You can run macOS on a Nintendo DS - and here's how to do it

Nintendo DS Handheld Games Console
(Image credit: CaptNorth Via Shutterstock)

The Nintendo DS holds a special place in many of our hearts, and if you’re lucky enough to still have one today that may be collecting dust, we’ve found a fun little project you could try with the popular handheld console. 

YouTuber Michael MJD specializes in vintage tech and often makes videos with older computers and game consoles, running contemporary software on much older, whackier hardware just for the fun of it. 

Recently, he put out a video explaining how to run macOS on a Nintendo DS, which was too delightful for me not to share. There are quite a few steps involved, but if you’ve got the time and determination, you can even start creating doodles with MacPaint! The video below goes into more detail as to how exactly you’d achieve this, and we do recommend watching it a few times to get a handle on how everything is supposed to look if you’re going to attempt it yourself. 

You’ll need your Nintendo DS, an SD card, a Macintosh Plus emulator and Mini vMac DS. Once you download the Mini vMac DS files you’ll then have to put them on the SD card and install the appropriate version of macOS (Michael uses 6.0.8, as newer versions won’t run). With that done, you can plug that bad boy into the console and wait for it to boot up macOS. 

In the video, you can see that the bottom screen on the Nintendo DS is used as the keyboard and mouse tracker once macOS boots up, with Michael using the stylus to type on the keyboard and move the mouse around on the top screen. 

Michael MJD also shows how if you press the start button on the DS it pivots between using the touch screen and using the D-pad to manipulate the mouse and select the apps available on the operating system

The process may seem a bit complicated at first, but it’s still rather rewarding in the end if you’ve been hanging onto your old gaming console and looking for something to do with it instead of just leaving it to collect dust. You won’t be editing videos or drafting the next best selling novel on your DS, but this is definitely a fun weekend project worth trying if you’re a Nintendo and Apple fan. 

If you’re looking to actually use the most recent version of macOS, version 14 ‘Sonoma’, you can check out our list of the best Macs and MacBooks right now - no tricky installation required!

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Muskaan Saxena
Computing Staff Writer

Muskaan is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing writer. She has always been a passionate writer and has had her creative work published in several literary journals and magazines. Her debut into the writing world was a poem published in The Times of Zambia, on the subject of sunflowers and the insignificance of human existence in comparison.

Growing up in Zambia, Muskaan was fascinated with technology, especially computers, and she's joined TechRadar to write about the latest GPUs, laptops and recently anything AI related. If you've got questions, moral concerns or just an interest in anything ChatGPT or general AI, you're in the right place.

Muskaan also somehow managed to install a game on her work MacBook's Touch Bar, without the IT department finding out (yet).