Got an Older Mac? MLPostFactor Installs OS X 10.8.3 on Old Unsupported Macs

Apr 20, 2013 - 20 Comments

Installing OS X Mountain Lion on older Macs with MLPostFactor Many older Macs lost out on the ability to run OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.3!), but some hard working fellows have created a free third party tool called MLPostFactor that allows for the newest version of OS X to be installed on older, officially unsupported Macs. The process used to be quite complicated, but with MLPostFactor it’s easier than ever and can now be done by creating a partition, running the MLPF app, installing OS X as usual, then using the MLPostFactor app again to patch the ‘failed’ installation. Reboot and automagically OS X Mountain Lion will be running on the older Macs, breathing new life into older hardware.

This makes for an excellent weekend project, and if you’re interested in trying this out yourself, review the compatible older Mac list to see if the machine you want to install is supported.

MLPostFactor Compatible Macs

  • Mac released from 2006 to 2008 with Core 2 Duo CPU and Lion installed – PPC, Core Duo, and Core Solo chips are not supported
  • MacBook late 2006, 2007, and 2008
  • MacBook Air, mid 2007
  • MacBook Pro late 2007 and mid 2007
  • iMac 2006
  • Mac Mini 2006
  • Mac Pro 2006, 2007
  • Xserve 2006, and early 2008

The requirements are basically such that if it supports Lion, it will now support Mountain Lion. Do note that some of the older Mac Pro and Xserve models have specific GPU requirements as well, so be sure to read the full MLPostFactor tutorial before beginning in order to determine if there is anything incompatible with the specific Mac model you are looking to install this on.

If you meet the requirements, you’ll need to download the MLPostFactor app (link here), re-download Mountain Lion from the App Store, and, ideally, create a installer drive as if you were going to perform a clean install on a regular compatible Mac.

If your older Mac doesn’t fit the compatibility list, don’t feel too bad, but try out some tips to speed it up instead to breathe some new life into it. It won’t be running a new OS, but at least it’ll be a bit quicker.

Thanks to hackerwayne for the tip, and for creating MLPostFactor!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Sid says:

    Will this work on my Mac IIcx?

  2. Alrik says:

    Why would you want to recommend installing Mountain Lion on older Macs? 10.8 requires a huge amount of internal memory to run nowhere near as fast as 10.5 or 10.6. It’s just not a very good OS. Who care if it’s Facebook-integrated, it’s slooooow.

    • Paul says:

      Mountain Lion is better than Lion, and some of the Macs that support 10.7 Lion don’t support 10.8 Mountain Lion. For those at the least, it’s a great upgrade, though I agree that for users on 10.6 it’s probably better to stay on Snow Leopard.

    • Howie says:

      Mountain Lion isn’t slow. Maybe you’re having problems, but it’s not fair to believe that the OS itself is the problem just based on your unique situation. It’s runs faster on my MacBook Pro late-2011 than Lion did. This is likely because of the improved graphics drivers, and other improvements. I have two Mac minis at home (mid-2011, late-2012) that run great on Mountain Lion. Perhaps you should have an Apple tech check out your system instead of complaining about the problem here. All of this aside… I wouldn’t advise that anyone try this. Apple excluded those systems for a reason. My older Mac mini mid-2007 ran fine on Lion, but it had problems with the advanced UI effects such as entering Launchpad, or Mission Control. It only has 64MB of video RAM, so this is likely the reason. Also, its SATA bus only runs at 1.5Gb/s. I recently installed a hybrid SSD/hard drive into the system, and that sped it up a great deal. It still stutters a bit with the advanced graphical effects in Lion. The hybrid drive made it a viable spare system that I can use at my office when I don’t have my laptop handy, but I don’t really want to push it any further by installing an unsupported hack.

      • DG says:

        Yeah but, why not just install on a separate drive? You then discard if you don’t like it.
        ‘Apple excluded those…….’ Some of the reasons Apple don’t support the older hardware are PURELY financial remember. My 2006MP 1,1 runs 10.8.2 just fine. The thing is fast like heck.

    • Mike says:

      I’m not in love with Mountain Lion either and I’d rather like to see instructions on how to install Snow Leopard on a new MBP in case I’ll have to replace my 2008 MBP. Can it be done?

      • david says:

        It is not possible for the newest Macs that ship with 10.8+ to run older versions of Mac OS X like 10.6, they require drivers and system resources only contained within the releases they ship with.

    • Robbertvdd says:

      Mountain Lion isn’t slow at all. I’m running it on the oldest and slowest white MacBook that is officially supported by Mountain Lion and it’s running absolutely perfectly.

  3. Wrong list says:

    Totally wrong list…
    – MacBook Pro mid 2007 is officially supported by ML,
    – MacBook Air mid 2007… IT DOESN’T EVEN EXIST!!!

  4. Dr. Hicks says:

    My Colour Classic was a no go :-(

  5. Chris says:

    This is what I’ve been looking for as a successor to XPostFacto which did basically the same thing for Macs passed by certain versions of OS X in the PPC days. Seems to look like it will work well being my 06′ 1st gen MacPro ran all the d ev builds of Mountain Lion till the 2nd to last build just before the GM/retail build.

  6. Gaurav K says:

    I have a macbook with 10.5.8 on it. MLPostFactor does not run on that os version.
    What should i do?

  7. aris says:

    does anyone have a link of a downloadable version of ML 10.8.3?

  8. Beat says:

    It’s an ambitious project for mac lovers. But I don’t side with people who state that Apple blocks certain Macs which are ‘perfectly’ capable of running anything beyond lion quite well. I’ve tested it and my graphics card doesn’t puĺl some of the effects in post factor’s tweaked Mountain Lion resulting in glitchy and laggy effects. The OS also doesnt talk to its hardware which gives a grey and temporary frozen sceen instead of a sleepmode. And an external display will not be recognised. In my humble opinion; it’s not presentable nor supportable by Apple. And running yosemite is a full illusion as certain windows block pull down menus and the dock is near static, it’s fun to see but far from functional. its will be a dissapointing experience for an average user and therefore Apple keeps the box closed. Apple tries to innovate with both hardware and its OS. Optimizing effects for the latest graphic cards, and tweaking the OS to make it run as smooth as possible. To make use of new hardware. This results in older hardware being left behind. But this old hardware does it very well on older versions of the OS. If you are looking for a smooth and full functional “yosemite experience” on an 2007 macbook, install Snow leopard or Lion. Or buy one with the specs that can handle the latest versions of its OS. Most post 2009 models can do it.

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