple lost a significant battle when it came to jailbreaking iOS devices as it attempted to control the software installed on a piece of hardware. In this case, it’s protecting the software, and things are a little different.

One area in which most of the confusion surrounding legality seems to be caught up is when OS X is compared to Windows or Linux. OS X is very different from both of these platforms, as it is intended to run on a specific piece of hardware. Apple includes OS X on every Apple-branded computer, and the software it makes available in stores is simply intended for upgrades, and not as a full version.

Just as you would be violating terms and agreements by forcing an upgraded version of Windows to run as a clean install on a blank disk, running a purchased version of OS X after the fact is also a violation.

Bottom line: Apple is a hardware company that happens to create software intended to boost the value of its hardware. Microsoft isn’t a hardware company — at least, not a computer manufacturer. Microsoft makes software with the explicit purpose in mind of being able to run on hardware from a wide range of manufacturers. Apple creates software to make its hardware more valuable to the user.

Just as Ford wouldn’t be happy to find a car company installing Sync on non-Ford branded vehicles, Apple has every right to protect what makes its products unique.

This isn’t to say that Apple is going to have police breaking down your door and throwing you in jail for building a Hackintosh. The chances of that are probably about the same as being caught pirating music, movies, and other software.

In a final word of caution from Attorney Brett Trout, “That being said, if [Apple] did find you, and/or wanted to make an example out of some people, it would be a very expensive, very ugly situation.”

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • http://twitter.com/JoshuaNoyce Joshua Noyce

    hackintosh’s are too buggy and they have problems.  hackintosh’s are not worth the money.  does this mean than jail-breaking is illegal too?

    • William Meade

      No, jail breaking was made legal a couple of years ago. A specific exception was made to the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) to allow the ‘jailbreaking’ of mobile devices. This only technically applies to the US though, so it may be illegal elsewhere. However, Apple being a US based company may make it difficult for them to try to sue you. And as mentioned above, it costs a lot to peruse one person so they won’t try to sue you unless you are distributing it etc.

      • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

        That’s actually in limbo again…

        • Bob

          And they hung Microsoft for being a Monopoly…..

      • MattRyanTV

        Jail breaking is a little different, but yes it could be a problem in the future.

    • William Meade

      No, jail breaking was made legal a couple of years ago. A specific exception was made to the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) to allow the ‘jailbreaking’ of mobile devices. This only technically applies to the US though, so it may be illegal elsewhere. However, Apple being a US based company may make it difficult for them to try to sue you. And as mentioned above, it costs a lot to peruse one person so they won’t try to sue you unless you are distributing it etc.

    • William Meade

      No, jail breaking was made legal a couple of years ago. A specific exception was made to the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) to allow the ‘jailbreaking’ of mobile devices. This only technically applies to the US though, so it may be illegal elsewhere. However, Apple being a US based company may make it difficult for them to try to sue you. And as mentioned above, it costs a lot to peruse one person so they won’t try to sue you unless you are distributing it etc.

    • Dadilus

      I built a hackintosh so my son could work on video editing. Yes I bought Final Cut Pro. It has always run as fast and flawless as a high priced Mac. Anyone that’s states they run sketchy never built one or didn’t know what they were doing if they did. He now has a MacBook Pro for his use and the Hackintosh sits idle. Alas I am a PC man. Is it legal? I don’t look at it that way. They are $29 richer from me and my son got a jump on other kids at his college. I only did it for him and the challenge. Apples intent, I think, is to stop people from using Apples software for their own profit.

    • Dadilus

      I built a hackintosh so my son could work on video editing. Yes I bought Final Cut Pro. It has always run as fast and flawless as a high priced Mac. Anyone that’s states they run sketchy never built one or didn’t know what they were doing if they did. He now has a MacBook Pro for his use and the Hackintosh sits idle. Alas I am a PC man. Is it legal? I don’t look at it that way. They are $29 richer from me and my son got a jump on other kids at his college. I only did it for him and the challenge. Apples intent, I think, is to stop people from using Apples software for their own profit.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Amanomurakumo.no.tsurugi Myron Slaw

        Actually you have to remember, Apple’s bottom line is selling the hardware.  the $29 probably just pays for the R&D costs for creating the software.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Amanomurakumo.no.tsurugi Myron Slaw

        Actually you have to remember, Apple’s bottom line is selling the hardware.  the $29 probably just pays for the R&D costs for creating the software.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Amanomurakumo.no.tsurugi Myron Slaw

        Actually you have to remember, Apple’s bottom line is selling the hardware.  the $29 probably just pays for the R&D costs for creating the software.

    • Ed Zinn

      Lol buggy lol that why you use the same specs as a mac duh. Come on unless you running one then you cant really say anything! lol

      • Nickan Fayyazi

        Isn’t the whole point of having a Hackintosh to have it on a lower-cost PC? If you’re going to spend money on a PC whose specs are as good as a Mac, you might as well spend a little more and get one.

  • http://twitter.com/JoshuaNoyce Joshua Noyce

    hackintosh’s are too buggy and they have problems.  hackintosh’s are not worth the money.  does this mean than jail-breaking is illegal too?

  • http://twitter.com/JoshuaNoyce Joshua Noyce

    hackintosh’s are too buggy and they have problems.  hackintosh’s are not worth the money.  does this mean than jail-breaking is illegal too?

  • http://profiles.google.com/rysliv ryan haz

    even if they weren’t legal, it still wont keep enthusiasts from creating hackintoshes, Besides how could they possibly be caught? And why would anyone care if a mac based os is on a pc?

    • MattRyanTV

      OS X phones home. Your hardware serial numbers, registration information , etc. may possibly be an issue. Microsoft knows how many copies are pirated, and they don’t control the hardware.

      • Chris Monteiro

        Microsoft and Apple do NOT know if you are running a pirated version of their software. Mac OS X as an optional registration on install, and doesn’t even check to see if the software has been bought since there are no product keys. Windows also doesn’t “phone home” unless the computer says not genuine, and obviously you can’t even use a computer that Windows detects as not genuine.

      • Chris Monteiro

        Microsoft and Apple do NOT know if you are running a pirated version of their software. Mac OS X as an optional registration on install, and doesn’t even check to see if the software has been bought since there are no product keys. Windows also doesn’t “phone home” unless the computer says not genuine, and obviously you can’t even use a computer that Windows detects as not genuine.

      • Peter

         ”…this article is about possible action that may happen…”

        Not entirely. It does not discuss what the maximum penalty would be, if Apple decided to take a radom, individual not-for profit hackintosh builder to court.

  • Frederickrmarch

    I had one that was not permitted. 

  • Rcarteret

    I think people who do that should get a job and buy a real Mac.

    • Kp1994

      Maybe the PC looks cooler and has better specs, ever heard of alienware?

      • thecloakedone

        Alienware computers are quite possibly the most heinously designed on the planet. 

  • Mitch

    My hackintosh is fine, not buggy at all

    • Owen

       Same here

      • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

        That’s not the question being asked or answered. It’s completely irrelevant to the discussion.

        • Chris Monteiro

          But it makes a point at the beginning of the article saying hackintoshes have a “consisting of instability” and are hard to make, which is just not true.

        • Chris Monteiro

          But it makes a point at the beginning of the article saying hackintoshes have a “consisting of instability” and are hard to make, which is just not true.

          • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

            OS X wasn’t designed to run on computers that don’t come from Apple.

          • Chris Monteiro

            Just because something wasn’t designed for one thing, doesn’t mean it won’t run well. There seems to be a pre-conceived notion on the comments on this website that hackintoshes run bad, when in reality if you have compatible pc hardware then they will run better than a real Mac.

          • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

            “Run better” is relative.

          • Yicheng Bao

            Have you ever used a hackintosh PC? sure it’s more complicated but it do so but just because it doesn’t come from apple doesnt mean it’s bad. You can built a PC with the exact same components or equivalent (ie. controllers) and run OS X fine. The claim made in the beginning of the article is ridiculous. But to each his own

          • Yicheng Bao

            Have you ever used a hackintosh PC? sure it’s more complicated but it do so but just because it doesn’t come from apple doesnt mean it’s bad. You can built a PC with the exact same components or equivalent (ie. controllers) and run OS X fine. The claim made in the beginning of the article is ridiculous. But to each his own

          • Yicheng Bao

            Have you ever used a hackintosh PC? sure it’s more complicated but it do so but just because it doesn’t come from apple doesnt mean it’s bad. You can built a PC with the exact same components or equivalent (ie. controllers) and run OS X fine. The claim made in the beginning of the article is ridiculous. But to each his own

          • http://www.facebook.com/fraotcaladez Fraot Caladez

            Actually, OS X runs quite buggy on a PC. A friend of mine has a better laptop (PC) than my MacBook and it runs choppy.

          • Gibson

            Can’t say it will really run better when apple is the only one making drivers for the OS to function on only “ITS OWN” hardware.

            Never the less somehow others have managed to work around it.

          • Chris Monteiro

            Apple’s hardware is no different than PC hardware, only thing different is the logic board, which can be seen as just another brand of PCs (where the drivers for that set of mobos is perfected on to a certain OS.)

          • Chris Monteiro

            Apple’s hardware is no different than PC hardware, only thing different is the logic board, which can be seen as just another brand of PCs (where the drivers for that set of mobos is perfected on to a certain OS.)

          • Christopher Satterfield

            Unix wasn’t made to run on PowerPC or Intel, hell, Intel wasn’t even around then. Doesn’t mean we never got it to run on our Power Mac’s and Intel Mac’s.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Amanomurakumo.no.tsurugi Myron Slaw

            Actually Darwin wasn’t designed to run on non Apple hardware, but it’s open source.  The proprietary parts (which apple owns) are actually separate. Because of this you could say, “though Darwin wasn’t designed (by Apple) to run on non apple hardware, the parts of the software stack (Quartz and beyond) run on top of Darwin.

            So, if you rework the kernel (remember it’s open source), you can easily get it to run on whatever hardware.  

            So yeah depending on what hardware you get, and what kernel, boot loader etc,  you can have a very stable system.  IMO, it’s not worth the headache.

          • Chris Monteiro

            Good Hackintoshes run an unmodified version of the Darwin kernel. It is true that Mac OS X was intended to run on Apple hardware, but you can’t forget that Apple hardware is the same as PC hardware(They create hardware using the Intel architecture and use parts that are regularly in a PC, so little software modification after install is usually needed.) 

          • Chris Monteiro

            Good Hackintoshes run an unmodified version of the Darwin kernel. It is true that Mac OS X was intended to run on Apple hardware, but you can’t forget that Apple hardware is the same as PC hardware(They create hardware using the Intel architecture and use parts that are regularly in a PC, so little software modification after install is usually needed.) 

          • Gibson

            I agree with you chris, but that doesn’t fully mean that people can’t make it run properly on PC’s i mean after all  
            You must not forget an Apple computer is just another “personal computer” and i know you know that very well sir. 

            Never the less hackintosh’s are pointless, if your going to use a mac, get a mac. if Not windows 7 is a Dam Fine operating system, that is just as good.

          • http://www.kinhthanhmoingay.com/ Khoa Bui

            they are using Intel CPU and every single pices is made from China.

          • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

            OS X wasn’t designed to run on computers that don’t come from Apple.

        • http://twitter.com/ronknights Ron Knights

          The author made a mistake by even mentioning anything about the stability of a Hackintosh. That statement made the issue totally relevant to the discussion.

    • Owen

       Same here

    • Owen

       Same here

  • William Meade

    Not bad… very interesting read :)

    Although I wouldn’t stop someone making a hackintosh, I would not recommend it to them. I have heard it runs like crap, and to be honest, “Mac OS being designed for the hardware it will be run on” is one of the things i DO believe from Apple. I really doubt most average PCs today will run a hackintosh well

    • SaltineCracker

      My Core i7 hackintosh with 16 gbs of ram, SSD drive for the OS and a 1tb drive for multimedia most certainly does not run like crap. everything works just like my actual mac. With that said, whoever you heard that from doesn’t know what they’re talking about and its quite apparent you know very little about them (hackintosh) to begin with. 

      • Nickan Fayyazi

        He said average PCs. Your computer certainly does not look like an average PC.

  • Jorge Sanabria

    I love Linux!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/TheStatCat Weylin Schreck

       Heck Yeah! Linux all the way!

      • http://www.madmonkeystudios.co.uk/ George Raven

        I would say, Linux isn’t ready for me yet.
        I MIGHT try it again, if my microphone works :)

    • http://www.kinhthanhmoingay.com/ Khoa Bui

      I will back to Linux again, if they have many software like Mac and Windows. They’re on the line, just a little more, Ubuntu and Fedora will be my lovers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002143491884 Kevin Mai

    great, an article that points out the facts about if it is legal or not starts a fanboy war. Great. Personally,my experience with hackintoshes have been great. The “buggy and unstable” parts are a myth, and hackintoshes are cheaper and use similar parts. Hackintosh laptops though, are not worth your time. the laptop hardware from apple is great.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002143491884 Kevin Mai

    great, an article that points out the facts about if it is legal or not starts a fanboy war. Great. Personally,my experience with hackintoshes have been great. The “buggy and unstable” parts are a myth, and hackintoshes are cheaper and use similar parts. Hackintosh laptops though, are not worth your time. the laptop hardware from apple is great.

    • MattRyanTV

      Buggy and unstable is a generalization, true. Look at the several in this. Very thread that said their attempts were buggy and unstable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karl.entner Karl Entner

    Don’t get me wrong Chris. I know Macs and their OSX do have their own thing to do in the computer as well as Windows OS do And the Unix/Linux variants that are out on market. Either through purchasing the Operating system for one computer or like what Linux has where it is distributed through the internet for free. Or by obtaining a CD/DVD for a price in order to get it installed on a particular machine. Even in the Linux arena like Red Hat for example they have one related for the personal desktop for you and I to use for free via download. Or obtaining support or licensing for an enterprise servers which they also do as well.  

    Now I know this will probably will not go the ways of what has been done already with one Distributor like Red Hat. But it might be an alternative to making one as well for those who want to use OSX legally buy making a second version that would be available for the PC as well. I have heard as well that some people that I have spoken with a long time ago who run Mac Laptops or desktop using windows OS on it even though the hardware of the Mac is very similar to like it is on a normal PC that runs windows. I have not heard of any one using a Mac that is running windows instead of the Mac OSX on their computers getting into the same situation as to what other people are trying to do with a version of Mac OSX.getting into legal problems doing it that way. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/karl.entner Karl Entner

    Don’t get me wrong Chris. I know Macs and their OSX do have their own thing to do in the computer as well as Windows OS do And the Unix/Linux variants that are out on market. Either through purchasing the Operating system for one computer or like what Linux has where it is distributed through the internet for free. Or by obtaining a CD/DVD for a price in order to get it installed on a particular machine. Even in the Linux arena like Red Hat for example they have one related for the personal desktop for you and I to use for free via download. Or obtaining support or licensing for an enterprise servers which they also do as well.  

    Now I know this will probably will not go the ways of what has been done already with one Distributor like Red Hat. But it might be an alternative to making one as well for those who want to use OSX legally buy making a second version that would be available for the PC as well. I have heard as well that some people that I have spoken with a long time ago who run Mac Laptops or desktop using windows OS on it even though the hardware of the Mac is very similar to like it is on a normal PC that runs windows. I have not heard of any one using a Mac that is running windows instead of the Mac OSX on their computers getting into the same situation as to what other people are trying to do with a version of Mac OSX.getting into legal problems doing it that way. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000983010349 Jesse Downing

    I’ve always figured that it would be legal, just as long as it was a previous version of the OS that wouldn’t hurt any of Apple’s profits.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000983010349 Jesse Downing

    I’ve always figured that it would be legal, just as long as it was a previous version of the OS that wouldn’t hurt any of Apple’s profits.

  • Philllip Gresham

    Jail-breaking may soon be illegal if the exemption is not renewed.  Right now the smart money is on the exemption expiring….

  • http://twitter.com/GHOSTRIDER5666 Christopher Allega

    I know somebody who went to an apple store just to
    ask about hackintosh and an employee said it was ok.

    • MattRyanTV

      The employee undoubtedly broke rank to do so. When I worked there, we were told never to answer legal questions. That was all in the hands of the legal department.

  • MiniMaxiMan

    Interesting article! I had indeed missed the point about “licensed” vs “owned”.

    I made one myself, out of a Dell Mini (there’s a big, creative community over there that did a lot of very good work, so it wasn’t difficult). Mine was created over two years ago, and still runs great – a LOT better than the XP installs I tried, and about as fast (but more capably) as the original Linux OS it came with. I’ve had absolutely zero trouble out of it, and a lot of good use & enjoyment. I had less than $400 in it, including buying a full copy of Leopard.
    That said, had I understood at that time that it was in fact illegal, I probably wouldn’t have done it. Trouble was that I was disappointed in the crippled Ubuntu they’d saddled the Mini with, and didn’t really like full versions either. I travel on business, and needed a lot of MS interoperability. When XP failed to run well enough, I tried OSX, because I was reading some good things about it. They were right, and I haven’t been sorry one day. But I didn’t think I was doing anything illegal, because I’d “bought” OSX. I missed the crucial difference between owning and licensing.

    As a result, I wouldn’t sell this Mini with OSX installed – I’d probably roll it back to XP, since the XP I bought (licensed?) was an OEM copy and can’t be used anywhere else, anyway. 

    Good article, Chris – did clear up some things in my mind

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000153228395 Jameel J. Alayyan

    Yeah Hackintoshes have never worked out well for me. If you’re really that desperate, Mac Minis aren’t that expensive. Also, ripping off Apple, not worth it. Apple of all companies are always on the hot pursuit with lawsuits and you might be that one individual that they want to eat alive. Just don’t do it, it ain’t that cool anyways. 

  • MiniMaxiMan

    Just realized this article was posted by Matt Ryan – sorry! Good article, Matt – keep ‘em coming!

    • MattRyanTV

      Thank you for reading. ;)

  • Stephen Yang

    The problem is that there are no actual damages to award if you’ve paid for the OS.

    Yes, you’re in violation of the EULA, but there’s precedent for that as not being sustained in court. 

    Sure, there’s a problem selling systems, but if you’re doing it for yourself, or your friend non-commercially, then Apple really doesn’t have much of a case to build against you. 

    • http://www.performanceinsiders.com/ageless-male.html Ageless Male

      You or your friend will suffer the burden in case things won’t turn out so well.

    • MattRyanTV

      That’s what they used to say about the RIAA before they sued people for downloading music.

      • Gibson

        Music is the least sought after crime i would think things like actual Software and Movies and video’s are what companies will sue more so over.

        I Live in canada where most people think we can P2P Install this music and share it legally without a hoot as long as we don’t distribute it. That is not true it’s illegal, while P2P Peer sharing is not.

      • Gibson

        Music is the least sought after crime i would think things like actual Software and Movies and video’s are what companies will sue more so over.

        I Live in canada where most people think we can P2P Install this music and share it legally without a hoot as long as we don’t distribute it. That is not true it’s illegal, while P2P Peer sharing is not.

    • Gibson

      Apple will never catch you unless you are caught or reported and even then Apple will not care enough to build up a case on one person who simply pirated the OS or even purchased it and placed it on their own computer.

      You will get caught if you act like Pystar did for sure, You will get caught if you are distributing the OS yourself, You will get caught if ur building Hackintosh’s Eventually for other people, Especially if someone rats you out, But you are Highly Unlikely to be caught if you dual booted the OS on one of ur computers at home.

      And even then as chris said “Brett” or whatever his name was …sorry dude…The high expensive and likelyhood all depends if apple really wanted to make an example on one person and while Apple is very rich, like Microsoft, In fact richer, Do to selling more then just software, It would cost them MILLIONS Beyond huge losses to sue everybody who built a hackintosh, So their not going to do it.

      None of this means you should still do it, but if your going to you no what your putting at risk and dealing with in the first place.

  • shadowcat_2

    Hrm… back when, didn’t AppLe liscense clones??

  • ‘Tis Moi

    To those who keep trying to make some point about OSX running better on a PC…That is NOT the point.

    OSX is specifically & legally to run only on legitimate Apple hardware. It is not difficult to understand that. To try to make excuses & rationalize why you should be able to, against all evidence to the contrary, is ridiculous- it is the same B.S. argument as torrenting music/movies or Windows products…it is theft. Full-stop.

    If you’re going to do it- do it. But at least have the guts to call it how it is. You ARE stealing- and you know it…

    • MattRyanTV

      Bingo.

    • Djukic Djordje

      It’s not stealing if nothing is stolen, and this isn’t even about software piracy. The method preferred by the community involves purchased OS X media.

      • ‘Tis Moi

        Nice rationalizing. Splitting hairs over the word “stealing ” is typical of those wishing to circumvent something they know they ought not…like the Apple eula.

        • Gibson

          You are just turning into a Fangirl.
          Don’t let people see that you are Upset and highly defensive of one company, Move along.

          • ‘Tis Moi

            Lol, you’re so wrong & have missed the point utterly & completely…you assert that calling a person on their rationalizing their own poor behaviour = “turning into a fangirl”…Not quite. I don’t personally own even one Apple product- I do, however, know when someone is attempting to justify doing what they know is not right.

          • http://www.facebook.com/troy2062 Troy Dunn-Higgins

            It is not a matter of rationalization.  It is a matter of you drawing invalid parallels.

            Installing a DVD containing Mac OS X which you have legitimately acquired on a non-Apple computer CAN NOT be equated to stealing.  That is asinine.

          • ‘Tis Moi

            Hi Troy,

            Perhaps not theft…hmm, the use of semantics as a way to redirect…I see this dysfunction often.

            Apple intends & is clear that their software be installed & run on their own, original hardware. If you wish to dabble in a shell-game of word analysing to avoid this fact, be my guest.

            Cheers!

          • Rasar1120

            Original hardware? It’s basically just overpriced intel hardware in an aluminium shell.

          • http://www.facebook.com/troy2062 Troy Dunn-Higgins

            I have no intention of redirecting the issue.  I was responding to a specific statement which you repeatedly made and repeatedly defended against reason.

            I am not, nor have I attempted to argue the legality of installing OS X on non-Apple hardware.  It is a fact that it is illegal to do so in the US, however much I may disagree with it.

          • Bill Melater

            @TracyFortune:disqus prohibition made it illegal to sell liquor in the U.S. because it was “evil”. One lesson learned from that was, if it can’t be upheld in the court of law, then it’s likely not a law worth having. That’s not to say that there isn’t a law today, but will there be a law in the future? Unlikely. The more people who cause civil disobedience despite what the law says, the less likely it is to be enforced by the government. You could use a little education yourself. Go read about slavery, and then compare that to the laborers in China, then transpose that with Apple’s hardware/software Eula, and you might join the unruly. Absolutely nothing wrong with intelligent people disagree with laws.

          • Wicked01

            Each to there own but as long as the hardware is compatible for whichever OS,in this case OSx then it is well than worthwhile in pursuing for great reward thereafter.

            After all apple does skimp,when it comes to hardware…..not being so generous when it comes to RAM and CPU specs as opposed to their competition,not to mention the inflated price they list their goods for………

          • http://www.facebook.com/fraotcaladez Fraot Caladez

            I love how paying for a license for a software is stealing, haha!

          • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

            I love how violating the Terms of Service is absolute.

          • http://www.facebook.com/fraotcaladez Fraot Caladez

            I have never violated the terms of use. Since I own a Mac.
            But her statement about stealing, it’s so wrong.

          • ‘Tis Moi

            I’ve said this all along- whenever someone wants to do something that they know is wrong- they get very defensive & work like mad to justify/rationalize it. I believe that most of the Hackintosher’s fit this category. I also believe that they mistake what they are buying in the first place- a license to use the software doesn’t mean that you now “own” it. You are leasing the right to use it, and as such, are expected to accept & agree to it’s EULA> a contract.

            The ones who insist on foot-stamping & finding all sorts of “reasonings” to support their breaking this contract will continue to do so. I just hope I never enter into any sort of contract with any of them… Cheers!

          • Zack

            Heh. I get a kick out of these “hackintosh is illegal” ranters. Basically just Apple fans who can’t stand that my Hackintosh makes their iMac not so special anymore. (Mine was half the cost and twice the performance). 

            Illegal would require an actual law expressly against it. No court anywhere is going to go after someone for buying a company’s product and doing with it what it’s designed to do- install on a computer. That’s basically the insane case you would have to make. The only legal recourse Apple’s EULA grants is that they aren’t responsible for providing support on any hardware that isn’t theirs and if a person lost data they wouldn’t be able to hold Apple accountable. But throwing the term ‘illegal’ around like the cops are going to come after you for using a product the way you want is just silly.I’m guessing that if Apple put in their EULA that you must be naked and stand on your head while using, people like ‘Tis Moi would do that religiously and yell at anyone else who didn’t bother that it was illegal. Because of course, whatever a big company writes in an EULA is the same as a legislative body writing a law according to some. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LOCZ6MVI6WEIKM6RBMXJ6YHA7M BeverlyJ

       So if you purchase a copy of OSX to run on a Hackintosh, how is this like torrenting a movie? I think you’re a little high on your horse. That so-called legitimate apple hardware, which is the same processor running in my PC is only different by the price tag that apple marketing puts on it and the industrial engineering that apple does that is outstanding.

    • J

      Its not theft. its piracy.

    • Ilya Vasiliev

      Ok we get it its illegal, but as the article states, they are not going to come after you. So go ahead and do it. If Apple has enough moral compass to use child slaves to build iphones, I have enough to violate their EULA…

      • ‘Tis Moi

        Justify & rationalize long enough…& ta-da!

        Two wrongs make a right!

        Apple’s behaviour goes to them, yours is for you to own. It’s your life & your call.

        …smh.

        • Ilya Vasiliev

          So you are trying to tell me that you are 100% moral. Besides, if you are putting a licensed version of OSX on your personal PC, you are in a grey area. Think of it this way, if firestone were to say that you can only put their tires on ford vehicles, and you put their tires os your chevy, can they hold you liable? no. Can they void your warranty? yes. Hackintosh is the same thing. You are just breaking their EULA. In which case the worst they can do is void your warranty and refuse to give you any support. In fact, Apple’s EULA has yet to be tested in an American court. Besides, who is Apple to talk about intellectual rights when it was them who copied linux/bsd to create their OS in the first place.

          So with this in mind. Why the heck would I buy a mac? You are paying twice the amount of money for the same hardware. If I want OSX on my computer, it is almost as easy to install as windows. Needless to say, I will never buy a mac. They are low-quality overpriced crap. However, you need to run OSX to develop iPhone apps, something I am getting into. So I will keep hackintoshing…

          But really, how does installing a licensed copy of OSX on a non-Apple machine constitute as stealing? I understand that you are breaking their rules, but how are you stealing? How does this equate to torrenting a pirated movie???

  • http://twitter.com/jsweder Joe Sweder

    “ That bottom line gives people jobs, pays taxes, and makes it possible for us to benefit from the software and hardware innovations Apple is making available through its products.”  This quote is mind-blowing. I’ve lost a little respect for you.

    • MattRyanTV

      As a former Apple contractor and husband of a former Apple contractor, I speak from personal experience. Apple’s sales help it grow which helped me pay rent for over a year.

      • Gibson

        Omg you are the pure example of idiots who mix apple with their life way to much, thats another reason why i hate apple to sutch a High Extent!!
        APPLE SALES HELPED YOU PAY FOR YOUR RENT ?

        GET OVER YOURSELF, CULTIST.

  • clasqm

    The chance of Apple busting into your home and charging you with building a Hackintosh is infinitesimally small. But the chance of Apple going after a well known website like Lockergnome that is posting articles on how to build a Hackintosh is a LOT bigger, and that is what this article is really about.

    • MattRyanTV

      This article is in response to the dozens of requests we get for an instructional piece. The article itself is more about the legal applications of making one. I don’t write about what I can’t build, so writing a how-to would imply that I have done. ;)

  • clasqm

    The chance of Apple busting into your home and charging you with building a Hackintosh is infinitesimally small. But the chance of Apple going after a well known website like Lockergnome that is posting articles on how to build a Hackintosh is a LOT bigger, and that is what this article is really about.

  • http://twitter.com/jrdn_v Jordan Vasquez

    What if you own a Mac and a DVD of, let’s say, Snow Leopard?  The license hasn’t been stolen and you do have a Mac to use it on. And what if you have parts that go exactly into another Mac. Can you create a Hackintosh then?

    • MattRyanTV

      I don’t understand your question. If you own a Mac, you can install OS X on it.

    • MattRyanTV

      I don’t understand your question. If you own a Mac, you can install OS X on it.

    • MattRyanTV

      I don’t understand your question. If you own a Mac, you can install OS X on it.

  • Steven Osborne

     Windows on a Mac Book, now that’s where it’s at.

    • MattRyanTV

      I might agree. Windows runs great on Macs.

    • MattRyanTV

      I might agree. Windows runs great on Macs.

    • MattRyanTV

      I might agree. Windows runs great on Macs.

  • Mohamed Hisham Hadjazi

    I bought a macbook pro laptop because it was the best available, and it is almost impossible to build a laptop by myself. however when it comes to desktops i will keep building and customizing it the way i want and run my favorite OS which is OS X. apple desktop offerings are either not powerful enough, like the imac or waaaay too overpriced like the mac pro. so no thanks apple i can build my own desktop that is faster, cheaper, quieter and prettier at least to my eyes.

    • https://plus.google.com/112301869379652563135/posts Matt Ryan

      I can understand your sentiment, though the question at hand in this piece is whether or not you’re actually pirating the software by doing so. Would you be on board with paying Microsoft Windows prices for OS X if it enabled you to legally build a Hackintosh?

      • Mohamed Hisham Hadjazi

        I agree with you that in building my hackintosh I’m violating the user agreement. But I would be happy to pay apple anything between $100 and $200 for OS X and just let me install it wherever i want. and if apple allow people to do so, I’m sure their share of the market will grow even more.

      • Gibson

        Im not a fan of Mac OS X but if apple one day made it legal to pay 200$, or even more possible for the Mac OS X os and put it on any computer you want, then most would probly say yes, and so would i.

    • Gibson

      So in other words you are actually custom building a computer and hackintoshing Mac OS X on it, Eh smart move, I like you lol.

      But a Macbook pro laptop is NOT the best available, In fact you would have one hell of a power i7 quad Gaming Laptop RIGHT at the price of base model i5 Dual 15 Inch Pro.
      Witch if im correct 1200$ is about it.

      1200$ will get you a quad and a DDR3 or DDR5 Graphics that far exceed everything the mac has until ur close to 2000$.

      and for 2000$ you have an insane laptop.
      But you can’t custom build them yourself, But companies like Alienware (While i don’t recommend them as they are the more expensive, and can exceed macbook pro’s even)
      They allow you to custom Graphics even, more cpu options, Higher memory ups. and Even Dual SLI/Crossfire, and hell Quad has been done, as well as more hard drive storages. But they are not the only pc laptop to do so, in fact others do it for cheaper.
      Thus where alienware is owned by dell now, so nobody rly likes them.

  • http://twitter.com/SourceBolt Muhamed Heljic

    I’ve heard from an unidentified source, that you are allowed to run OS X Server on a virtual machine that is not running on a Mac computer. So you could potentially virtually run OS X Server on your own Windows PC or Linux without getting into trouble. Whether or not this is true, remains to be seen.. Anyone have any ideas on this issue? I believe this decision was made by Apple fairly recently, so many people may not be aware of this.

  • MochaSuprimo

    I have another question, since you can dual boot OS X and Windows 7 , does that just mean windows is more lenient when it comes to using it on mac’s? i see it just as a profit for windows seeing as you buy the soft are for near 100 dollars. Also along the lines of things that are not supposed to run on something not running as well, on the complete reverse i have windows dual out on my mac and it runs beautifully , and i run high graphic games and it works better than my old pc.

  • http://www.bharatkumargupta.com/ Bharat Kumar Gupta

    @pirillo:disqus & @MattRyanTV:disqus quite a needed article and yeah i can’t stand people who brag about this stuff, stealing is stealing and i would rather pay for a much better design & experience than pirating software, it was quite interesting to read this article, no blogger wrote this kind of stuff for hackintoshes. so yeah i ve shared it and thanks guys!

    • Chris Monteiro

      This article does not talking about stealing at all. “Stealing” and violating a EULA are two different things. People who hackintosh BUY the software. I’m not denying what this article says, breaking the EULA probably is against the law, but you take that chance when you Hackintosh.

  • http://www.bharatkumargupta.com/ Bharat Kumar Gupta

    well i m both an apple & microsoft fan so i dont approve any of this pirating stuff.

    • MouthShutter

      You seem like a person who can do only what he is told to. Now shut up :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Büte/100000749176954 Chris Büte

    People here, who loves original, legal software and Apple Macs and laptops and stuff!! Do you know how expensive is an Apple computer in Europe? Do you know how the prices grow when thes are shipped from US in the stores? And by the way I’m a visual arts student. Don’t you think that I would be happier if I could work on a Mac instead of a cheap PC (which is actually 6-7 years old)? 

    Ok, well a Windows 7 for example is 119,99 usd. And what a regular guy gets monthly at the work is around 600 RON/Lei (184usd). Now how can you expect that a person for who is hard to buy food, to pay electricity, water, etc. to buy an OS, too? I use linux at home, so for me it’s not a big problem, but let say that I’m lucky, that at the university, I have opportunity to use Adobe CS4 and CS5 Master Collection, 3Ds Max (I’m lucky,too that I have a free copy with student license) and a legal copy of Windows 7 Pro.Let’s count it: If I have to buy these things how much does it cost? AROUND 6231usd!! And let say that I have to buy a laptop with a price around 760usd. TOTAL: 7000$!! For us it’s damn hard to buy these. I’m not against legal software or music or anything else, but you have to understand this.

    So if somebody builds a hackintosh, there are two versions: 1. just because it’s fun and “I will show you Apple!!” and 2. there’s no cash for expensive Macs.

    [Sorry for my grammar, english is not my native language.]

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Büte/100000749176954 Chris Büte

    People here, who loves original, legal software and Apple Macs and laptops and stuff!! Do you know how expensive is an Apple computer in Europe? Do you know how the prices grow when thes are shipped from US in the stores? And by the way I’m a visual arts student. Don’t you think that I would be happier if I could work on a Mac instead of a cheap PC (which is actually 6-7 years old)? 

    Ok, well a Windows 7 for example is 119,99 usd. And what a regular guy gets monthly at the work is around 600 RON/Lei (184usd). Now how can you expect that a person for who is hard to buy food, to pay electricity, water, etc. to buy an OS, too? I use linux at home, so for me it’s not a big problem, but let say that I’m lucky, that at the university, I have opportunity to use Adobe CS4 and CS5 Master Collection, 3Ds Max (I’m lucky,too that I have a free copy with student license) and a legal copy of Windows 7 Pro.Let’s count it: If I have to buy these things how much does it cost? AROUND 6231usd!! And let say that I have to buy a laptop with a price around 760usd. TOTAL: 7000$!! For us it’s damn hard to buy these. I’m not against legal software or music or anything else, but you have to understand this.

    So if somebody builds a hackintosh, there are two versions: 1. just because it’s fun and “I will show you Apple!!” and 2. there’s no cash for expensive Macs.

    [Sorry for my grammar, english is not my native language.]

    • Gibson

      Oh i totally agree, and this is actually the biggest reason why people build hackintosh’s is because The Unbelievable cost of Mac hardware versus the same price you will pay for the equivalent PC. They wanna use Mac OS, but they don’t want an over priced personal computer (PC). MAC IS A PC?! just with a diff os, it would be like Dell with it’s own operating systems, lets just be sure we are all clear on that!.

      Not saying all PC’s are cheaper tho. But the average core i7 quad Tower can be had for 600$ now, and easily another 100$ for the graphical power u need (if the machine does not already come with one good enough) and most of them come with plenty of ram and are easily upgradeable in the future (IE More then Just ram and a hard drive and a OS)
      so you don’t have to spend another 1200$ for the latest in hardware, at least 50% Of it.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/LIE7XHN2MXM6SLAQ6FNODJ4JRA Hsuai

    fdsa

  • Sfhsfh

    I think Chris is just a mad fanboy, inb4 he deletes my comment.

  • Dwilson2

    I’m curious about his statement: “While Apple itself was founded on the roots of hacking and modifying software and hardware to do something it wasn’t originally intended to do…”  Can you give some context?  Apple began with the Apple I and Apple II which were both designed from the ground up by Steve Wozniak.  Steve Jobs was against including expansion slots in the Apple II and kept them out of the first models of the Mac.  Certainly Steve and Steve had some hacking history before Apple was formed, but that doesn’t seem to have ever been part of the Apple ethos since – in fact just the opposite: total control of the computing environment and user experience.

  • Ed Zinn

    This is a joke! everyone your on candid camera! Really i read though some of these comments and they are really funny! Lets get to the point I wont pay for a apple cause i can buy the same hardware just as cheap. Your just paying for the name! So apple is just a monoply. When will apple be affordable to the poor people like me? Oh never so lets get it real apple is for UPPER CLASS. So when apple decides to give me a apple for 400 dollars ill get one. Im fine running osx on native intel hardware. Oh of course windows will run fine on a mac cause its a pc lol

    • Gibson

      In theory what you say is all true, however Majority of apple’s computers are All in one towers, while Other companies are starting to compete harder like, HP< acer, and asus, and what not, they often cost just as much and majority of the time do not always offer the Same or better hardware. In fact I Compared an imac 27 starting at 1699 versus an HP OMNI 27 inch starting at 1200$, the only difference is the hP OMNI was coming with a better CPU, and a bigger hard drive, and could be expanded up to 1500$! to have max memory (if hp was not offering it as a free upgrade, something apple never does) AND Up to a Radeon 7650 Graphics witch is still a Well Known series of the radeon chips, Being a laptop (not a desktop) graphics, much like the same ones int he iMac.

      so for close to 200$ less you still got a hell of a better deal, but the 27 Inch imac had a 512 DDR5 Radeon 6770m versus the 2GB DDR3 7650A, Competition is getting close but i'd like to think apple still holds the grin on ALl in one's HOWEVER IN OTHER CATEGORIES, THEY SIMPLE, LOOSE, i put my hand down on that, you will not get a desktop tower for less then 2 grand from them, and they still don't give you anywhere near what you can custom build, or even still purchase from many other companies for that price.

    • Nickan Fayyazi

      Oh wait, Macs actually have better specs than PCs…

      • Nickan Fayyazi

        Most PCs, at least.

  • Ed Zinn

    This is a joke! everyone your on candid camera! Really i read though some of these comments and they are really funny! Lets get to the point I wont pay for a apple cause i can buy the same hardware just as cheap. Your just paying for the name! So apple is just a monoply. When will apple be affordable to the poor people like me? Oh never so lets get it real apple is for UPPER CLASS. So when apple decides to give me a apple for 400 dollars ill get one. Im fine running osx on native intel hardware. Oh of course windows will run fine on a mac cause its a pc lol

  • William Dunne

    I have previously built a hackintosh on my dual xeon system and I had no problems, faster than a regular mac (used autodesk as benchmark) half the price. But I own a macbook pro and an imac and I prefer windows by FAR and anyone who thinks you need a mac for video editing is a fool. the most professional video editing software is sony vegas and aftereffects/premier and most the addons for them are limited to windows.

    Also Windows doesn’t monitor me as heavily and try and dictate my computer usage.

    • Gibson

      The cost of that software versus what apple asks for Fine cut pro tho however is a reason why some people either do a hackintosh or get a mac alone…

      But you are right, their’s nothing a mac rly does better then a windows computer.
      People really have to stop calling a Mac Out like it’s not a personal computer, Just simply pathetic, your going to go by Mac OS, Or Apple, Versus Microsoft Windows, Linux and other. or Simple mac OS vs Conventional, or other consumer.

  • http://twitter.com/JonTonC JonTon Carlson

    Interesting article. Always wondered about these legality questions and I appreciate the fine print being dissected and explained as I’ve never had the patience to dive into into it despite agreeing to it.

    I for one do have a hackintosh – I would have purchased a new Mac Pro however Apple did not have the particular hardware configuration I wanted. My mac is over clocked to 4.8Ghz, 32GB RAM and a 2GB video card. That and the four thousand I saved went towards other Apple products. I could have slapped windows on my hack box however I already have a Mac G5, Macbook Pro, iPad2 and iPhone4s and I like the compatibility and sync features between my systems. I understand the point of the article in that there’s no way around the licence terms of use. I suppose what I’m trying to say that, no, I don’t regret building a hackintosh as I do support Apple products – I only possess digital music and movies purchased from the iTunes stores – and I have spent thousands in legally purchased computer programs. You can throw the book of law at me and tell me that a thousand rights can’t erase my one wrong. I guess no matter how many cinema displays, magic mouses, apple keyboards, time capsules I buy, I probably won’t convince the nay-sayers…. I broke the license… “I’m a terrible human being”… I can read your mind.

    So here’s a question, if I buy a new macbook pro, gut it completely (if I had the talent to even do so) and upgrade the hardware, have I breached the license? Where is the line drawn exactly? I recently took out the macbook’s clunky hard drive and installed an SSD, took out the RAM and upped it to 8GB Corsair RAM (I was quite saddened by the no-name RAM that was initially put in there!!) – I’ve changed the hardware from what was previously sold to me and made it better on my own, more affordable terms. If I buy a Mac Pro, gut it, and change out the hardware to my liking, at what point in the multitude of different hardware configurations have I stepped outside of the terms of agreement??? Everything but the mobo? Leaving that which has been soldered?

    Again, an interesting topic of discussion – but at the end of the day, the only judge or jury to rule on the matter are not those in a court involving Apple vs. the accused, but rather the hackintosh supporters and the judgemental finger pointers that want to stand by their expensive, legally sound hardware investments.

    Knock on wood… ;)

  • http://twitter.com/ronknights Ron Knights

    This article didn’t totally address the issues properly as I see.

    A EULA is not “the law.” You can’t get brought to court or arrested for violating a EULA. In fact, EULAs themselves have come under legal challenges over the years.

    You can get sued or arrested for violating copyrights, patents, etc.

    You can NOT install all versions OSX in a Virtual Machine on a Mac. I’ve tried installing OSX Snow Leopard using Parallels Desktop 7 and VMWare Fusion. I got an error message stating I could only install the Server version of OSX. I did some research. There is a licensing issue that prevents you from installing Snow Leopard and earlier OSX versions in a Virtual Machine.

    I’ve heard that you can now install OSX Lion in a VM. I believe Parallels and VMWare arrived at some sort of licensing agreement.

    This I no good for me. I wanted to install Snow Leopard in a VM so I could install some Poser-related content. (The content provider, DAZ3D has not updated their Mac installers for 5 years!)

  • http://twitter.com/ronknights Ron Knights

    This article didn’t totally address the issues properly as I see.

    A EULA is not “the law.” You can’t get brought to court or arrested for violating a EULA. In fact, EULAs themselves have come under legal challenges over the years.

    You can get sued or arrested for violating copyrights, patents, etc.

    You can NOT install all versions OSX in a Virtual Machine on a Mac. I’ve tried installing OSX Snow Leopard using Parallels Desktop 7 and VMWare Fusion. I got an error message stating I could only install the Server version of OSX. I did some research. There is a licensing issue that prevents you from installing Snow Leopard and earlier OSX versions in a Virtual Machine.

    I’ve heard that you can now install OSX Lion in a VM. I believe Parallels and VMWare arrived at some sort of licensing agreement.

    This I no good for me. I wanted to install Snow Leopard in a VM so I could install some Poser-related content. (The content provider, DAZ3D has not updated their Mac installers for 5 years!)

  • http://twitter.com/ronknights Ron Knights

    This article didn’t totally address the issues properly as I see.

    A EULA is not “the law.” You can’t get brought to court or arrested for violating a EULA. In fact, EULAs themselves have come under legal challenges over the years.

    You can get sued or arrested for violating copyrights, patents, etc.

    You can NOT install all versions OSX in a Virtual Machine on a Mac. I’ve tried installing OSX Snow Leopard using Parallels Desktop 7 and VMWare Fusion. I got an error message stating I could only install the Server version of OSX. I did some research. There is a licensing issue that prevents you from installing Snow Leopard and earlier OSX versions in a Virtual Machine.

    I’ve heard that you can now install OSX Lion in a VM. I believe Parallels and VMWare arrived at some sort of licensing agreement.

    This I no good for me. I wanted to install Snow Leopard in a VM so I could install some Poser-related content. (The content provider, DAZ3D has not updated their Mac installers for 5 years!)

  • http://twitter.com/ronknights Ron Knights

    This article didn’t totally address the issues properly as I see.

    A EULA is not “the law.” You can’t get brought to court or arrested for violating a EULA. In fact, EULAs themselves have come under legal challenges over the years.

    You can get sued or arrested for violating copyrights, patents, etc.

    You can NOT install all versions OSX in a Virtual Machine on a Mac. I’ve tried installing OSX Snow Leopard using Parallels Desktop 7 and VMWare Fusion. I got an error message stating I could only install the Server version of OSX. I did some research. There is a licensing issue that prevents you from installing Snow Leopard and earlier OSX versions in a Virtual Machine.

    I’ve heard that you can now install OSX Lion in a VM. I believe Parallels and VMWare arrived at some sort of licensing agreement.

    This I no good for me. I wanted to install Snow Leopard in a VM so I could install some Poser-related content. (The content provider, DAZ3D has not updated their Mac installers for 5 years!)

  • Christopher Satterfield

    How many hackintosh people have gone out and gotten a Mac after using a Hack? Sure, I’ve made Hackintosh’s before, specifically a 2003 Pentium 4 system, which goes to prove that I really can’t afford a real mac, even though I want one. I’m getting a G5 pretty soon, which is going to be like heaven to me as it’s *gasp* a real mac, not something like the old 601 or 603 macs I have.

  • https://plus.google.com/112301869379652563135/posts Matt Ryan

    Wow, working as a customer service rep for a major corporation makes me a cultist. Thanks. Do you realize I write about Windows more than anything else?

  • http://twitter.com/fixgadget FixGadget

    In regards to legality/morality I think that if you set that aside Apple is pretty stingy. OSX doesn’t play fair and cannot really be accessed by the lay person on a virtual machine to do anything productive. I hate hearing if you need a mac or access to specific tools, just buy a Mac. IT Pros and end users alike sometimes need access to machines to test things, and provide demos/proof of concept tests for deployment/implementation. For example I work at a school, we are going to be using iPads for textbooks going forward and would like a mirroring solution. It could be so simple as implementing an AppleTV2 in each classroom connected to a projector. It’s almost more economical to create a virtual machine using Virtualbox, buy one OSX Lion or Snow Leopard copy per room and create a virtual machine for the purpose of mirroring. I tried the aforementioned solution and it stinks. We ended up going with an appletv per projector unit provisioned for each individual classroom… So if we go back to the topic, legal? I’m not quite sure what exactly is illegal if you are purchasing everything; intellectual property and patents, yes in that sense it is illegal. I don’t agree with it but it is what it is.

  • http://www.bed-adjustable.co.uk/waterbeds/ Waterbeds

    Hackintoshes have never worked out well for me. If you’re really that desperate, Mac Minis aren’t that expensive

  • http://www.sbobet.com/ Asian Handicap Betting

    Alienware computers are quite possibly the most heinously designed on earth

  • Alex Goodkind

    People seriously need to realize that when you buy Apple software you don’t own it. They are simply licensing to you to use it on Mac hardware. So when you force it to run on a PC you basically taken a car that someone allowed you to use and running it off a cliff. I don’t care if its to expensive if you don’t like it don’t buy it! If you buy the Apple software your agreeing to not use it on Non-Apple hardware. And seriously it really doesn’t matter if its stable or not; you agreed not to use it on non-Apple hardware!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LOCZ6MVI6WEIKM6RBMXJ6YHA7M BeverlyJ

    If your argument that Apple must sell it’s all in one solutions in order to be a viable company that can produce things like iPhone etc. were true, then you’ll have to explain how other insanely profitable companies like Oracle and Microsoft seem to get by  just selling mostly software (MS has xbox after all). Hackintosh is designed around a purchased copy of OSX. Apple makes a nice profit on its software, I don’t think we need to go to bat for Apple’s bottom line in order to justify why you don’t want to include Hackintosh tutorials on your site.

  • Pingback: Apple – software or hardware vendor? | Design & Troubleshooting

  • Rasar1120

    Technically I haven’t broken any laws in making a hackintosh. Mainly, because I did not buy the apple operating system, it was gifted to me. When installing there is no notification about me agreeing to the EULA. The EULA applies to people whom buy the OSX. So I, who did not, am not listed under it.

    Another thing, if I were to download the OSX, it would not be illegal, as I didn’t agree to it either. And based on the laws of my country, it says that only distribution of copyrighted material is infringement, so I didn’t break any laws downloading it.
    However, by download it, they can call upon a civil case for me not paying for it. However they couldn’t lift a finger against me for making a hackintosh with it, because I didn’t agree to the EULA.

  • ‘Tis Moi

    Rasar,

    Why post at all? I always wonder this…Just use it as you see fit. It’s clear that Apple thinks otherwise. Take your chances- but don’t attempt to dictate your skewed views of a EULA just so you feel it vindicates using the product outside it’s explicit use.

    Those who do this know they are wrong. Their presence in these forums exhibits their guilt. Find a therapist.

    • March

      Stop pretending to analyze everyone. It’s you that comes off sounding very crazy.

  • Rage Against The Machine

    I don’t understand why people are such big fans of corporate tyrant.  Steve Jobs was a psychopath.

  • ‘Tis Moi

    “Stop pretending to analyze everyone. It’s you that comes off sounding
    very crazy.”

    The very common tactic of projection/attack of someone desperate to uphold wrong-doing.

    …and yet, I keep seeing ever more posts here attempting to justify using the Apple OS outside of it’s EULA. I’m really amazed at the justifications. “It’s not really bad- see, here’s a way to read this EULA so it’s okay”,
    or “OSX runs better on my PC”, or “Apple charges too much” ~ please…I’m not surprised at the inability of the cheaters to “own” their actions, though.

    • March

      LOL! You have serious issues! 
      No one has to justify anythingto you. You’re one of those funny internet narcissists that seems to think just pointing and yelling “Evildooer!!” at others matters a whole hill of beans. Go build a Hackintosh. Maybe it’ll chill you out. :P

  • ‘Tis Moi

    Thanks for perfectly modelling my point about projection. This remains a case of rationalizing & justifying- not to me, but to yourselves…you are a charmer, though~ ;)

    • March

      Sorry, can’t read your reply. This stacked comment format is silly!

      I’m sure it was more of you projecting that everyone else is projecting!

      Typing this on a Hackintosh laptop! Makes it even sweeter that busibodies like you think it’s illegal! Awesome!

  • Hendawg

    Thanks for the article, would it be illegal to hackintosh (even if you bought the OS X) and then design a game for iOS and still register as a apple developer?

  • http://www.facebook.com/fraotcaladez Fraot Caladez

    Why Microsfot don’t establish its own terms of use and say “Windows is not allowed to run on a Macintosh computer”?
    Why many people have hackintoshes? Because Macs are too exepensive.
    Life is unfair, I bought my MacBook in 2011 and I thought I was awesome, then, my friends were gradually buying laptops especially for gaming and guess what… ALL of their laptops are way better than mine, and two of them were cheaper. Also, the last one of my friends just bought an ASUS two weeks ago, it was $1990 (the price for a decent MacBook Pro), and it can run like 4 Crysis 2 at the same time at max settings and still have Chrome open with dozens of tabs open.

    • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

      Because “too expensive” and “way better” aren’t relative arguments. Not in the slightest. ;)
      Microsoft took a different strategy until recently, when they backhanded OEMs and took up Apple’s strategy with the pending Surface Windows tablets.

      • http://www.facebook.com/fraotcaladez Fraot Caladez

        Can’t understand you first sentence… are they relative or not?
        If you say “better” is relative, then a laptop with 12 GB of RAM, 3 GB of VRAM and an Ivy Bridge of 2.3 GHz is relatively better than a MacBook Pro with 4 GB and barely 1 GB of VRAM?

        Explain yourself please, in order to not create more confusion. Haha.

        • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

          Hardware specs are only part of the picture, not the entire landscape of experience. Sorry I have to be the one to break it to you. ;)

          • http://www.facebook.com/fraotcaladez Fraot Caladez

            Well, specs are a huge part. I do love my Mac and all, but the fact that it can’t run some games at max and I have to run them in the lowest setting and they’re still choppy, is disappointing. Also, for 3D modeling, it has a hard time when the model start to have shape.

            A normal user may or may not notice the not-so-good performance.
            Whatever, I’m just telling you a very valid reason of why some people make Hackintoshes.

          • Ilya Vasiliev

            Nowadays, it is. For example, Adobe Products which are made for both windows and mac platforms (instead of being made for one and ported to the other) benchmark exactly the same on a mac as a PC. Provided that the spec sheet is identical. In fact apple hardware is considered to be on the low end of the scale of quality. Which does not surprise me since all of their internal components are taken from the same parts bin as HP and Dell, manufactured by Foxconn in Shenzhen, China. So if you make an ASUS hackintosh, vs buying an Apple imac, it will last you longer. Don’t even get me started on upgradeability…

  • http://www.facebook.com/fraotcaladez Fraot Caladez

    Why Microsfot don’t establish its own terms of use and say “Windows is not allowed to run on a Macintosh computer”?
    Why many people have hackintoshes? Because Macs are too exepensive.
    Life is unfair, I bought my MacBook in 2011 and I thought I was awesome, then, my friends were gradually buying laptops especially for gaming and guess what… ALL of their laptops are way better than mine, and two of them were cheaper. Also, the last one of my friends just bought an ASUS two weeks ago, it was $1990 (the price for a decent MacBook Pro), and it can run like 4 Crysis 2 at the same time at max settings and still have Chrome open with dozens of tabs open.

  • Nickan Fayyazi

    Yes, Microsoft is more lenient for Windows. Apple is very restrictive. As far as I know, the only software they allow to run on Windows machines are Safari, iTunes, and Quicktime.

  • Nickan Fayyazi

    What an ignorant and insulting comment. Did you know not everyone is in the top 1% like you are? Sure, you don’t have to be that rich to afford a Mac, but what if you’re a child? Or unemployed. I can’t believe people who say things like this (like Mitt Romney) don’t get in trouble for it!

  • bram

    What if I buy an old G4, swap out the motherboard with an gigabyte one,
    install linux + os in a virtual machine.
    While my motherboard isn’t branded “apple”, the computer as a whole is.
    If they would say “but you motherboard isn’t from apple” no but neither are the parts on apple it’s motherboards.
    Also since I paid the premium price for the G4 at some point.

  • http://twitter.com/JediCote Jedi Cote

    The only reason why I would build a hackintosh is due to the fact I find it depressing to see the price of Apple hardware and then compare the price of building a PC with same or similar hardware specs.

  • Jackel

    Why would anyone want to do that when osx is slow and has a lotta problems?Just modify your car and hackyour windows computer instead.

  • http://twitter.com/zoomos Scott

    It’s legal if you install it for personal use, if you try to sell computers with OSX installed, it’s illegal.

  • Andrew Jamison

    Is Mac OS X worth the effort of spending brain power arguing over who is right and wrong? I personally would love to buy a mac but i like some feel they are over priced, however rather then buy a copy and hack it as some have done (which is fine for them) I used Windows 7 and just deal with it. In the end an OS is a but merely a tool that allows you to use your hardware together.

    Now as Ryan mentioned legally it is wrong but ethically that can only be determined by the set of ethics the individual using it has for themselves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000261462515 Drake Welsh

    I am a huge Apple fanboy AND I’m building a Hackintosh. I’m also a CGI Artist, which means performance is above and beyond the most important thing, and though I love OSX to death, I simply can’t afford the Mac Pros, especially since they have yet to be updated.

  • neohavock

    Yes, technically it is Legal (perfectly legal in some countries no matter what Apple thinks), it is however against the EULA. If you live in a country where the EULA is not enforceable the only thing Apple can do is deny service or updates (but Apple being a greedy monopolistic bully, they will go after you in court because they know you can not afford to fight them, here in the United States where we have become overly and frivolously litigious).

  • http://twitter.com/Mrhuntjim Molnár István János

    I don’t know how, in Romania we have an (apple) store that sells apple products aswel as hackintosh computers, or as they call them “mac pc’s”. They have a website macpc.ro, it’s pretty funny to read about the legality issues …

  • Tyler Wyant

    I would think that if you have time to make one, then you have time to make the money to buy a computer from apple. Time not well wasted.

  • mattcurr

    what if I took an old G5 (or for that matter, old Mac Pro) upgraded the motherboard and CPU (say, Gigabyte and Ivy Bridge). And a new hard drive SSD to boot from. And then run Hackintosh on it. Is that legal?

    The point is, if Apple upgraded the Pro line-up to current CPUs and connectors (USB3, Thunderbolt) I’d happily buy one. But they dont. I want a kickass Video editing machine that will be future-proof for 5 years, but I work for government and have to toe the line, legally speaking

  • EatABagOfDicksMF

    This site is sooo spineless for taking this position and supporting it with great variously.

  • http://twitter.com/Harold Harold

    Alright, I’m not going to be building my Hackintosh just yet. Perhaps I’ll just Darwin on it…

  • http://twitter.com/johnmcduffie John McDuffie

    Linux trumps Suckintosh and Windoze. Beyond that, do not buy software or hardware that you cannot own. If I buy a new Ford (sorry Chevy folks) and I want to paint it pink with purple stripes and put square wheels on it, Ford does not care. If I want to add mayo to my McDonalds cheeseburger— I do not need their permission. If I pay a stupid amount of money for an inferior MAC, I will do with it as I please. Stop letting big corps lead you around by the nose because they have a good marketing department. Yes, I know I am late sheeple, but someone has to save you from your own lunacy.

  • kyij

    Maybe a genius out there will realize that people out there are going to build hackintoshes no matter what due to price.. just like people torrent other OS’s, movies, and games..

    But if you give the ethical people a legal way to do this, they will get business – say offer a license that is exactly the same but the eula is changed to say “any hardware” but charge $200 for this certain version..

    Apple is not making 1000$ when they sell you the computer, they are going to make 1000$ – (costs + labor + overhead + tax) = net. So if they skip the extra costs and just sell the updated software then win-win.

    Yes people will still torrent the software – but then they still have legal action for piracy then.. but people already torrent osx even though it’s only $30 so that’s just given anyhow.

  • Ilya Vasiliev

    “The only thing you would have going for you is that before you got
    sued, it would be tough for Apple to find you and it would be a net
    financial loss for Apple to sue you, even if [it] won.”

    This is the part that matters to those building hackintoshes, they will not come after you because it would be a waste of their money. Anyway, how would they even find you. Plus, if you google the term “hackintosh”, there are dozens of high-traffic websites and forums dedicated to hackintoshes. Heck, some of them make a killing off of advertising. So if Apple were to start coming after hackintoshes, they would fist come after the owners of those websites which provide resources and step-by-step guides to doing it. Then they would come after the thousands of people who talk about their hackintosh builds on the forums, and then, if they still have money, they might come after you.

    But, going back to the quote, they won’t sue you unless you pull some psystar sh*t. So if you want to build a hackintosh, go ahead. It is actually easier than you think. Almost as easy as installing Windows. All you have to do is load OSX onto a bootable USB, install it on your pc, then install multibeast from another USB stick, and select the drivers you need. Its a good Idea to write down the models of all of your hardware components (GPU, CPU, Sound Card, Wireless controller, ect…) even if they are onboard – on a piece of paper while you are doing it. Nowadays, it is extremely easy to do YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE A TECH GENIUS TO DO THIS. It took me 40 minutes to have a fully functioning mac at HALF THE PRICE!!!

  • Florian B

    That bottom line gives people jobs, pays taxes, and makes it possible for us to benefit from the software and hardware innovations Apple is making available through its products…

    Pay taxes ?

    Look for the “Double irish” on google.

  • Johny M

    Can I modify the hardware ?
    Put a bigger ssd, change the keyboard – WHATEVER ?
    Or I DON’T OWN the HARDWARE either ?
    Apple has become just a big shit company like Microsoft and Google.

  • brad

    Two interesting discussions here, legality and morality, and they’re two different things.For starters, legality is absolute, but some crimes are morally worse than others. On the legal question, it seems hard to argue that EULA violation is legal, but as one commenter said, Apple’s EULA hasn’t really been tested in court. IOW, there are legal limits as to what a EULA can demand. As for the moral question, is violation of the EULA really something to feel guilty about or be judgmental about? It’s definitely not stealing if you pay for it, so violating a use agreement isn’t stealing, and it’s not piracy. It’s simply violating a use agreement. Period. You’re doing something you agreed not to do. Feel guilty? Feel judgmental? How do you feel about speeding in your car, something that risks bodily harm to innocent people? Speaking for myself, I would never use software I haven’t paid for and don’t copy or torrent music, but I don’t feel bad at all about hackintosh.

  • The Curious!

    Intresting!

  • Mooncalf2012

    I was an Apple tech around the time that Apple killed the PowerPC, and started building on Intel base. It always seemed logical that other than the cost involved in creating a custom CPU, that Job’s intention was to make a version of OS X that would run on any intel machine to eventually compete with Microsoft. Now Apple is back to building custom chips again in the iPhone, and iPad, and nearly all modern PC’s are running the same CPU, GPU, brand controllers, whereas before, it would have been cost prohibitive to develop all the needed drivers to make the average generic PC run OS X reliably. Now it would be a no brainer to sell a specialized version of OS X, as an alternative to Windows, considering the market share that iPhone has a hold of. My biggest fear since Steve left us, is that Apple might abandon Intel at some point in favor of their proprietary A-Chip, running OS X to thwart loss of sales from Hackintosh systems. I believe only Job’s himself would ever have the balls to venture into Gate’s domain with an affordable OS X Stand-alone. When I look back, the PowerPC Mac had a totally different “look and feel”, that seemed to vanish overnight with the Intel code. The Intel was suddenly the new brains of the Macintosh, but it felt to me more like a heart transplant. Based on the legacy of Jobs, I pray that Apple has the heart to tolerate what is a further “grassroots” movement of building Hackintosh machines, because I’m tired of hearing the old gripe from Windows fanatics about the cost of Mac, etc. when in many ways the average ‘Hackintosh’ running OS X, is better than a real Mac, and a PC running Windows, combined.