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I have an M1 Macbook. Inside it, I want to emulate MacOS running as Intel, so I don't have to keep switching to my Intel Mac to cross-compile/test my code.

I've looked at UTM and it looks like it's capable of emulating Intel for other OSes like Windows and Linux, but the gallery doesn't have MacOS. I used the instructions here to convert the MacOS Monterey installer to an ISO and load it in UTM, but it can't seem to recognize it (it just opens up some weird shell at the boot loader).

Is there any way to emulate a MacOS Intel guest inside of an MacOS M1 host, such that the guest OS basically behaves like an Intel Macbook?

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  • A Virtual Machine cannot emulate, because if it did emulate, it would be an Emulator, not a Virtual Machine. Dec 25, 2021 at 16:10
  • Is it possible to emulate MacOS running as Intel on an M1 Macbook?
    – user444955
    Dec 26, 2021 at 19:31
  • You can use arch to force execution via Rosetta, would this help?
    – nohillside
    Dec 26, 2021 at 23:21
  • No, I need a full Intel-emulated environment. Basically as if I'm running macOS in VMWare and it thinks it's running in Intel.
    – user444955
    Dec 28, 2021 at 0:27
  • I have the same need for different reasons. I need access to older macOS versions for many reasons. But I want to upgrade my old intel macbook to an M1. But I can't do that unless I can run OSes like El Capitan and High Sierra in emulators/vm's in it. If VMWare (or parallels) added emulation support, that would be so useful. Oh well.
    – l008com
    Apr 15, 2022 at 10:16

1 Answer 1

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You're right that UTM can emulate an Intel processor (as it is a front-end for QEMU, which can emulate various architectures), but you can't easily boot a macOS disk in QEMU/UTM due to Apple's proprietary hardware and anti-piracy measures. You'd have to set up something similar to a Hackintosh, using particular flags for QEMU and a bootloader such as OpenCore or Clover. It probably isn't worth doing, as you will have pretty bad performance and no graphics acceleration (no graphical effects and everything will be slow and choppy).

If you want to do it anyway this (or a similar repo, there are several) would probably help, although you won't be able to use KVM or HVF since virtualization acceleration doesn't work on an emulator, and you'd have to figure out some of the steps yourself as the repo is targeted towards Linux distributions and some things may not work fully on a Mac.

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