This blog post is an adapted script from a YouTube video I wrote in 2023 for one of my more popular videos. The video is the superior version and outlines the entire process of downgrading a Mac Pro 2008 to run Snow Leopard and demonstrates running 10.6. This is a companion piece, that serves as a general outline as opposed to a comprehensive overview, think of it as the TLDR or cliff notes. I highly recommend checking out the video.

OS X Snow Leopard remains to this day the most loved version of macOS. I made a video about which version of macOS is the "best," and I felt I may have been a bit harsh as, like most people, I absolutely adored Snow Leopard.

The question is, can you use OS X 10.6 from 2009 to 2024? The answer is... yes but with a lot of asterisks.

  • Snow Leopard is only supported by Intel Macs from 2005 - 2010
  • Modern software will not work on it. Generally, software releases dropped support for it in the early 2010s.
  • Upgraded Macs like a Mac Pro 3,1/4,1/5,1 may need to be downgraded to hardware that was originally supported.
  • High resolutions beyond 1440p likely are not supported, and 10.6 does not have resolution scaling.

For example, in the video, I had to install the original GPU on my Mac Pro 2008, downgrading from a GeForce 760 to an ATI Radeon 2600 XT. I also could not use Wi-Fi, as I'd upgraded the AirPort card to 802.11 AC/Bluetooth 4.x.


Snow Leopard was loved for feeling snappy, and it does live up to the hype, although this shouldn't come as much of a surprise running this with a Mac Pro 8-Core 2.8 GHz 2008, off an SSD and 8 GB RAM, which was well specced for 2009. Ironically, at the time of 10.6, my Mac Pro 2008 had more RAM sitting at 12 GB in 2009.

Snow Leopard's speed, however, is a bit skin deep as in Lion. CNet in 2011 found that Lion had a mild performance uplift over Snow Leopard. If you're looking for speed, most of it likely existed in simpler software of the era than any magic elixir, and it lacks the modern 6. management that was introduced in Mavericks, such as virtual memory compression. 10.7 also has more modern browser support.


The biggest barrier to using Snow Leopard is the internet. Apple's high release cadence and constant API library changes mean there isn't a lot of long tail support. More modern CSS3 and especially JavaScript ES6 are not supported Safari and it also lacks TLS 1.2 and TLS 1.3, Fetch API, WebSockets, IndexedDB, Content Security Policy (CSP) and Subresource Integrity (SRI). For the truly nerdy, the Safari JavaScript engine was still using "SquirrelFish", instead of the current engine, JavaScriptCore. This means a large portion of the internet is not accessible out-of-the-box with Safari 5.

The last officially supported browser for 10.6 was Firefox ESR 45 ESR from August 2016, which is now eight years old, an eternity in internet years, making for limited capability. While it supports many more features, trying to surf the internet is a very broken experience. The web is semi-usable, but viewing websites like Apple's homepage is a mess.

However, there are some much more modern browsers. They are as follows:

Whatever "newness" Roccat 8 had didn't extend to better support. Unless future releases radically improve, this one is best avoided. The others were much more interesting.

SpiderWeb vs InnerWeb vs ArticFox

Historically, both Firefox Legacy was the legacy browser of choice, but it was sunsetted years ago. Fortunately, a new crop of browsers has risen up, although none can be considered a cutting-edge browser. Each of these is a Firefox hack, and all are fairly similar in ability, with the last active development stopping around 2022/23~. This means they're mostly able to surf the modern web... for now.

SpiderWeb is a bit janky. It requires a polyfill XPI, Palefill (which is included with the browser but must be manually installed). A polyfill is a small JavaScript code snippet or library that allows modern web features and APIs to be used in older browsers that lack native support for those features and an XPI file, FireFox's plugin format.

Innerweb is a simple double-click experience that doesn't require manual installation or hacking.

ArticFox is yet another Firefox spin-off, but with the caveat that it's still being actively developed. Installing it takes a bit more work; there weren't any instructions included, so it took me a minute to figure it out. When you download ArticFox for 10.6, you need to download its lib files in the format of two Libc++ dylib files. These must be installed manually `usr/lib`. To do this, you need to first enable invisible files, which requires the terminal command on the screen, and then restart the finder.

None of these browsers are truly modern as they're hacks at best, relying on stacks of work-arounds like polyfills, and shims to extend the functionality. Snow Leopard is 15 year old operating system and thus few users (if any) are daily driving a Snow Leopard.

Creative Software

While I did not test CS6, Adobe CS5.5 works great in Snow Leopard, but this places it massively behind. Connect my iPhone 14 Pro to my Mac, use image capture to import a DNG (RAW) image, and edit in Photoshop. However, DNG is an established format, unlike "RAW," which is on a per-camera maker basis. Modern cameras shooting in various manufactured RAW variants probably will not work.

This sort of behavior extends to all creative software. It's possible to do real creative work well; however, you'll be locked to the tools of the 2010s. Editing video in Final Cut Pro is certainly possible, but the lack of the modern conveniences and more modern codec support like AVC mean either shooting in supported formats like MPEG4 and ProRes, and the hardware of that era is generally illsuited for 4k. This shouldn't come as a surprise but a Mac Mini M1 with only 8 GB of RAM with Final Cut Pro X would dog walk a Mac Pro 5,1 with 64 GB of RAM and Final Cut Pro 7 in Snow Leopard.


I haven't spent much time with 10.6 Snow Leopard in the domain of networking beyond the absence of support with my newer AirPort card but I did notice a quirk that it was not able to connect to my Synology NAS via SMB. If I get around to exploring this, I'll certainly update this section. Networking between other Macs worked without hitches. I was also able to connect via Apple's Screenshare to Snow Leopard and operate the computer from other modern Macs.

Legacy Support and Rosetta

Snow Leopard is the last version of macOS that supports Rosetta for PowerPC emulation. Early OS X games are unlikely to work or work well, but many have worked with Rosetta, whereas general software has a greater chance of working.

CNET has an article on Rosetta's compatibility and the supported applications are fairly mixed. It's great for reminding us how smooth the transition to Apple Silicon has been compared to the PowerPC to x86 transition.

Should you run Snow Leopard?

No, you should absolutely not run 10.6 as a daily driver. It's woefully out of date for security. However, if you're looking for a bit of nostalgia, it's entertaining.