• What has changed on the surface
    • Sidecar
    • Death of iTunes
    • iCloud Drive folder sharing
    • Screen Time
    • Apple Watch Authentication
  • What’s new under the hood
    • All system files were moved to a read-only partition
    • Removal of 32bit support
    • Modification of the AirportBCRM4331.kext
    • Reinjection of AirportAtheros40 kext
    • Removal of MacPro4,1 and 5,1
    • Restore macOS from a snapshot
    • Kexts moved out of kernel space
    • Support for Catalyst based apps
    • Removal of the OpenGL fallback UI renderer
  • Current issues with Catalina
    • Lilu loading
    • AppleACPICPU stalling
    • Can’t write to Library/Extensions to add my kexts
    • Requiring EC device
  • Should you update and how to proceed
  • What’s new in the hackintosh scene?
    • A new foe Boot Loader has appeared!
    • AptioMemoryFix is dead, long live FwRuntimeServices!
    • Clover folder structre changes
    • Where’s the Navi support?
    • Chrome being dumb again

So where are the Nvidia Drivers?

There are none, stop asking. There will be no support for non-Kepler GPUs in Catalina, let it go man. It’s not healthy to keep a toxic relationship going, it’s best for the both of you.

If you need a new GPU, please refer to the new GPU Buyers Guide and the Disable your unsupported GPU Guide

# What has changed on the surface

The average stuff, skip to What’s new under the hood for the more important info.

Sidecar

This is probably the feature users are most excited for, what Sidecar allows us to do now is run a supported iPad running iPadOS 13 to be used as a secondary display to either your Mac Hackintosh with minimal latency compared to duet display and Astropad with full Apple Pencil Passthrough.

But what’s the catch?

Well, the catch with this is that there are a few requirements to run Sidecar officially:

  • A GPU supporting H.265/HEVC encoding, Skylake+ iGPUs or Polaris/Vega dGPUs
  • An iPad with an A8X CPU
  • A supported wireless card(mainly Bluetooth matters) or Lighting cable(Sidecar can operate both wirelessly and wired)
  • A SMBIOS supporting Sidecar
  • Both machines on the same Apple ID

While it is possible to get around the SMBIOS limitation, it can be quite unstable for some users so we advise against modify the Sidecar framework unless you know what you’re doing. And users have reported in laer betas that these hacks no longer work.

Bypass the SMBIOS restriction:

 defaults write com.apple.sidecar.display allowAllDevices -bool YES

Unlocking the System Preferance Pane:

 defaults write com.apple.sidecar.display hasShownPref -bool true

Source

SMBIOS which officially support Sidecar:

MacBook:

  • MacBook8,1
  • MacBook9,1
  • MacBook10,1

MacBook Air:

  • MacBookAir8,1

MacBook Pro:

  • MacBookPro13,1
  • MacBookPro13,2
  • MacBookPro13,3
  • MacBookPro14,1
  • MacBookPro14,2
  • MacBookPro14,3
  • MacBookPro15,1
  • MacBookPro15,2

Mac Mini:

  • Macmini8,1

iMac:

  • iMac17,1
  • iMac18,1
  • iMac18,2
  • iMac18,3
  • iMac19,1
  • iMac19,2

iMac Pro:

  • iMacPro1,1

Mac Pro:

  • MacPro7,1

Death of itunes

While for some reason this is what all the headlines want to talk about, the idea of iTunes is not dead. Instead, it’s more of rebirth and cleaning of iTunes by separating it into 4 apps:

  • Music
  • Podcast
  • AppleTV
  • Finder

And the only real groundbreaking change from this is that your iPhone will now be synced through Finder instead of iTunes.

iCloud Drive folder sharing

This one is my personal favourite as this will very useful for sharing files when troubleshooting Hackintoshes on the subreddit. But unfortunately were pretty stubborn in our ways so we’ll probably still be dealing with sketchy websites when downloading EFIs, but a slav can dream.

Screen Time

Have a serious problem trying to do work on your mac/hack without getting distracted? Well, now you can finally curb a bit of that addiction and be a bit more productive as long as you have the willpower not to disable Screentime. We’ll see how useful/annoying this becomes

Apple Watch Authentication

Pretty straight forward, macOS will allow you to replace your password with your Apple Watch in more places. Do keep in mind this requires a supported wireless card.

What’s new under the hood

All system files were moved to a read-only partition

Probably the biggest change to Catalina is the separation of user files from the systems. Where this becomes a real problem is users upgrading to Catalina from an existing partition as files can become damaged/corrupted while the conversion happens.

To avoid this, make a new APFS volume just for Catalina and install fresh onto there. From there run migration assistant off your old partition and then delete it.

Removal of 32bit support

Another potential issue is that 32bit apps no longer work, the people who are most likely to be affected by this are laptop users who use USB wireless dongles that require old 32bit apps. And these apps are likely not to be updated.

But the upside to this AMD users will have much better AMD support for many apps, problem is that Apple that still call upon Intel specific functions still break. So depending on how Adobe handles this, Lightroom and others may finally be fixed(or we realize that there’s more code tied to Intel than we expected).

Modification of the AirportBCRM4331.kext

Quite an odd change is how the AirportBCRM4331 kext was merged into the AirPortBrcm4360 kext. While no hardware was dropped an odd side-effect came that AirPortBrcm4360 wouldn’t load even when BCRM4331 based hardware was installed. From my tests, an authentic Apple Airport BCM94331 would load without issues but third party models seem to be a hit or miss.

A solution to this is to force-load the AirPortBrcm4360 kext.

Reinjection of AirportAtheros40 kext

Well for those running older Atheros cards may have a rude wake up call, reinjecting the old AirportAtheros40.kext seems to fail on many systems. A partial solution is to actually port the entire IO80211 framework but this is not ideal for many reasons…

Only good solution is looking for a new card: Wireless Buyers Guide.

Removal of MacPro4,1/5,1 and the death of Dual Socket Systems

Press F to pay respect for our fallen Cheesegrater, you’ve served us well but it is time for you to go now and rest. One odd quirk to Catalina is that now no systems are supporting Dual Socket CPUs in Apple’s line up and because of this they’ve decided to change the AppleIntelMCEReporter.kext. This change causes errors when booting iMacPro1,1 or MacPro6,1 SMBIOS with Dual CPU configurations so we need to overcome this by blocking it. There’s multiple methods including making a blocker kexts, blocking via OpenCore or using CPUFriend. As things currently stand, CPUFriend cannot block but this may change in future releases.

Source

Restore macOS from snapshot

OS Update break literally everything? Well now you don’t need to rely on third party software for snapshots, now you can easily return to a state where macOS wasn’t broken. This is done within the recovery partition.

Kexts moved out of kernel space

While this won’t directly affect us in Catalina, kexts running in kernel space will now be deprecated. What this means is kexts like Lilu won’t have the low-level access it requires to perform its necessary patches. But deprecation doesn’t mean removed, Clover’s kext injection system has been deprecated since 10.7 but Apple has yet to remove it from macOS(well 10.16 might finally change that). So don’t fear too much but keep this as a reminder that not everything will last as it is. Most if not all of Apple’s kernel extensions are still in kernel space so they got a shit ton of work to do themselves.

Support for Catalyst based apps

Get ready for a flood of iOS apps on the App Store cause now everyone’s a Mac developer! There’s no real hardware requirement besides natively supported hardware, that means users who have been patching their GPU drivers from High Sierra may have issues running Metal based applications.

Removal of the OpenGL fallback UI renderer

Unlike Mojave, systems with non-Metal GPUs can no longer be accelerated (without some super gross patches). This means that it’s even more difficult to run a Vanilla system with older GPUs, so we recommend upgrading when possible similar to the Airport Atheros situation.

Credit to u/ASentientBot

Current issues with Catalina

  • Lilu won’t load.
    • This means Lilu has not been updated for Catalina, either update Lilu or add flag -lilubetaall.
  • It doesn’t fill the void within you
    • 2 parts Green Apple Vodka, 1 part Clorox. Repeat every 15 min
  • Stalling on kextd stall[0]: AppleACPICPU.
    • SMC emulator isn’t loading, make sure VirtualSMC and Lilu are updated. Temporary solution is -lilubetaall, update your kexts or swap for FakeSMC
  • Can’t write to Library/Extensions to add my kexts.
    • While quite rare to need kexts in L/E, for those needing to do so can run sudo mount -uw / to mount the drive for read/write.
  • Stalling on apfs_module_start..., Waiting for Root device, Waiting on...IOResources..., previous shutdown cause...
    • So with macOS catalina, there were some changes in how AppleACPIEC works which makes it so when it doesn’t pass the checks and therefore stall. Specifically the Embedded Controller(EC) has new processes happen to it:
  1. AppleACPIPlatform.kext loads and sets all devices with the ACPI name of EC__ and device PNP0C09 the property of boot-ec
  2. It then hands off control to its plugin, AppleACPIEC.kext, and starts a probe for either PNP0C09 or boot-ec
  3. When loaded, it will then verify for the other meaning we must have both PNP0C09 and boot-ec. If not, macOS will just get stuck but due to the nature of parallel kext loading we don’t explicitly see the error instead seeing errors such as apfs_module_start..., Waiting for Root device, Waiting on...IOResources..., previous shutdown cause..., etc. And guess what, most PCs don’t have their embedded controller named EC__ instead known by EC0_, H_EC or ECDV.(Lenovos are the rare exception)

To get around these problems, we have a whole guide!:

This is also covered in the OpenCore Vanilla Guide already

Sources:

Should you update and how to proceed

No, the majority shouldn’t update as this is a .0 release meaning there’s going to still be a lot of bugs hiding within potentially causing many headaches. The best practice is to wait until either 10.15.1 or even 10.15.2 as the majority of bugs will have been fixed by then.

Regarding how to update, make check the following:

  • Backup EVERYTHING including your EFI before you updated your kexts or Clover
  • Update Clover
  • Update kexts
  • Update firmware drivers(make sure you adjusted for the new drivers/UEFI path)
  • Verify if your EC device is setup correctly(An absolute must, or else no Catalina for you)
  • Do a once over of the Vanilla Guide(so you can see what methods have been removed and are no longer needed)
  • Make a new APFS volume to install Catalina on(never upgrade, always install fresh)
    • DiskUtility -> SSD -> + -> Add APFS Volume to Container
  • Install Catalina and use migration assistant on the old drive

For those who want the terminal command for the USB:

 sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Catalina.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume

What’s new in the Hackintosh scene?

A new foe Boot Loader has appeared!

From the folks that brought you the many wonders of the Hackintosh world as Lilu, VirtualSMC, WhateverGreen, AptioMemoryFix and so much more are here to present the next step in hackintoshing!: OpenCore. Currently in beta, what OpenCore wishes to accomplish is to make the Hackintosh environment more like a real mac by adopting many of these features and guidelines like Bless support and little to no ACPI patches. As things are now, most users have no reason to switch to OpenCore but as time goes on Clover may become more and more aged to the point that for many it will become too unstable.

The most interesting part about OpenCore for AMD users is that this will alliviate most of the fear around macOS updates, specifically that the kernel patches will no longer need to be updated for every single minor OS update. The reason being is that the actual patches around AMD CPUs rarely had drastic change, instead just needing to re-caluculate the offset for each update. Well with OpenCore, we’re now able to specify a mask meaning that it’ll figure out the offset for us. But this still isn’t utimately perfect, reason being is Apple can always throw a curve ball like they did with 10.13.1-.3 vs 10.13.4-.6 but this is still great news. But the downside is that Clover users won’t be getting macOS Catalina as AlGrey has no intention to work with Clover ever again instead letting others convert the patches, so better learn how to make your patches!

OpenCore Catalina AMD patches have be posted on both the AMD OS X Discord and linked here(Patches work with all versions of High Sierra, Mojave and Catalina):

For those who are wanting a Vanilla Desktop Guide for OpenCore are in luck!:

Please note that we’re currently in beta but hoping to be in 1.0.0 release by the end of the month.

AptioMemoryFix is dead, long live FwRuntimeServices!

So as some of you may know or learning just now, AptioMemoryFix is now dead and will no longer receive any future support. If you’ve checked the GitHub page for AptioFixPkg, you probably read the following:

AptioFixPkg is now part of AppleSupportPkg and OpenCore, please use them instead:

AptioMemoryFix.efi is split into OpenCore and FwRuntimeServices.efi.

The problem with this is that this means support for Clover is completely dead and if you want the latest in firmware fixes you’ll need to completely ditch clover for OpenCore. And you may read the FwRuntimeServices part but this is also exclusive to OpenCore so don’t even try loading that with clover.

But AptioMemoryFix won’t be gong anywhere thankfully, you can still download the final release from the github.

Are there alternatives?

Not really, your other option being osxaptiofix3drv but that’s not ideal for many people. As things stand, AptioMemoryFix still works perfectly fine but do note that for both future releases of macOS and newer hardware may not work correctly with AptioMemoryFix

Clover folder structre changes

A fairly simple change but one that will catch people off guard, so starting with Clover r4985 we see that the placement of .efi drivers have changed a bit:

  • drivers64UEFI -> drivers/UEFI
  • drivers64 -> drivers/BIOS

But do not fret, the old paths will still work as long as there’s no files present in the new directories

Where’s the Navi support?

As of 10.15.2, both the 5700 series and 5500 series are now compatible with macOS. Please see the GPU Buyers Guide for more info

Chrome being dumb again

Got SIP off and updated chrome? Well shit likely broke cause Chrome deleted a /var symlink, I’ll point you to some posts that are better at explaining this than me:

Hope you found this not so little post helpful,

  • Your local neighbourhood Hackintosh Slav

Credit:

  • AppleLife for original EC accommodations
  • OpenCorePkg team for EC SSDTs
  • AlGrey for the AMD Kernel Patches