What is Hackintosh? Does it illegal to use?

What is Hackintosh? Does it illegal to use?

Hackintosh is a portmanteau of the terms hacking and Macintosh. A Hackintosh is a type of non-Apple computer designed to run unauthorized versions of macOS. Hackintosh laptops are sometimes referred to as Hackbooks. This technique allows an x86 and/or x86-64 processor architecture to run operating systems from the Mac OS X family and is designed through jailbreaking or modifying a Mac OS for compatibility on x86 processors.

When you buy OS X software from Apple, you are subject to the terms of Apple’s end-user license agreement (EULA).  The EULA provides, first, that you don’t buy the software—you only license it. And that the license terms do not permit you to install the software on non-Apple hardware. Thus, if you install OS X on a non-Apple machine - making a  “Hackintosh” - you are in breach of contract and also copyright law.

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.

According to Apple, Hackintosh computers are illegal, per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. In addition, creating a Hackintosh computer violates Apple's end-user license agreement (EULA) for any operating system in the OS X family.

By determining the right hardware and configuration, it’s possible to run Apple’s operating system on a regular PC. A Hackintosh computer is a non-Apple PC running Apple’s OS X. In other words, it’s a method to run Apple’s pleasant operating system on an inexpensive machine.

Does it illegal to use?

Since installing macOS on non-Apple hardware is a breach of their software licensing agreement, technically speaking, it’s illegal to install and use macOS on non-Apple hardware. Apple has not specifically targeted any individual for building a Hackintosh to the best of my knowledge. However, there is a well-known case of Psystar, a company that was based in Florida that sold Hackintoshes with Mac OS X 10.5 pre-installed. Apple sued them to oblivion and they ceased their existence. So, if you’re doing it on your own and you’re not planning on selling Hackintoshes commercially, you’re going to be fine. Though It’s not legal, you’re not going to be jailed for it.

 

There’s no official support for Hackintosh issues and you’ll have to rely on the Hackintosh community. In short, your Hackintosh laptop will have a few bugs and some hardware might not work smoothly.

It’s easy to ignore the Apple EULA if one decides to experiment on his own hardware for personal use.

If you ask the courts that handled the Psystar case, ruling in favor of Apple, the answer would be a most definite no.

The important thing is, even though Apple can challenge the use of Hackintosh for breach of contract, DMCA violations, and copyright infringement, it won’t be willing to spend tons of money. Such cases are very expensive. Even though Apple has billions of dollars, there’s the risk of not been able to convince the jury and attract negative attention.

Recommended for you