Guide: Install macOS 11 (Big Sur) Without VM Clone

DISCLAIMER: This was tested on a Ryzen CPU. Whilst it is highly likely that this solution will work on Intel machines, expect that it might not work.

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Introduction

I had posted about my success with installing Big Sur without cloning a virtual machine earlier today. I thought it may be beneficial to create a guide for those wishing to install Big Sur who have been putting it off due to the complexity of the original method. Thanks to the wizards working on Opencore, the installer now boots and it is now possible to either upgrade to Big Sur or make a clean install. I am aiming the content of this guide to someone who might be new to Opencore, but has made an Opencore Hackintosh before. If you have any issues with your install, please consult the Opencore troubleshooting guide before asking me. I am happy to help with unique issues related to Big Sur.

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My Hardware

This method should be compatible with any "hackintoshable" device. If you do run into hardware compatibility issues however, here are my hardware specifications.

​CPU: Ryzen 5 1500x

Motherboard: Asus Prime B350 Plus

Graphics: ASUS OC Radeon RX 5500XT 8GB

BIOS Version: 5407

LAN: Realtek PCIe LAN (Essentially the one that works with RTL8111.kext)

Bluetooth/WiFi: N/A

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What you will need

The biggest thing you are going to need is either a real Mac or a Hackintosh running Catalina. In order to build Opencore and the required kernel extensions, you will need the latest version of Xcode which only runs on Catalina. With that out of the way, here is a list of everything else you need.

  • A developer account. I do not condone any other method of obtaining Big Sur at this time if it isn't Apple's official way. If you have a developer account, download the 'Developer Beta Access Utility' and install it. Then you will be able to download the Big Sur beta application through the Software Updates tab in System Preferences.
  • A 16gb USB stick (Only for clean installs).
  • Clover Configurator, or some other means of mounting an EFI partition.
  • The latest 'from source' versions of the following (I used OCBuilder to build them, read further down to learn more about that).
    • Opencore
    • Lilu
    • WhateverGreen
    • AppleALC (Or VoodooHDA depending on if you still use that)
    • VirtualSMC
    • Your network extensions (RTL8111, SmallTreeIntel, or whatever you use)
  • The latest version of Xcode
  • Optional but HIGHLY recommended: OCBuilder (I used this to save time compiling. It essentially compiles the latest debug versions of Opencore and all the popular kernel extensions. I strongly recommend it, however you can just build them using terminal if you like).
  • AMD USERS ONLY! - You will need the experimental AMD kernel patches for Opencore. On the Github page it does say that you shouldn't run these patches alongside any other OS. I would heed this warning, although I dual booted Big Sur and Windows 10 with these patches with no issues whatsoever.
  • Some time, patience, and a device that can be "hackintoshed".

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Guide

So! Once you have either a real Mac or Hackintosh running Catalina, have all the necessary files and applications, and enough time, you are ready to go! If you have already opened your Xcode installation before then skip this part of the guide. Otherwise, read on!

  1. Open Xcode.
  2. Agree to the terms and conditions.
  3. Let Xcode finish installing components.
  4. Then you can quit Xcode, that's all you need to do inside it!

Now you will need to compile the latest source version of Opencore, your required kernel extensions, and drivers. To do this we will need to use Xcode's build tools or OCBuilder. For those who want to just build everything with Xcode in the terminal, feel free to skip this part of the guide. For those wanting to go the easy route, keep reading!

  1. Open OCBuilder (It will throw a security error so just go into System Preferences > Security and click 'Open Anyway')
  2. On the drop down box where it says "Select Version", make sure Debug is selected.
  3. Click on the checkbox 'With Kexts?' to include the latest common kernel extensions.
  4. Underneath that, click on the 'Choose...' button. Here you will choose a directory to save the finished build to.
  5. Once that is finished, click build! It will take some time, be patient. If it looks like it is locked up it likely isn't, just give it 15-25 minutes. NOTE: The first time you build with OCBuilder it will need to install programs like NASM. When it does, it will prompt you to enter your administrator's password in order to install.
  6. Once the build is completed, navigate to the directory in which OCBuilder saved your build to and take out the 'EFI' folder. Put it somewhere easy to get to like the desktop. This will be the 'EFI' folder you use while following the Opencore guide.

Now you will need to complete the Opencore guide as you would normally do with a Hackintosh install. There are differences for installing Big Sur, however. Here they are noted below!

  • Skip over downloading Opencore, you have already done it obviously.
  • The config.plist file has some important exceptions (Make sure you are using ProperTree for this).
    • Under Booter > Quirks, you will need to set RebuildAppleMemoryMap to False, and SetupVirtualMap to True. This is likely unnecessary, but these were the settings that I had used when it booted. If you wish to test having both set to 'True' then please do and tell me the results, I'd love to know!
    • Thanks to u/KodeyThomas, we have some quick patches in order for Big Sur to boot into the desktop.
      • In your boot-args, add the argument -lilubetaall
      • Under NVRAM > Add > 7C436110-AB2A-4BBB-A880-FE41995C9F82, add the child booter-fileset-kernel, and another child under the same parent called booster-fileset-basesystem. Both should be of the Data type with both values set to <00>
      • AMD ONLY - Instead of using the standard AMD kernel patches, make sure you use the experimental ones linked above.
    • Under boot-args, add the argument vsmcgen=1
    • Make sure that you add -v to your boot-args, it will be extremely helpful later.
  • Everything else is the same, there is nothing else to do here!

Lastly for this section, you will need to make a decision. Either you will do a clean install or an upgrade. For an upgrade, keep reading. If you are wanting a clean install, keep scrolling until you find the 'CLEAN INSTALL' section.

UPGRADING

  1. Make sure you have already downloaded the Big Sur app as stated under the 'What you will need' section.
  2. Open Clover Configurator, or your EFI mounter of choice, and mount the EFI partition of your drive with macOS installed.
  3. Open the EFI partition.
  4. BACKUP YOUR EFI FOLDER! If the EFI folder that you have just made does not work, you will need a way of getting back into the OS. I recommend creating a Catalina USB installer with your original EFI folder in the EFI partition just in case it doesn't work
  5. Once backed up, delete the old EFI folder out of the partition and paste in the new one you created before.
  6. Open up the 'Install Big Sur Beta' app you installed and follow the prompts to install.
  7. Once you have restarted, select the macOS Installer option in Opencore.
  8. The install will take 20-30 minutes.
  9. Your computer will likely restart just before the progress bar reaches the end. When it does, boot from your USB, and select the macOS Installer option in Opencore again. Wait until the verbose output stops at something like Forcing CS_RUNTIME for entitlement and keep waiting. If nothing happens for about a minute, you are done! Force restart your computer and select the 'YOUR_DRIVE_NAME_HERE-Data' option and let it boot. Follow the on-screen prompts to get to the desktop.
  10. Congratulations, you have successfully installed macOS 11 Big Sur on your Hackintosh!
  • NOTE: The first time you restart you and boot into Big Sur you will notice a few things. The first is that the macOS Installer partition is still there, just ignore it. The second is that your drive with the install on it has a '-Data' label alongside it, this is normal now. Lastly, you will VERY LIKELY be met with a black screen the first time you enter Big Sur after a restart. Literally all I did to fix the problem was mash a few keys and the login window appeared. After this one time, it won't boot to a black screen again. If it does, just mash the keyboard!

CLEAN INSTALL

  1. Firstly, you will need to create the macOS Big Sur bootable installer. To do this, get your 16gb USB drive and format it in Disk Utility with the following settings.
    1. Name: whatever you like it really doesn't matter
    2. Format: Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
    3. Scheme: GUID Partition Map
  2. FOR BETA 2: Next, open terminal and type in the following command sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Big\ Sur\ Beta.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/VOLUME_NAME_HERE
    1. FOR BETA 1: Next, open terminal and type in the following command sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Beta.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/VOLUME_NAME_HERE
  3. Let the createinstallmedia command do its magic. It might take a bit.
  4. Once that is done, open up Clover Configurator, or your EFI mounter of choice, and mount the EFI partition of your USB.
  5. Open the EFI partition you just mounted and copy over the EFI folder you created before into it.
  6. Restart and boot from your USB.
  7. Select either the Install macOS Big Sur Beta, or the Install macOS Beta from the Opencore options, depending on if you created either a Beta 2 or Beta 1 USB.
  8. Install macOS as you would Catalina. Format the drive you will use to install macOS, and then install Big Sur through the on-screen prompts.
  9. It will say '3 minutes remaining for maybe 5-10 minutes', just be patient, it is working!
  10. Once your computer restarts, boot again to your USB and select the 'macOS Installer' option from the Opencore menu.
  11. The install will take roughly 30 minutes. It will likely restart just before the progress bar reaches the end.
  12. Once you restart, select the 'macOS Installer' option again from the Opencore menu. This time, wait for the verbose output to spit out something like Forcing CS_RUNTIME for entitlement. Give it about a minute to make sure that it is hanging there. If it is, you are done! Force restart your computer and boot from your USB again. Select the 'YOUR_DRIVE_NAME_HERE-Data' option in the Opencore menu and boot into Big Sur. Follow the on-screen prompts to get onto the desktop.
  13. Congratulations, you have successfully installed macOS 11 Big Sur on your Hackintosh!
  • NOTE: The first time you restart you and boot into Big Sur you will notice a few things. The first is that the macOS Installer partition is still there, just ignore it. The second is that your drive with the install on it has a '-Data' label alongside it, this is normal now. Lastly, you will VERY LIKELY be met with a black screen the first time you enter Big Sur from a restart. Literally all I did to fix the problem was mash a few keys and the login window appeared. After this one time, it won't boot to a black screen again. If it does, just mash the keyboard!

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Conclusion

Hopefully all of you had some success installing Big Sur. If you had success, leave a comment saying you did! I would love to know how it went. There are some amazing people who worked this extremely complex task. Make sure to give some thanks to u/KodeyThomas for the NVRAM patches, IOIIIO on Github for the AMD kernel patches, InsanelyMac user Andrey1970 for the SMC fix, and of course the folks who grind to make Opencore compatible with the latest version of macOS. I am simply compiling this guide to make it easy for everyone to do this. Thank you everyone!

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