Un-supported Mac (2011), Dorico 4 / Catalina - working*

I thought I’d post this as I’m sure I’m not alone in being priced out of the hardware race on Macs.

I posted a while back about trying to get Win 10 running in Parallels on my 2011 MacBook Pro, in order to run Dorico 4. It was a no go.

So I settled for having D4 on my studio Mac Pro 5.1 running Mojave, and resigned myself to saving up for a replacement MacBook. Away from the studio now for a few weeks overseeing rehearsal for a musical in UK, I thought I’d just google and see……… I need Dorico for edits and really don’t want to be creating duplicates in 3.5 that I then have to sort out on my return to France.

Well, here’s the thing, I’ve installed Catalina on this ageing MacBook, and Dorico 4 runs superbly. In fact the MacBook runs faster and smoother than it did under High Sierra. So far I’ve found no anomalies, all my software runs very well. Studio One 5, Mixbus 32C-7, and of course Word & Numbers docs created in their later versions on Mojave now run on the MBP, instead of having to edit in the clumsy iCloud browser.

So Apple’s policy of machine obsolescence is…well, I’m not going to get into a rant about sustainability v. progress here, but certainly more people need to be aware that their older machine is far from obsolete. I’ll probably get at least a couple more years out of this machine now, thanks to the ingenuity of a guy who calls himself Dosdude1. His instructional videos are concise and simple. The patches that he’s written, and the download & installation of Catalina itself are an all-in-one process (you cannot normally download a Catalina install package to an unsupported machine). Here’s his website: www.dosdude1.com

Of course this is just my experience, and the usual rules apply - back-up first, your risk etc etc, but from the comments on his YT vids (there are people upgrading 2009 machines!) it seems a pretty safe bet.

Begs the question though - if all it takes is a few patches to tweak the OSX to run (and use the old hardware more efficiently than previously), couldn’t Apple……?

If anyone has more to add, advisories etc please jump in.

I hope this helps a few people - writing and creating is an expensive business these days, too many calls on a limited supply of funds. Not having to find £400 for a slightly newer MacBook is a very big deal for me.

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Contrary to the myth, Apple actually spends a lot of time and effort trying to ensure that new OSes will work on as many Macs as possible. (In fact, they even do things like adding extra code to the OS to specifically keep older versions of software like Office and Photoshop running, even after their creators have stopped supporting them.)

Usual reasons for hardware cut-off are that the old Mac lacks some newer hardware that the new OS requires (e.g. Metal-compatible GPUs). Your Mac isn’t Metal compatible, but Mojave does include a fallback, used in Safe Mode, where graphics acceleration is disabled, and I imagine that this is the patch that DosDude1 uses.

Apple will also cut-off a Mac if in their judgment the ‘user experience’ is not sufficiently good enough, e.g. performance is too low, or battery usage is too high. I imagine Apple concluded that without graphics acceleration on these Macs, the performance is not up to par.

There’s also the bean-counting: how many man-hours does it cost to continue supporting decade-old hardware in the latest OS, and what’s the % of the userbase?

There may be some outliers, and I’m glad you’ve found some satisfaction. But Apple certainly don’t hold meetings to toss a coin over which Mac they should kill today. :grin:

Windows 11 has cut-off quite a lot of hardware, I understand, some of which may be capable of running it: but I dare say there are technical grounds for the decision.



And in the world of computing, an 11 year old machine is ancient. Granted, there are plenty of them out there (my laptop is from 2010) but I certainly don’t fault apple for discontinuing support for it literally 10 years later. The progress in silicone in that intervening decade is nothing short of extraordinary. My watch can do things my old PC’s couldn’t do.

I gave my old 15" MacBook Pro with these patches some extra life.
Having said this, we tried the same with a friend’s MacBook too, and spent hours and hours to get his Wifi module up and running. Without success at the end. In hindsight it was time wasted.