Squeezing More Life From Older Apple Hardware

Last year with the release of OSx Mojave support for many older models was dropped. While I do have a newer Macbook Pro I also have an old 2011 that’s still going strong thanks to its upgradability. As a DevOps professional that’s always on call I take a laptop with me nearly everywhere I go. This means dinner, concerts, band practice, bars, out of town trips etc. Some of these places I am concerned about theft and do not feel like risking having a $3000+ laptop stolen. So for some time now I’ve been using the trusty old 2011 Macbook Pro as my on call go everywhere machine. The only bummer is that Mojave is not supported on this hardware and that’s a shame as it is still plenty powerful.

Why would you want to use old hardware you ask? Put simply because I can and it fits the use case of what I’m doing. In fact I’m typing this blog right now on the old 2011 Macbook Pro. One of the biggest downfalls of the recent Apple hardware trends after 2012 is the lack of replaceable parts and the disposability of high dollar machines. For example if you don’t opt for a RAM upgrade at the time of purchasing a new Mac portable you’re stuck with that RAM permanently. Sure you can choose the RAM upgrade when you purchase but the cost of that RAM upgrade is many times more than what it would cost to do it yourself when those parts were user replaceable. The biggest problem here comes down waste, and less usable years out of an otherwise usable machine.

To further prove my point I upgraded the old 2011 MacBook Pro with a SATA SSD and 8gb of RAM. Comparing this to the function key late 2016 MacBook Pro the GeekBench CPU benchmarks were astoundingly not as earth shatteringly different as one might expect. Both machines feature and Intel i5 dual core processor with 8gb of RAM. Here are the results:

2011 13” MacBook Pro (i5 8gb)
– Single core: 2948 
-Multi core 5673

2016 13” MacBook Pro (i5 8gb)
– Single core: 3888 
– Multi core: 7721

So how to get Mojave on this old unsupported MacBook Pro… Well fortunately DosDude1 has created a patcher tool that essentially helps you to create a bootable MacOS USB stick along with a patching utility you run at the end of the install process that adds in kexts and other patches to extend functionality to older devices. The tool can be downloaded from his site here: http://dosdude1.com/mojave/#downloads

To complete the process you will need at least 10gb of space on a flash drive, to install the utility and follow the directions here: http://dosdude1.com/mojave/#instructions

I’ve been running Mojave on this machine without any issues for the past 2 months and all has been well. The only gotcha is to make sure you check his site before installing minor release updates as some newer MacOS patches require an updated version of the tool to be installed. If you forget to this and find your machine unbootable all hope is not lost, simply create a new bootable flash drive from another Mac and proceed to install the OS again. This will not overwrite your files or home directory unless you erase the partition using disk utility.