Kexts: Everything About Kexts

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Kexts stands for Kernel Extensions, Kernel is actually the heart of macOS, It is basically the one that gets your Operating System boot & work. The function of Kexts are similar to Drivers in Windows. Kexts extend the functionality of macOS by providing additional codes to the kernel. Basically, Kexts are loaded when macOS boots. Simply Kexts are similar to Drivers in Windows, Different hardware needs different drivers that are the basics.

macOS comes with hundreds of defaults kexts, When you use a Macintosh you will probably never have to install any kexts because every Kexts which are needed by your computer are already bundled with macOS.

1 What Happened to Kexts?

At the WWDC conference 2019, Apple announced plans to deprecate macOS Kernel Extensions/KEXTS and replace them with a new mechanism called System Extensions. With macOS Big Sur Kernel Extensions are Deprecated.

2 Where Kexts are Found?

System kexts are usually found in /System/Library/Extensions folder (Shortly /S/L/E) but most third-party kexts can be found in /Library/Extensions folder (Shortly /L/E). Users were allowed to install kexts to /S/L/E folder in OS X Yosemite and previous Mac OS X Versions but starting from OS X EL Capitan Apple restricts write access to many system folders including /System/Library/Extensions folder. Users can install Kexts /S/L/E by disabling System Integrity Protection or Kexts can be installed to /Library/Extensions folder.

Kexts needs special file system Permissions to work in macOS, without correct permissions Kexts will not be loaded by macOS. Permissions on macOS are used to keep your files secure. They are designed so that certain programs can not tamper into system files they have no business with and modify it. Every file and folder on your Mac comes with an associated set of permissions. So are Kexts, Technically Kexts must have 755 permissions and owned by root:wheel, When kexts are failed to load, You may have to fix kexts permissions manually as described in upcoming paragraphs.

3 How to Install Kexts for Clover Bootloader

Installing Kexts when you use a Clover as Boot-loader is like copy and Paste.

First you need to Mount EFI Partition, To mount it download Clover Configurator or Mount EFI.

Mount EFI Partition with Clover Configurator Application

To Mount EFI With Clover Configurator, Open Clover Configuratorapp , Select Tab Mount EFI listed under TOOLS section, Select your Hard disk where you Installed Hackintosh, Click Mount Partition then click Open Partition.

Mount EFI Partition with EFI Mounter Application

To Mount EFI With EFI Mounter, Open EFI Mounter app, Select your hard disk/SSD where you Installed Hackintosh. Click Mount EFI. Open Finder, Open EFI Partition from Finder.

How to Install Kexts

  • In your EFI Partition Navigate to /EFI/Clover/kexts
  • Create a folder with name Other
  • Copy kexts into folder Other.

Advanced Kext Loading

When You have multiple macOS, If you want Clover to load specific Kexts for a specific macOS version this comes in handy, For an Example If you want to load Foo.kext only for macOS Big Sur, Create a folder with name 11.0, and copy kext Foo.kext in to it. So Installed Location would be.

/EFI/Clover/Kexts/11.0/Foo.kext

Every macOS comes with a version number, Some are listed below.

  • Yosemite 10.10
  • EL Capitan 10.11
  • Sierra 10.12
  • High Sierra 10.13
  • Mojave 10.14
  • Catalina 10.15
  • Big Sur 11.0

4 How to Install Kexts with Kext Wizard

How to Install Kexts with Kext Wizard

Kext wizard is an application to Install kexts, Kext Wizard only allows Installation to /S/L/E folder, You can not install to /L/E with it.

  • Download Kext Wizard
  • Open Kext Wizard application, Select Installation Tab.
  • Drag and Drop kexts into the white space of the kext wizard app.
  • Select “Backup kexts that will be replaced” if you want to keep a backup of kext, This is optional and doesn’t applies if you are installing a brand new kext.
  • Click Install.

5 How to Install Kexts with Kext Utility

  • Download Kext Utility Application.
  • Copy Kext Utility to Applications folder.
  • Pin Kext Utility to Dock by dragging it from Applications folder and dropping in Dock.
  • Select all the kexts that you want to install, Drag all kexts and drop them over the Kext Utility Icon in Dock.

6 How to Install Kexts Manually with Terminal

Let assume you have a kext named Example.kext in your downloads folder.

sudo cp -R ~/Downloads/Example.kext /Library/Extensions/

You have successfully copied kexts, You can also simply copy-paste kexts to /L/E any Repairing Kexts permissions is essential to make installed kext work and load with macOS.

sudo chown -R root:wheel /Library/Extensions/Example.kext
sudo chmod -R 755 /Library/Extensions/Example.kext

but when you are installing a lot of kexts set permissions to Extensions folder itself to make the process easy.

sudo chown -R root:wheel /Library/Extensions
sudo chmod -R 755 /Library/Extensions
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