I need Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) in order to work with some legacy software and I want to buy new Mac Mini computer.

Is it possible to install this OS on a new Mac Mini or it's not compatible with it?

If so, what is the latest model of Mac Mini that I can use in this scenario?

  • Consider a used Mac. I've a mid-2010 Mac Mini that'll run anything from Snow Leopard to Yosemite. They're probably cheap these days. Nov 7, 2014 at 18:27

3 Answers 3


You can not install older OS X versions on newer models, the old OS X version are missing the required drivers for hardware not even available when the OS X version was released.

I see several options:

  1. You may (legally) install 10.6.8 Server in a VM (Parallels or VMware) though.

  2. The latest MacMini supporting 10.6.8 is the MacMini4,1: Apple Mac mini "Core 2 Duo" 2.4, Apple Mac mini "Core 2 Duo" 2.66 & Apple Mac mini "Core 2 Duo" 2.66 (Server)

  3. With some workarounds and hazzle you will get 10.6.8 working on MacMini5,1 and MacMini5,2. In the comments there (March 12, 2013 Gregg Tomlinson) even a working MacMini6,1 is mentioned:

    I believe it does – I am using this on a 2012 MacMini that came with Snow Leopard [sic!], and reverse-engineered it to use 10.6 with this methodology.


While you can't run an older Mac OS X version on hardware that predates it (driver issues) if you must run Snow Leopard on newer OS X hardware consider installing it under the free VirtualBox virtual machine. It runs Snow Leopard and Snow Leopard Server just fine, albeit slightly slower. Make sure you have adequate RAM.

  • Thanks for your reply! However, is it a viable solution for resource-hungry applications? Like professional movie/sound editing software, e.g. ProTools, Premiere, etc. Nov 10, 2014 at 10:28
  • Considering how you won't be able to run the older OS version and this permits you to do so, yes, it's a definition of viable. How well that performs is a matter of the resources given the the guest OS virtual machine from the host. If the new host machine performs significantly better than the older hardware that it's replacing, it could , conceivably, perform even better than the original system. For instance you may be able to give the guest OS more memory and CPU resources than an equivalent older system that would have run the older version of OS X on older hardware. YMMV. Nov 11, 2014 at 18:34

Can’t you partiton the disk and do an install from a Time Machine back-up?

Then press alt at start and choose which system you want to boot from.

Of course this means wiping your existing system and reinstalling.

  • I say this because I have a MacBook Pro and have partitioned the the disk 700GB OS X 10.9.5 and 50GB OS X 10.6.8. I've had it that was since rosetta died. Dec 5, 2014 at 15:50

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