Second life for MacBook Air from Mid-2013

Probably some of us have friends who have MacBook computers. Some of them purchased them some time ago and, despite still working, have been made obsolete and stopped from further support from Apple.

When the device is out of support life, it does not receive any further software updates. This is putting their users at risk of unpatched variabilities but also causing problems using outdated software like Internet Browser.

I got friends who purchased MacBook Air 11th-inch Mid-2013 (A1465) at a very similar time when I purchased my first MacBook Pro. Since then I updated and I am currently on my 3rd with an M1 processor.

I mentioned to them some time ago (years back) about the end of software updates for their computer, but because they do not use it very often, they do not think of spending a minimum of £1,000 to get a new one. I fully understand and agree with that.

Analysing the way how they use their technology, where phones took most of the time, the laptop is used rarely, but still used. For them, upgrading to the latest hardware is a waste of money.

Recently I listened to a podcast where the host mentioned that he is still able to receive the latest software for his old MacBook thanks to OpenCore Legacy Patcher.

I decided to have a look at that and noticed that there is a bunch of hardware that has been forgotten by Apple for some time, but thanks to this solution it can still receive recent OS updates.

Remember that Apple forgets their hardware (stops supporting) after much more years from release on the market than any other computer manufacturer, any!

Looking at the supportd models I found their MacBook Air with a comment that ‌Everything is supported.


OpenCore Legacy Patcher MacBook Air Supported Hardware

I decided to give it a go and convinced (just acknowledge, to be right) them to resurrect their laptop, so it can be used for longer.

Their laptop got an Intel i5 processor 1.6GHz, 4GB of RAM and 256GB SSD drive. Despite that SSD read speed is 250MB/s in write speed, it’s not bad for casual use. Way faster than some mechanical hard drives that are still fitted into some latest cheap laptops on the market.

Apart from getting a bit hot and the fact that the battery not holding as it used to (coconutBattery still showing 75% of design capacity), it’s not bad hardware.

The screen is in standard resolution and just 11 inches, but for what they need to use it and how often they use it, the ability to get recent software will put good use in the old hardware.

I started by downloading the OpenCore Legacy Patcher app and follow with the preparation of a USB drive to proceed with the installation after.

In the meantime, I made a backup using Time Machine, which take w while. Downloading the recent OS, which was Ventura 13.4.1 also takes some time followed by installation into a USB drive and then into the main hard drive.

Before installing I used Disk Utility to Erase the hard drive so I will end up like a freshly purchased device rather than updating with all the outdated software there.

Hours later the installation finished. I followed up with steps to make sure the device does not require USB to boot, or holding Option (Alt) button at the start.

Throigh the whole installation, before you finish everything keep your installation drive connected.

The OpenCore Legacy Patcher installs a custom boot loader that displays OS selection at the start of the computer, which I easily disabled through the app and built the bootloader into an internal hard drive. At this stage, I didn’t need a USB drive connected any more and the device booted as every other Mac.

If I would give you this Mac, you will not know that there was some “magic” done with it. Off course, you will be surprised that this “old” hardware got recent software on it.

After finished installation, the Patcher is following us by applying post-install volume patches then everything is ready for use. Magic!

The great thing about this solution is the fact that you will be receiving any software updates released by Apple, so you are not limited to just sticking to what you installed.

Native OTA updates. Install updates the moment they come out, with native System Preferences support, just like a supported Mac.”

Off course, any future updates will remove some applied “magic” stuff by the app, but the app will get that and after you update it will check if any patches are required and follow up with it by prompting us to do so. Very user-friendly approach!

Also, this solution does not change anything in your hardware and it can be easily reverted if needed.

Zero firmware patching. Using the capabilities of the OpenCore boot manager, our protocol upgrades are done in memory and are never permanent.”

I worked on this aged hardware for a while and I can say that despite it not being as fast as M1 Mac, it’s useable enough. Instead of throwing out it, let’s maximise its lifespan. Personally, it would be too slow for me, as I am used to the responsiveness of my M1 Mac, but for light users like my friends, this is perfect.

I understand Apple wants to remove outdated hardware from the market. They doing this for a reason. Sadly, other manufacturers are much more cruel to that and a computer purchased just a year or two years ago is in most cases called obsolete by them. With Apple, we using it for longer, but in reality, we can do this even longer than planned.

Marcel Bischoff in a response from the 26th of March published on Mastodon said something very interesting.

“Recently used #OpenCoreLegacyPatcher to update a full creative agency’s worth of iMacs to Ventura. If ~3 guys can successfully run a non-commercial hobby project keeping Macs running smoothly, Apple’s deprecation strategy is clearly about shareholder value, nothing else. Throwing away working hardware because software refuses to support it is not sustainable. That’s capitalism and its incentives for you.”

This software opens an option for people who want to start their journey into the Apple ecosystem without investing a lot of money but by working with its latest software.

I you want to try, head to eBay or another marketplace and look for supported hardware that is still fully working and states in comments that ‌Everything is supported.

Great bargaining solution.

For just £139.99 if not less you can get a MacBook Air 13.3" Mid-2013 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SDD and move it to its next life with Open Core Legacy Patcher and macOS Ventura.