A second life for your old mac

I still have my MacBook Pro Late 2011 around, yes from 2011, it's 11 years old.

It served me good at uni and because I've always had a Linux desktop machine and a good MacBook Pro for each companies I worked at I didn't really need a beefy laptop for the occasional surf session on the couch. I did bump the RAM from the initial 4GB to 8GB a couple years ago when things started to get really slow but that was about it.
I did reach my limit recently when I started to have to wait minutes for the laptop to boot and always have to compile everything from scratch which takes ages and frequently end in an error. That's because Homebrew doesn't support the OSX version that Apple forces me to stay on (High Sierra) as my hardware is too old to still be "officially" supported.

After some googling around I figured out I could actually both bump the hardware and the OS version, it was all rather easy, fast, cheap and works really well.

The following guide is based on my experience and hardware (a Late 2011 MacBook Pro) but it's easy enough to do on any hardware that you can open and is not too recent, just googling your specific model on Google and YouTube should yield plenty of specific tutorials.

Replacing the hardware

My MacBook is easy enough to open, there's a bunch of tiny Philips head screws in the back which reveals the inside. There I changed my hardrive for a SSD and my 8GB of RAM for 16GB. You can also replace the battery but as my machine is always plugged in it was not relevant for me.
I went for the following hardware which worked great:

Replacing the hardware is easy enough, you would also need a tiny torx screwdriver to remove the HDD. I used this video as a guide.

Installing a "non supported" OSX version


  • backing up your data
  • a usb stick with at least 14GB and 8GB of RAM on your Mac
  • a supported machine


  1. Download the latest release of OpenCore Legacy Patcher (at the time of writing 0.4.11). We need the OpenCore-Patcher-GUI.app.zip listed on Github
  2. Extract the .zip, drag the app to the applications folder and open it
  3. Select Create macOS Installer then Download macOS Installer then the version you want to install (usually the latest), at the time of writing and for my mac model it's the 12.6.1 (it's Monterey but they are already working on Ventura)
  4. Once the download and creating installer is over, click on Flash Installer and select your usb stick and wait some more
  5. Once this is finished, they'll ask if we want to install OpenCore to disk, yes we want and make sure you select the usb drive
  6. Reboot and keep pressing on Option (alt) until the shime sound can be heard
  7. Go to Disk Utility, Erase the disk (all your data will be gone! Last warning to back up your data!) to make it ready for the install
  8. Quit Disk Utility and follow the install for Monterey
  9. Reboot and hold the Option (alt) key, keep holding and also press Ctrl then click on EFI boot then Macintosh HD
  10. Once Monterey boot it's going to ask us again if we want to install OpenCore to disk, this time we do it on the actual hard drive. From now on you can remove the usb stick
  11. Last but not least, let's open OpenCore Legacy Patcher, go to Settings and unselect Show Boot Picker as it does not make sense to show it at boot when we only have one option to boot from, go back to the main menu and once again click on Build and Install OpenCore to apply the change
  12. That's it, you can also just install Apple updates normally but might need to apply the Patch Root, more info here

I've been using my "new" Mac for a couple weeks and so far so good, it's faster and my system is finally up to date, no need to compile the entire planet!

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-huRykhjs6g

Questions, remarks about this post?
Reach me on Twitter @florianmski