Can You Run macOS On Your Old Nintendo Wii? Well, Sort Of

Though the Nintendo Wii was no great shakes in terms of raw tech specs, the innovative Wiimote controller and nunchuck had non-gamers and dedicated fans alike up and swinging their racquets in Wii Sports tennis (and a lot more besides). The limited hardware was also capable of much more than most users thought, thanks to the Homebrew Channel. Via homebrew, the Wii became something of a haven for modders.

The Wii was partially powered by a Broadway microprocessor by IBM, a chip much akin to the one used by certain Macs. In fact, iBooks of around the Wii era were just one brand of Mac machine that used a similar PowerPC chip. This, essentially, is the impractical back door through which the macOS can enter the equation. There are far, far simpler ways to customize a Mac experience, but the simple knowledge of this fact led some to try to bridge the gap between Apple and Nintendo. Though macOS is capable of running on the Wii, the verdict of whether it's actually workable is distinctly mixed.

Macs and the Nintendo Wii also share something important. The gaming system can run Mac-on-Linux. Through this, then, it's possible to create an unwieldy, very strange, highly outdated, limited, yet intriguing Mac-of-sorts out of the console. In May 2023, YouTube's Michael MJD eventually succeeded in running Mac OS 9.2.2 "actually installed ... instead of just booting off of a disk" on the Nintendo console. It certainly took some wrangling, though.

How the process – somewhat – works

YouTube's Michael MJD noted that, previously, Fusion and MS-DOS had been used in tandem to make this happen, but that it would be a neater solution to be able to run it natively. Therefore, they used the compiled Wii Linux/Mac-on-Linux configuration and SD card image created by GBATEMP's Jose64141, but it wouldn't run for Michael MJD. 

To make it work for themselves, they had to separate the OS data from the bootable partition and locate alternative kernel modules, and switch out the GBATEMP ppcboot.elf file (thus allowing the system to recognize the compatible Linux white version, which matched the module). Lastly, a Mac OS 8.1.HFV Basilisk II file had to be downloaded from Mac Depository and added to the original USB drive. Another startmol command and Mac OS install CD image later, and it was finally running. 

Perform Clean Installation was selected, and, skipping some error messages, it was successfully installed. As a workaround mod, though, it was far from perfect. The UI was so distorted that the text could barely be read. Attempting to run Doom, the modder found its framerate to be hilariously, woefully, unplayably slow. Sadly, then, the Mac OS / Nintendo Wii mashup, though functionally possible, has little practical use. Enterprising modders have made Doom run on a IKEA lightbulb, so you'd think this effort would have been more successful than that.