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TheConnactic

iCloud for AMD hackintoshes: a workaround.

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From my own post in insanelymac forum: iCloud for AMD hackintoshes: a workaround. - InsanelyMac Forum

THE BEGINNING

As you folks can see in my signature, i'm an AMD hackintosher. That means that, some time in the past, i have the clever idea to invest some money on a cheap piece of hardware that nonetheless gave me lots of computational happiness, with (most of the times) little or no less performance compared to my friends' much pricier intel rigs, especially in day-to-day tasks. That means, unfortunately, that my times of hackintoshing have been giving me equal doses of fun and frustration, and all fun comes exclusively from OSX.

Everyone who frequently reads OSX86 forums know by now that AMD machines are at the bottom of the chain food in the mackintosh world. OSX running on AMD could be already a dead subject, if there wasn't very skilled people working very hard (Q: Wanna know what "hard" means? Write an on-the-fly sse3 emulator!) for it to be possible.

However, even with the talent and industriousness of those pro-AMD good people, well... sometimes the road comes to a dead end and that was kind of the case: the seventh iteration of OSX, Lion, added a new CPU instruction to the recipe, the ssse3 (believe, my friends, it is not just sse3 with one more "s"). This, by itself, put every AMD CPU but the newest ones, called Bulldozers or FX-Series, out of the party. Or that could have been the case, if we AMD user weren't so stubborn.

Slowly, heterodox solutions popped here and there to make Lion roar on AMD machines. Better saying, almost like that: running strictly 32-bit, even on the Bulldozer machines, without support to many cool features like iCloud (Oops, i say it!) or even the stock Finder, this Lion err... Meows. So that was the situation. While Intel users lived in the safe and confortable Palaces of Vanilla, we're from AMD side were left behind in the Wild Land of Doing It Ourselves.

INTO THE WILD

The famed and almost universally accepted theories of Charles Darwin, the Theory of Evolution of The Species and of natural selection proposes that, in the nature, only the fit survive and procreate. No, maybe that's what people usually think that Darwin stated, but anyway: the fact that we AMD hackintoshers have almost no support to make our machines work with the beloved OSX, except for a few good souls and great minds that develops cool things to support our hardware, this fact made us to either give up or read a lot and learn a lot: an authentic process of selection similar to the one that suposedly made the bacteria turn to plants, then to plants, than to, than to.

There are people at the Intel side of the mountain that cannot tell the user library from the system one, and lots of them had built their machines using that uni and multi pets. That is neither bias, nor intends to be an insult out of pure envy (but i concede that the envy exists indeed, at least inside me): the AMD users that were lazy, incompatible with computers or just wanted something to work effortlessly so they could work hard on anything else, these now are either using Windows again, changed to Intel or (the more intelligent choice) bought a Mac.

Indeed, a couple of months after the first useful AMD kernel for OSX Lion came out, a guy whose nickname is RAWX86 developed a kernel which made possible (for Bulldozer CPUs only, that's it) run Lion flawlessly, with 64-bit app support and all the small things. All the small things except the cloud-related ones. As always with AMD, with success comes frustration.

INTERLUDE

Besides my AMD desktop computer, i own a small and cheap Asus netbook, as you can also see in my signature. Like AMD, its Intel Atom CPU is not natively compatible with OSX and, even being supported for a while during the early Snow Leopard times, it's not any longer, and cannot run the vanilla kernel.

However, Intel is Intel and, when coupled with OSX, the happy ending can sometimes be troublesome to achieve, but is as certain as the success of a new Apple device: the patches work somewhat better, since the CPU supports the same instructions of all modern Intel processors, and has a very closely related architectural design.

Therefore, my little Asus can run versions of OSX as new as the last one, Mountain Lion 10.8.1. But not without its measure of woes: it was a real pain to get iCloud, FaceTime and other cloud features to work. Indeed, it ain't easy for anyone that runs a hackintosh and some indispensable steps must be accomplished for these features to be used:

1) You ought have a built-in ethernet working properly. I'm not saying just using the famed Chamaelon boot flag "EthernetBuiltIn=Yes". This, buddy, is not enough: you have to effectively configure your hardware so your LAN card is properly recognized by the OS, with a corrected kext loaded to it and assigned to the network interface assigned to en0. Do your homework!

That, alone, solve all App Store and iTunes Store issues, even for AMD hacks.

2) You must get a valid serial number, so the Apple servers think they're talking with a real Mac. Do you really thought the Cupertino Colossus wouldn't have its beautiful paradisiac garden just without any fences? But you can dodge them using a very cool app called Chamaleon Wizard - google is your friend! - to generate a file called smbios with a (hopefully) valid serial number. This, along the first step, should be enough for everyone to have the full array of Apple cloud features.

But is not. It was not enough for me and my little Atom CPU (speed-wise, it should be called Animal Traction, but does not matter, i love it, specially because it was very pocket-friendly). It was not enough for my AMD computer also, but let's left it aside for a while. I, frustrated and a little amused by the difficulty (remember that talk of natural selection) resorted to various additional, some of them quite unorthodox, like trying various versions of symbioses and an obscure method i found at a thread in {censored}'s, of getting a supposedly valid UUID (take a look: http://www.famkruith...et/uuid/uuidgen).

Not needed to say, nothing worked.

THE REAL CAGE OF THE LION

Most people that posts in OSX86 forums know meklort, right? Should exchange some words with him: the guy is a genius. He, alone, solved the iCloud issue for almost every Atom OSX computer. At least in Mountain Lion: i don't know if he's done something about it for Lion. Theoretically, it should work. He addressed the problem with a single and very reasonable insight: why apple should give all of the amazing features of OSX out with the open-source XNU kernel? Nah, it could be that way. Something will be missing, precisely that something that, among other things, makes iCloud and related goodies tick.

So he came out with his own patched kernel for 10.8: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/863180/kern...ocache.patched (if you have 10.8.1, try this one: mach_kernel_Atom 10.8.1(dev).zip). The patches weren't apllied to the source of the open-source XNU; instead, they were binary patches. And, pure magic, all started to shine: iCloud, FaceTime, iMessages, GameCenter. Pure joy. Of course they wouldn't have worked, the kernels, without following the steps mentioned before. Again, you have to do your homework!

Would his method work on AMD machines? Of course, meklort told me: once someone writes correctly the patches for AMD CPUs, they could with all certainty be applied as binary patches and should work. I guess it's not an easy task, tough - i, certainly, don't have the skill to do it, and no one showed up with something like that even until now.

But i was not prepared to give up yet!

MY WORKAROUND TO GET ICLOUD TO WORK ON MY AMD MACHINE

Are you still reading?

Good! You're a pure breed AMD hackintosher, not some uni/multipuppy lazy guy (okay, call me envious, and no offense at all to the puppies owners, they're great tools to get the work done).

Why did i talk so much about my atom experiences? Because from them, i learned enough to establish a realistic assessment of the facts, which are the following:

- On contrary of what most people think, these iCloud, FaceTime etc issues are indeed somewhat kernel related. Recently, i decided to reformat the disk of my netbook, erasing all partitions and letting only OSX installed. The problem was OSX wasn't in the first partition, so i decided to reinstall and restore my system from a time machine back up. I when i finished, i tried to do a call using FaceTime and, surprise!, it didn't let me log in. I forgot to put meklort's kernel back. When i did it, reboot and all went back to normal;

- I have to follow closely and carefully the basic steps of getting Apple's web-based services working; kernel tricks wouldn't suffice to achieve success;

- The critical moment for iCloud to work is not the log in, is the first log in. Is not without reason that Apple instructs you to set up iCloud, not just "sign up and sign in" like the way of the App Store. In that critical moment, something in your system files are optimized and changed, so Apple can offer you a better and more customized service. At this very moment, your computer is also checked if it's a genuine Apple-branded computer, not some fake thing. The evidence (circumstantial, i confess) is that my netbook is always "signed in" iCloud, even when it's offline (of course, in this case no data is exchanged, but it stays logged in anyway, because it's not really a log in).

Once we make through the first set up, i thought, we shouldn't bother anymore with kernels, serials and everything. But how to set up for the very first time, if our patched kernel is refused altogether?

That was the way i achieved that, and i can bet that will work for everyone. You'll have to use your friend's Mac/Intel hack/Atom hack with working iCloud, and will need a working network between it and your own computer. I assume you already followed the basic steps for Apple's web services and features:

1) On the Mac/Intel hack/Atom hack, create a new user account;

2) Set up iCloud for this user account;

3) Log both this computer and your computer at the same network;

4) Start the migration assistant (/Applications/ Utilities/ Migration Assistant) in your computer. When prompted to chose which kind of migration, chose "from a Mac";

5) Since both computers are in the same network, you should see the other computer, select it;

6) Start the migration assistant in the Mac/Intel hack/Atom hack. When prompted to chose which kind of migration, chose "to a Mac";

7) Select your computer from the Mac/Intel hack/Atom hack;

8) A passcode will appear on your computer; check the Mac/Intel hack/Atom hack, will appear there too. If they match, hit continue;

9) When prompted to chose which files to migrate from the Mac/Intel hack/Atom hack, select under "users" the user you just created to set iCloud, and select "settings";

10) When it ends, congratulations: you have iCloud working on your AMD hackintosh, like i do. Reboot it, and don't forget to erase the user account you created in your friend's computer.

Attention!

The method works for iCloud, but not for FaceTime!

Apparently, FaceTime does make a live login every time, and every time the kernel is checked. Why am i saying that? First of all, it doesn't work in my AMD. Second, remember when i formatted my Atom netbook and forgot to change the kernel? FaceTime (and Messages also) would not connect. But my iCloud account, previously set up, was working flawlessly. If someone gets a workaround for it, post here.

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