Monolithic OS X, myth or reality? Should an OS X from a mac work in a different mac?

By rodion15
Jun 22, 2016
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  1. I've been told this by a colleague and I'd like to know if this is or isn't correct:

    If you use take the hard drive from a macbook and install it in an iMac, then the iMac may not have the appropriate drivers, so you would need to do an OS X update to make sure its drivers are updated. Even if the OS X is the same or newer that the OS X that originally came with the machines.

    He also mentioned Monolithic OS X, which means that, an OS X boot volume for a specific Mac may not have the necessary drivers (or Kernel Extensions, to use Apple terms) that another mac would need, which means it shouldn't always work correctly in another different mac.
    All this provided both macs are able to run that OS X version (example: a 2011 macbook air and a 2013 iMac) and that the OS X release and update are the same or newer to the one they were released with.

    I thought this was true for Windows PCs, but not for OS X, in OS X, my assumption is that, even if you install OS X without internet connection using an installer, that OS X will contain all the kernel extensions and should run whatever mac you install it to, provided it's a compatible mac. All provided the OS X version and build is the same or newer to the OS X version that originally was installed in the macs.
    There's "system builds" specific for certain macs, but even so, if you installed a bootable hdd from another mac in this one, it should work fine provided the OS X is that specific build or a later newer OS X.

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