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I installed Big Sur on my mid 2012 Macbook Pro

This all started with a dream to create an iPhone app. I bought the Udemy course by Appbrewery on iOS development Bootcamp. You need a mac machine that can run the free Xcode 12 (the version used in the course).

The course explored the options with you and the easiest is to own a mac machine. However, the cost of owning a Mac machine is not exactly the cheapest. :(

My husband had a mid-2012 Macbook Pro (MBP) which is in excellent condition since he only used it for a few years to process his then photography hobby. He happily let me use his MBP but to my dismay, I saw that the macOS was OS10.11 El Capitan. And he told me that is the highest version he was able to upgrade to. I assumed he know best since he was the tech guy. I read up and know that this does not support Xcode 12. :(

I thought about it and explored buying a new mac mini given that it is the cheapest among the mac machines however the cheapest with 16GB ram will cost me $1200 SGD. That is a lot of money for a hobbyist trying out coding an app. So I looked at second-hands, hoping to find one with reasonable specifications at about half the price. Out of curiosity, I checked out mid-2012 MBP price to see if it can fund my mac mini purchase. That is when I found out people were able to install macOS 10.15 Catalina on their mid-2012 MBP and that version of OS is enough to run Xcode 12!!!! I was super excited and went on to do that. And it worked. :)

I would have stopped there and then if not for an update message from Apple that by 25 April 2022, iOS apps must be developed with Xcode 13. Oh, this is just sad, which means that even if I finish my app, I won't be able to put it up on the app store at all (I know I am thinking quite far ahead given that I have not even started on learning how to code the app :P). My mac won't be able to install Xcode 13 since this requires macOS 11 Big Sur. :( 

So the quest continues...

I hope you are still with me if you are only interested in the installation. A quick google search will show you there are various articles on this. MBP was really built to last and there is a community who had created patches to bypass the limitation to install Big Sur on unsupported MBP. I tried a few articles and I took the following steps:

1) Create a bootable USB drive that will install macOS 10.15 Catalina since it is the official version that is supported on my MBP. This will be the backup plan if I did screwed up, I will boot back to this macOS version to at least have a working machine.

2) Bought, upgraded with Samsung Evo 500 GB SSD and booted it up with Catalina.

3) My MBP already has 12GB ram, my husband had added an 8GB ram to one of the slots. Technically I can upgrade the existing 4GB to 8GB but I decided to monitor first. If you only have 4GB ram, you need to have at least 8GB ram before you attempt the Big Sur upgrade. 

4) I followed two youtube videos from Mr Machintosh: Big Sur on Older Mac and OpenCore Legacy Patcher 0.4.3 Update. I downloaded the OpenCore Legacy patcher and followed the steps to install it on another USB drive. I created the Big Sur installer on the same USB drive. Basically, I scroll to find the machine with the same specification as mine from Mr Machintosh's video. Turns out mine is quite supported and requires very little modification to the patcher. Hurray!

5) With Big Sur running, I attempted to download Xcode 13!! The App store informed me that I do not have a compatible macOS version >< but I head over to the developer website and download it anyway. And it is done!!! I did it!

The cost incurred was $119 from the SSD hard drive upgrade and now I had a working Mac Book Pro with 12GB ram which I can run Xcode 13 from! Hopefully, I can upload my app into App store eventually with this. Else this will be just a training machine. If you are having doubts about this, I just want to let you know you can install Xcode 13 after you had done the Big Sur upgrade!