Emulation General

Mac OS emulators

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Mac OS (called simply "System" until 1996) is an operating system by Apple that powered the Macintosh line of computers from 1984 to 2000. It was superseded by OS X from 2001 onward.


Name Operating System(s) Latest Version Active Recommended
Basilisk II Windows, OS X, Linux 20-02-2015
Executor Windows, Linux 2.1pr16 (2002)
Mini vMac Windows, OS X, Linux, others 3.4.0
PCE.js multiplatform (Javascript) ? ?
SheepShaver Windows, Linux, OS X 01-03-2015
SoftMac Windows 8.2 (2002)


  • The "Classic mode" was a function of early versions of OS X that allowed one to run pre-OS X applications. This function was removed with Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" in 2007.
  • PCE.js puts a Macintosh Plus running System 7 in your web browser.
  • Mini vMac is a multiplatform virtual Macintosh Plus, and can run System from 1.1 to 7.5.5. It's great for games with black-and-white graphics.
  • SheepShaver is a Windows/Linux/OSX emulator that works as a virtual PowerPC, and it runs Mac OS from 7.5.2 to 9.0.4. This is probably the best replacement for Classic mode. (If you do own a modern Mac, look for "Chubby Bunny", a pirate release of the OS X version that comes preconfigured with Mac OS 9. Very handy.)
  • Basilisk II is a Windows/Linux/OSX emulator that works as a virtual 68k Mac, and it runs runs Mac OS from 7.x to 8.1. Good for earlier Mac games that were in color.
  • SoftMac is a windows-only emulator of 68xxx based Macintoshes. It used to be a commercial product, but it is now a free download. It is no longer actively developed.
  • Executor is a Windows/Linux emulator for 68xxx Macintoshes. It used to be a commercial product, but was later made a free download, then open-source. Regardless, it's no longer actively developed.
  • Most of these emulators require a ROM image and a copy of Mac OS. Only Executor does not require a ROM image.

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