ThinkPad x220 macOS Sierra 10.12 Installation Guide

Follow these steps to perform a clean installation of macOS Sierra 10.12 on your ThinkPad X220 or X220 Tablet.

Most macOS Sierra features are fully functional on the ThinkPad X220. See the Not Functioning section of the Notes and Suggestions at the bottom of this page for the latest status.

  • If you already have OS X 10.11 El Capitan or OS X 10.10 Yosemite on your X220 we recommend a clean installation of macOS Sierra, not an update from the existing installation.
  • See the guide here to install OS X 10.11 El Capitan on the ThinkPad X220.
  • See the guide here to install OS X 10.10 Yosemite on the ThinkPad X220.
  • See the guide here to dual-boot macOS and Windows.
  • Please use our contact form if you find anything that isn’t accurate.



  1. Update the BIOS with the official Lenovo BIOS version 1.43 available here: Windows 1.43 Update Utility or Bootable 1.43 CD Image
  2. Install the modified BIOS version 1.43 to remove the whitelist check and permit the installation of a macOS compatible wifi card. This modified BIOS will also enable advanced settings and improve battery life under macOS.
    MD5: 38ae7f20e1dfa6d3b5aa034653e0eec7
    Please note the warning on the Advanced menu in the BIOS: Setting items on this screen to incorrect values may cause the system to malfunction! The default values will work fine but the wrong settings can brick your X220.

    WiFi card recommendations:

    – Stock wifi cards in the X220 are not compatible with macOS
    – Wifi cards that require no configuration whatsoever and will work automatically in macOS:
    Dell DW1510 (can be rebranded, if desired, as Apple AirPort Extreme by following the steps here)
    Dell DW1515
    – For 802.11ac + Bluetooth as well as Continuity/Handoff support, it may be possible to make the AzureWave AW-CE123H (aka Dell DW1550) card work by following the steps in the guide here. Another guide that might be helpful is available here. Note that it will not be possible to boot from the standard USB installer with this card installed; only install this card after the macOS installation is complete and the necessary modifications have been made.
    – Various other Mini PCIe and USB wifi adapters compatible with macOS are listed here
  3. Press F1 at starup to adjust the BIOS settings as follows:
    – Restart > Load Setup Defaults
    – Config > Power > Power On with AC Attach > Disabled
    – Config > Serial ATA (SATA) > AHCI

    – Security > Memory protection > Execution Prevention > Enabled
    – Startup > UEFI/Legacy Boot > Both
  4. Download the Install macOS Sierra app from the App Store.
  5. Insert an 8GB or larger USB disk
  6. Open Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility
    – Select the USB disk in the left pane (select the physical disk, not a volume on the disk)
    – Click the Erase button
    – Under Name: type USB
    – Under Format: select Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
    – Under Scheme select GUID Partition Map
    – Click Erase
  7. Open Applications > Utilities > Terminal and enter the following command:
    sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ --volume /Volumes/USB --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ --no interaction
  8. Enter your password when prompted
  9. After approximately 25-35 minutes the process will finish and the USB will be renamed Install macOS Sierra (wait for the “copy complete” message in the Terminal before continuing)
  10. Download the ThinkPad X220 macOS Sierra Utility and Kext Pack and place a copy on your installation USB
  11. Launch Clover Configurator from the Utility and Kext Pack and click the Mount EFI Partition button
  12. Click the Mount Partition button to the right of the EFI partition of your USB. It will appear as EFI on EFI, Install macOS Sierra (disk*s1)
  13. Quit Clover Configurator and copy the entire EFI folder from the Utility and Kext Pack to the EFI partition of your USB, replacing the existing folder if present.
    The EFI partition on your USB should now contain a single folder named EFI that contains two folders: BOOT and CLOVER. It should look like this:
  14. Eject your USB
  15. Disconnect any external monitors or other devices and place the USB installer in a USB 2.0 port of your ThinkPad X220. Press F12 at startup to select the USB as your boot drive
  16. Use the arrow keys to select Boot OS X Install from Install macOS Sierra at the Clover bootloader menu and press Enter
  17. From the macOS Utilities screen, launch Disk Utility then select your target disk (select the physical disk, not a volume on the disk) and click Erase
  18. Name the target disk Macintosh HD, select OS X Extended (Journaled) format, GUID Partition Map scheme and click Erase
  19. After the erase process finishes, quit Disk Utility, select Install macOS and follow the prompts to do a standard macOS installation on Macintosh HD
  20. The install process will progress very slowly and the estimated time remaining will be inaccurate. Just wait – it may take up to an hour finish (if the screen dims you can press a key to wake it)
  21. The computer will eventually restart. When it does, press F12 to select the USB as your boot disk and then select Boot macOS from Macintosh HD at the Clover bootloader menu.
    (If Macintosh HD does not show in the menu just select the Install macOS Sierra disk again – it is normal for the installer to trigger a reboot during the installation process)
  22. Complete the guided macOS setup
  23. Copy the Utility and Kext Pack to your Desktop and eject the USB installer
  24. Open Applications > Utilities > Terminal and enter the following command to allow apps downloaded from unidentified developers:
    sudo spctl --master-disable
  25. Launch Clover Configurator from the Utility and Kext Pack and click the Mount EFI Partition button
  26. Click the Mount Partition button to the right of the EFI partition of your hard drive. It will appear as EFI on EFI, Macintosh HD, Recovery HD (disk*s1)
  27. The EFI partition for Macintosh HD should now be mounted and show in the sidebar under Devices when you open a Finder window
  28. Copy the folders named BOOT and CLOVER from the EFI folder in the Utility and Kext Pack to the EFI folder on the EFI partition of Macintosh HD.
    The EFI partition should now contain a single folder named EFI that contains three folders named APPLE, BOOT and CLOVER. It should look like this:
  29. Open Utility and Kext Pack > EFI > CLOVER > kexts and launch the script entitled _kext-install.command
  30. Enter your password when prompted and wait for the process completed message after the script has installed the kexts
  31. Confirm the installation USB has been removed and restart the computer
  32. Install any system updates available through the App Store and take a moment to read through the Notes and Suggestions section below
  33. Recommended additional steps to improve battery life with optimized CPU power management:
    1. Confirm that you have an active connection to the Internet
    2. Open Applications > Utilities > Terminal then copy and paste the following command in the Terminal window and hit Enter:
      curl -o ~/
    3. Next, paste this command in the Terminal window and hit Enter:
      chmod +x ~/
    4. Finally, paste this command in the Terminal window and hit Enter:
    5. Answer ‘N’ to the questions about copying and opening the ssdt files
    6. A customized SSDT.aml for your specific machine will now be in the /Users/yourusername/Library/ssdtPRGen directory
      (quickly access this directory in the Finder by holding the Option key (<Windows> key) while selecting the Go menu and then selecting Library)
    7. Copy SSDT.aml to /Volumes/EFI/EFI/CLOVER/ACPI/patched/
      (you may need to run Clover Configurator to mount the EFI partition)
    8. Restart the computer


Notes and Suggestions

  • User Reviews of this Guide
  • General Suggestions
    • Do not encrypt your boot drive with FileVault. Doing so will prevent the system from booting correctly.
    • Keep your installation USB on hand. After installing macOS system updates it is sometimes necessary to boot the system with the USB and re-install kexts to get everything working properly again.
    • Use Clover Configurator if you need to mount the EFI partition or make modifications to the provided config.plist
    • If a kernel panic occurs, boot from the installation USB, select the installation drive, hit the space bar and select Boot Mac OS X in safe mode to successfully boot and make necessary changes.
    • USB adapters for wireless mice or keyboards may trigger a restart when attempting to shut down. The only known solution is to remove the USB adapter before shutting down.
    • Default sleep settings may cause a 20-25 second delay in sleeping and waking. To reduce this delay the hibernatemode setting can be changed to mode 0 by entering the following command in Applications > Utilities > Terminal:
      sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0
    • If you are encountering a black screen when waking from sleep, use Clover Configurator to edit the Clover config.plist and add the boot argument darkwake=8
  • Touchpad, TrackPoint and Tablet Input
    • Touchpad and TrackPoint use a version of RehabMan’s VoodooPS2Controller.kext modified by tluck for the ThinkPad T420 in the guide here.
    • Turn off the touchpad with the <PrtSc> key if you will only be using the TrackPoint – this will prevent an issue with unintentional double-clicks with the TrackPoint buttons.
    • Touchpad supports three-finger swipe right and left (forward and back) in Finder, Safari and other browsers
    • For X220 Tablet models, pen input should already work properly. For touch input, install ControllerMate and use the script written by user jakibaki available here. Jakibaki’s script also adds some gestures including swipe from top to get Mission Control, swipe from bottom for Launchpad and swipe from left/right to switch workspaces.
  • Special Keys
    • The <PrtSc> key toggles the touchpad on and off
    • The <ScrLk> and <Pause> keys adjust screen brightness as do the standard <Fn>+<Home> and <Fn>+<End> keys
    • The <Insert> key will eject the CD/DVD drive (attached by USB or docking station)
    • The blue ThinkVantage button will toggle between normal fan speeds and the maximum fan speed. Not currently functioning correctly.
    • The <Windows> key functions as the macOS <Option> key
    • The <Alt> key functions as the macOS <Command> key
    • The <Fn> key is used as follows:
      <Fn>+<F4> puts the computer to sleep
      <Fn>+<ScrLk> toggles NmLk (to use the right side of the keyboard as a number pad)
      <Fn>+<Home> brightness up
      <Fn>+<End> brightness down
      <Fn>+<PgUp> toggles ThinkLight
  • Fan Speed and Noise
    • Fan speeds can be reduced by installing the alternate dsdt.aml and ACPIPoller.kext available here
    • Fan noise can also be regulated by changing the BIOS setting under Config > Power > Adaptive Thermal Management to Balanced
  • Video / External Displays
    • To enable scaled resolutions of 1536 x 864 and 1920 x 1080 on the stock LCD panel, follow the steps here
    • Video output through VGA, DisplayPort and docking stations works normally for single external monitor configurations (internal LCD + one external monitor)
    • If an external monitor is not automatically detected, open System Preferences > Displays and press the Option key (the <Windows> key on the X220 keyboard). This will show a Detect Displays button which should make the external monitor show up immediately.
    • If an external monitor has been attached to the VGA port and the internal display remains dark, try increasing brightness with the <Fn>+<Home> keys.
  • Miscellaneous
    • To enable docking station headphone and microphone ports, use the alternate AppleHDA_20672.kext available here. Simply place this alternate version in Utility and Kext Pack > EFI > CLOVER > kexts > Other and repeat steps 29-31 above. Note that the combo audio jack on the right side of the computer will not function correctly with this alternate AppleHDA_20672.kext – we are working on a solution to this.
    • DW1510 wireless cards can be rebranded to identify as native Apple AirPort Extreme cards by following the steps here
    • Time Machine can be used to back up and restore your X220. Complete the restore process by booting from the installation USB and repeating steps 25 – 28 (and optionally step 33) to restore the contents of the EFI partition. SuperDuper is another good backup solution.
    • HWSensors provides a convenient way to monitor the status of your system from the menu bar
    • If the Bluetooth radio is turned off in Windows or Linux it may no longer show up when booting into macOS. Boot back into Windows or Linux to turn the Bluetooth radio back on.
    • If Messages (iMessage) does not work correctly, see the guide here 
    • Custom “OS X220” desktop wallpaper by user Will is available here
  • Sources / Credits
    • Original source of modified BIOS 1.43 is here
    • Included dsdt.aml, config.plist and kext installation script are from tluck’s ThinkPad T420 guide found here
    • Guide to editing dsdt.aml with MaciASL can be found here
    • Custom ssdt.aml script source is here
  • Not functioning
    • SD Card reader
    • Fingerprint reader
    • Microphone mute button on top of keyboard


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  • macOS Sierra Update 10.12.4 – installs with minor issues. Download the current Utility and Kext Pack and repeat steps 25-33 to correct an issue with screen brightness control.
  • macOS Sierra Update 10.12.3 – installs with no issues.
  • macOS Sierra Update 10.12.2 – installs with no issues.
  • macOS Sierra Update 10.12.1 – installs with no issues. This update resolves the issue with the keyboard volume increase/decrease buttons.



  • 03/27/2017: Updated Utility and Kext Pack with AppleBacklightInjector.kext to fix brightness control issue with 10.12.4 update as well as newer version of Clover and Clover Configurator.
  • 01/23/2016: Updated Utility and Kext Pack with BlueTooth_Injector.kext to fix BlueTooth on/off functionality, new version of VoodooPS2Controller.kext and latest Clover Configurator. Removed obsolete BroadcomBluetooth.kext.
  • 12/29/2016: Updated Utility and Kext Pack with new version of VoodooPS2Controller.kext that improves middle button function, gestures and fixes <Fn>+<Home/End> to adjust screen brightness. Also updated FakeSMC.kext as well as various Clover bootloader files.
  • 11/26/2016: Updated Utility and Kext Pack with new versions of Clover Configurator and the following kexts: ACPIBatteryManager, FakeSMC, IntelBacklight, IntelMausiEthernet, VoodooPS2Controller. No significant changes or improvements.
  • 11/22/2016: Updated step 2 with new version of modified BIOS
  • 11/15/2016: Updated Utility and Kext Pack with new version of VoodooPS2Controller.kext that corrects unintentional clicks when scrolling with the TrackPoint
  • 11/12/2016: Updated Utility and Kext Pack with new version of VoodooPS2Controller.kext that corrects <CapsLk> issue.
  • 11/08/2016: Updated Utility and Kext Pack with new version of VoodooPS2Controller.kext that improves trackpad scrolling
  • 11/03/2016: Updated Utility and Kext Pack with new version of VoodooPS2Controller.kext that corrects numerous Trackpad issues. Removed steps for installing the now-obsolete patched Trackpad prefPane. A stock unmodified macOS Sierra Trackpad prefPane is available here if you previously installed the patched version in System/Library/PreferencePanes.
  • 09/25/2016: Updated Utility and Kext Pack with new version of Clover Configurator. Added post-install step to enable apps downloaded from unidentified developers.
  • 09/20/2016: Initial version of guide posted


OS X220 Wallpaper

Custom wallpaper by Will. Click image to download full resolution.

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