Is there any simple way to run rosetta under Yosemite?

If not, am I correct that Snow Leopard Server will run on Parallels (and it seems this is the 'legit' way, I'd like to be 100% legal), and that would solve my goal of hanging on to some PPC apps without the constant need to reboot to other drives or use multiple machines?

I'm running a mid-2010 Mac Pro, and need higher than Snow Leopard to run the new TurboTax, but wanting to hold on to an investment of $$ in PPC-only apps.

Update - I bought two Apricorn PCI cards to install SSDs without taking up HD space. One SSD boot Snow Leo, the other, Yosemite. At this point, the Snow Leo OS is the one I use most often, booting into Yosemite when I need the newer software. The SSDs offer such a fast boot that starting up/ rebooting is pretty fast, not too much trouble.

  • You could also look into using something like SheepSaver, although I don't know about running OS X in it. I use it to run really really MacOS (OS 9 and OS 8 and early) based apps. Dec 2, 2014 at 23:11
  • Though SheepShaver will run on an OSX host, it doesn't support OS X as a client.
    – bjb
    Dec 3, 2014 at 13:50

4 Answers 4


There is no way at all to run Rosetta in Yosemite. Rosetta was included in Mac OS X 10.4.4–10.6.8 (Intel) only.

The Apple license agreement doesn't allow customers to run a Snow Leopard client in a virtual environment.
So the only legal way to use PPC apps with Yosemite is indeed Snow Leopard Server (Apple part number is MC588Z/A internal link (It only works in their store)) in Parallels (10.0 recommended) or VMware Fusion (at least 6.0.5, 7.0 recommended).

  • It's an "Apple Store internal link". It's a quick way to help the agents at apple know what product you are talking about. Some agents don't even know that SL Server is still for sale.
    – klanomath
    Dec 2, 2014 at 20:21
  • 1
    "No way at all to run Rosetta in Yosemite" - is there a technical limitation or is this just a guess or statement based on the idea that it just isn't included? It would be interesting to know if it is simply binary incompatible or would it work if you could get it installed? In other words, is there something missing from Yosemite that is needed for Rosetta to work?
    – bjb
    Dec 2, 2014 at 21:55
  • @bjb Good question! Probably there are no technical but economical limitations. If Apple decides to stop the development of Rosetta (and the necessary apis/frameworks etc) then it will get incompatible with newer systems sooner or later. Actually i've found some sources claiming a successful install of Rosetta in Lion. They added it to use a PPC-Only-Installer (Final Cut 2 IIRC) to install the UB-Final Cut 2. They also tried to run AppleWorks 6 (PPC-only) which failed though.
    – klanomath
    Dec 2, 2014 at 22:36
  • You could attempt to determine just what the Rosetta package installs by using a tool like Pacifist (or manually unpacking) the .pkg installer. You can find this installer on the original installation media at: /Volumes/Mac OS X Install DVD/System/Installation/Packages/Rosetta.pkg
    – amcgregor
    Dec 2, 2014 at 22:54
  • 1
    As an additional note, it's almost guaranteed that Rosetta will depend on the Carbon frameworks; these may have completely disappeared from the platform by now.
    – amcgregor
    Dec 2, 2014 at 23:11

The best way is to just run it on an older dedicated Mac that runs SL.

  • Having two Macs made less sense for me than to spend a few dollars and just load extra drives. Easy enough to boot one or another, and have data drive with shared files. Oct 14, 2015 at 15:26
  • And over a year later, I've taken this advice. Only, since SL is my preferred OS, I'm going to run it on a higher performance machine, and have Yosemite run as the main OS on the lower performance one. If and when Yosemite or higher OS become my most used one, I'll swap. Nov 17, 2015 at 14:04
  • Over 5 years later.... My 'main' Mac running Yosemite, and the secondary one, with an SSD partitioned to run every OS up to High Sierra. At boot time, I choose the OS. Funny to ready these after so long. Mar 22, 2021 at 11:25

You could try to get PearPC up and running with an older version of OS X? I successfully ran it with 10.3 on a Windows XP machine several years ago, though recent half-hearted attempts to get it to run on 10.8 (or perhaps 10.9) didn't get that far. However, I think I was trying to get 10.0 or 10.1 to install and didn't attempt something like 10.4 or 10.5.

Not easy to set up, a lot of RTFM, but this might be the best approach for you at the moment without dual booting.

  • Thanks, but I'm not looking for a Hackintosh of any kind. I have a Mac, and as I asked, am looking to effectively run 2 Mac OS systems as efficiently as I can. Dec 3, 2014 at 14:23

Be aware that if you succeed in installing SL Server (with Rosetta) in Parallels, it will work fine but you will not have OpenGL support, so many games will give you only the sound and no picture at all. And that was the main reason I wanted it ! ex.: Brick of Atlantis

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