In a new development uncovered by Qemu developer Gerd Hoffmann, Apple has apparently added early support for VirtIO and framebuffer graphics in a later Mac OS Mojave release.

These new Mac OS drivers (kexts) include support for stdvga and cirrus vga, to what extent still isn’t clear. What will probably be more interesting for passthrough users, though, is the addition of virtio-blk for disk passthrough and virtio-9p for drive sharing.

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Mac OS Virtio is Here

Mac OS running VirtIO-blk drivers per Gerd's testing

Source: Kraxel Blog.

In Hoffmann’s testing, both work with a little tweaking. He states that the virtio-blk driver only works in legacy mode, and the 9p share just needs to be mounted.

Clearly further testing is going to be needed to work out best practices and methodology, but it’s an extremely encouraging sign for those using Mac OS VMs daily.


Once we work out exactly how to support these features, it will mean better disk performance and more seamless host-guest communication.

Mac-OS-SimpleKVM maintainer Foxlet observed that this may be due to the re-introduction of rack mount mac pros, which would make perfect sense.

The high-spec models will be more than capable of advanced virtualization, so Apple is probably doing what they can to support that endeavor for customers. It may not be their intention, but this might also vastly improve quality of life for Hackintosh OS X VM users as well.

It’s still early days, so we may very well see increased VirtIO driver support in future releases. Networking might even be on the table. In the meantime, all we can do is wait and hope that new kexts keep rolling in.

We’ll continue covering this as the situation develops, and hopefully have a method for leveraging these changes soon. In the meantime, if any tinkerers want to test VirtIO, please let us know how it goes on our discord or in the comments.

Images Courtesy Gerd Hoffmann

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