Free Macintosh / PowerPC / 68k Emulators

Emulate a 68K or PowerPC Macintosh

Free 68k (680x0) and PowerPC (PPC) Macintosh Emulators

Listed on this page are Macintosh emulators: some of them emulate a 68k Macintosh (such as what you get in the Macintosh Quadra, Performa, Classic, etc), others emulate a PowerPC Macintosh. Note that if you are using a 68k Mac emulator and wish to run Mac OS (such as System 7.5.5, etc), you will need to have a real Mac around somewhere since such systems require you to have a Mac ROM. (the various emulators usually provide you with instructions on how you can make a copy of the ROM from your real Mac).

At present, I know of no software emulator that can emulate an Intel x86 Macintosh or to run OS X in a virtual machine on a PC.

Note: if you are looking for an emulator or virtual machine that runs on a Mac and allows you to emulate a PC, running operating systems like Windows, you should try the Free x86 PC Emulators and Virtual Machines page instead. If you prefer the features, speed and completeness of support of a commercial software, try looking at Parallels Desktop for Mac and VMWare Fusion

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Free PowerPC (PPC) Mac Emulators

QEMU CPU Emulator

QEMU supports the emulation of x86 processors, ARM, SPARC and PowerPC. Host CPUs (processors that can run the QEMU emulator) include x86, PowerPC, Alpha, Sparc32, ARM, S390, Sparc64, ia64, and m68k (some of these are still in development). When emulating a PC (x86), supported guest operating systems include MSDOS, FreeDOS, Windows 3.11, Windows 98SE, Windows 2000, Linux, SkyOS, ReactOS, NetBSD, Minix, etc. When emulating a PowerPC, currently tested guest OSes include Debian Linux.

SoftPear PC/Mac Interoperability

SoftPear is a compatibility layer that allows you to run Mac OS X on PC (x86) hardware. It works by dynamically recompiling Mac programs (including Mac OS X) into x86 binary code that runs on your PC, and adding a layer that translates things like endianness.


This is essential a virtual machine that allows you to run Mac OS as well as Mac OS X on top of a Linux host system that runs on a PowerPC computer. Supported host CPUs include the PowerPC 603, 604, G3 and G4. It also allows the use of AltiVec in the Guest OS if the CPU supports it. At the time this was written, only PCI devices (hard disks, USB drives, CDROM and DVD drives, etc) that do not use DMA are natively supported.

SheepShaver An Open Source PowerMac Emulator

SheepShaver allows you to run classic MacOS applications on BeOS and Linux. It includes a PowerPC emulator which is used if you are using a non-PPC system. It supports MacOS 7.5.2 to 8.6 as the guest operating system, a colour display, internet and LAN networking via Ethernet, serial drivers, SCSI Manager emulation, file exchange with the host OS, access to floppy disks, CD-ROMs, HFS(+) partitions on hard disks, sound, etc.

PearPC PowerPC Architecture Emulator

PearPC emulates a PPC (PowerPC) Macintosh, allowing you to run Darwin PPC, Mac OS X and Linux in the emulated machine. Supported hosts include Windows and Linux (and possibly other Unix-type systems).

Free 680x0 (68K) Macintosh Emulators

PCE/macplus New

PCE/macplus is an open source emulator for the Macintosh 128K, Macintosh 512k, Macintosh 512ke, Macintosh Plus, Macintosh SE and Macintosh Classic. It emulates the MC68000 microprocessor with RAM configurations from 128 KB to 4 MB. Precompiled versions of the emulator, including the ROM image and operating system software, that runs on Windows, are available. The C source code is released under the GNU General Public License. This is the Mac emulator currently used by the Internet Archive for their MacOS System 7.1 Compilation.

Mini vMac

Mini vMac is an emulator for the Macintosh Plus and Macintosh SE. There are versions for Windows, Mac OS X, Mac OS 9 (PowerPC), Linux (x86), Pocket PC, and Macintosh 680x0. The source code is released under the GNU GPL.

Basilisk II/JIT 680x0 Macintosh Emulator

Basilisk II/JIT is an adaptation of the original Basilisk II Macintosh emulator (see elsewhere on this page) to include a just-in-time (JIT) compiler (presumably speeding up the emulated machine). Host platforms include Linux/i386, FreeBSD/i386 and Windows. Guest OSes include the 68k Mac OS. Basilisk II/JIT is open source.

Basilisk II Macintosh Emulator

The Basilisk II Mac emulator allows you to emulate a 68k Macintosh on a variety of platforms, including BeOS (PowerPC and x86), Unix with X11 (including Linux, Solaris 2.5, FreeBSD and IRIX), AmigaOS 3.x, and Windows. The emulator is able to emulate a Mac Classic or Mac II depending on the Mac ROM you use (not included). Your emulated Mac has a colour display, CD quality sound output, floppy disk drive, HFS partitions and files, CDROM drive, etc. You can easily move files between your host system and the emulated machine. Basilisk II is open source.

SoftMac XP Suite and Fusion PC

SoftMac is a 68k Macintosh emulator that runs under Windows. Fusion PC emulates a 68k Mac on MSDOS systems. Note that in spite of what the website and software claims, I have never been able to get sound working on SoftMac (nor have, apparently, anyone else I know). You will need a Mac ROM for the emulator to work.

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