• Hello, Guest! Welcome back, and be sure to check out this post for more info about the recent service interruption and migration.

Emulators that Run Well on Catalina?


Well-known member
Okay, so it's not quite 2020 yet, but fairly close.  <-- Wow.  The editor saved this unfinished post; evidently, I intended to post this a long time ago.

I am curious what are the best options for emulating older Macs on current Macs macOS Catalina?

I have had good luck running Basilisk II version 1.0 (Mac OS X port 19) under Mac OS X 10.6.8.  Only thing that doesn't seem to work is sound.  Also, I use Virtual ][ for Apple IIe emulation.  (I've also run Virtual ][ on a machine with macOS 10.13 but I can't seem to get it to run as well as the version that works under 10.6.8.)  I also use Mini vMac, but that has been the least stable of them.  Sweet16 also seems to work well for Apple IIGS emulation, but I can't say that I've done a lot with it.

Basically, I use the following:

Apple IIe: Virtual ][

Apple IIGS: Sweet16

Mac Classic (pre-System 7): Mini vMac

Mac Classic (System 7, 68030 or 68040): Basilisk II

I don't have anything to emulate a PowerPC Mac which I will probably need/want at some point.

I have seen QEMU mentioned in another thread along with SheepShaver.  I thought maybe I tried SheepShaver once, but I don't remember for certain.

The problem I have had with Mini vMac is that it seems to crash a lot and, when it does, it makes any .dsk that were mounted within it unusable.  So, each time I use it, I have to make sure to have a backup of each and every .dsk image I want to use in it.  This has been with the 3.4.1 version; don't recall if I've tried newer versions under macOS 10.13.

I am curious as to what emulators people are having success with under Catalina.  I'm checking through all my apps to see what will run under Catalina, so thought I'd solicit some feedback on how emulators are doing on it.




Well-known member
I wish I could add in here, but I pretty much run only on original hardware. I would like to know this as well.



Well-known member
checkout libretto and retroarch. They will cover some of the 8 bit Apple machines and a gazillion other platforms with an excellent interface to boot and Metal 2 support.

As for Mac emulation visit this page, http://www.columbia.edu/~em36/sheepshaverwrapper.html

An easy way to run "classic" applications under OS X and macOS

OS X and macOS no longer makes it possible to run "classic" Mac applications written for "classic" Mac OS versions, such as System 7 or Mac OS 9. In order to run such applications, OS X and macOS users must now install "emulator" software that runs old versions of the Mac OS in a window on the OS X or macOS desktop. The most advanced of these emulator programs is SheepShaver. SheepShaver is no longer supported by its original author, Gwenolé Beauchesne, but minor updates are available from an active support forum at E-Maculation.

This page provides a system that makes it easy to set up and use SheepShaver under OS X or macOS 10.8 or later. You will need to supply a "ROM file" (as described below) and you will need an installation CD for any version of the Mac OS from OS 8.5 through 9.0.4, or a disk image of such a CD, as described below.

This system requires OS X or macOS 10.9 or later. It was updated on 8 March 2019 with an improved 64-bit version of SheepShaver that should run under macOS 10.14 Mojave, and on 18 August 2019 with a 4GB (not 2GB) disk image. It was updated 18 Octobef 2019 with a version that run smoothly under macOS 10.15 Catalina.
Disclaimer: I don't have Catalina installed on my most recent Mac so I won't be able to help with small details but I reviewed the link before inserting here and it looks like the author has strong knowledge and it's a How To.

Last edited by a moderator: