Mac OS X Tiger on iBook Clamshell G3

I’ve had Mac OS X Tiger installed on my iBook Clamshell for about 3 months and just now I decided to blog about it. Installing Tiger wasn’t much of an ordeal. (Well that’s apple!) If you want to install Mac OS X Tiger on your iBook Clamshell, then I’ll give you a somewhat short tutorial. If not, and want to see some screenshots then just skip the tutorial part. Ok you need the following:

  • An iBook Clamshell.
  • Mac OS X Tiger Install CDs (not DVDs!) Make sure they’re the PPC version, not the Intel version. Well, anyways you can’t boot off the Intel versions.
  • Mac OS 9.2.2 or An earlier version of Mac OS X, like 10.3.9 or 10.2.8. You will need this for the next step.
  • XPostFacto, the software that will help you install Mac OS X Tiger on your iBook. By default, Mac OS X Tiger will NOT install because your machine is not supported. (Why? Because Mac OS X Tiger’s system requirements are a PowerPC G3, G4 or G5 with FireWire) If you try to install Mac OS X Tiger without XPostFacto, your destination disk will be grayed out and can’t install. XPostFacto will install Mac OS X Tiger on your unsupported device. Download XPostFacto here.
  • Plenty of disk space. Tiger needs at least 2-3 GB of Hard Disk space.
  • 256 or 512 MB of available RAM. If you have the original iBook with 32 MB built-in, then either 288 or 544 MB because that is the maximum amount of RAM you can put in. Or the iBook with 64 MB built-in, then 320 or 576 MB of RAM. Again, the maximum amount of RAM you can put in this model. (Will this work with only 128 MB? I’m not sure. I’ve never tried it. I’m not that sick and twisted…)
  • I would recommend backing up your system, just in case anything goes wrong, which is unlikely, if you know what your doing.
  • A comfy chair to do all this on.

Ok, now lets do this.

  1. First of all, turn on your computer. Boot into either Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X. Copy XPostFacto to any location in your drive. (I like to copy mines to the root of the hard drive.)
  2. Pop in your Mac OS X Tiger install CD (which is the 1st CD)
  3. Launch XPostFacto.
  4. Select the volume where you want to install Mac OS X Tiger into.
  5. Select your install CD
  6. Click on the Install button.
  7. It will now install some stuff, like a modified version of BootX and some kernel extensions and will restart your computer and will boot off your CD. This may take a while. Note, you will boot into verbose mode, and you will see a whole bunch of messages on your screen. This is normal. It may also seem to pause for a moment, again this is normal. But if it seems to be frozen then try to restart your iBook. and try again. Note, you do not need to go back to XPostFacto again.
  8. When you finally get to the Mac OS X Installer select the volume you want to install to. (Choose the same one!) Don’t format the volume! The files that XPostFacto copied need to be there in order to be able to install Tiger. Because if you do, you have to go all the way back to step 3! Also don’t choose “Erase and Install” or “Archive Install”.
  9. Follow the installer instructions.
  10. When Mac OS X Tiger is done installing, it will restart into Mac OS X Tiger! Congratulations! You have successfully installed Tiger on your iBook Clamshell G3 even though Apple says you can’t install it!
  11. If you ever want to boot back to Mac OS 9 (Assuming that Mac OS 9 was installed previously,) just simply go to System Preferences on the dock and go to Startup Disk and choose the Mac OS 9 system folder and just hit the restart button. That’s all there is to it.

Now that your done installing Mac OS X Tiger, its time to install some system updates. Note, you do not need XPostFacto to install system updates via Software Update.

  1. Go the Apple Menu > Software Updates and install what you see. That is all. Be sure to update to 10.4.11

I recommend using this program called Monolingual. It cleans up your system by removing unnecessary language packs that you don’t use. I’ve used this and I was able to delete over 300 MB of language packs on my computer. Monolingual also deletes CPU architectures that you don’t even use, and that uses disk space. For example, Have a G3 mac? Well you can get rid of G4 and G5 and even Intel architectures from apps and your system, freeing up disk space.


My desktop on my iBook Clamshell with Mac OS X Tiger installed. I love this wallpaper so much that I set it as my wallpaper on my iPod Touch!

A little info about my mac. As you can see, its a 300 MHz PowerPC G3 with 576 MB of RAM!!!

Ooooh… getting a bit technical…

As you can see, Quartz Extreme and Core Image isn’t supported at all on the iBook Clamshell. Requirements for Quartz Extreme and Core Image is that you need a GPU with 16 MB of VRAM or more. If you don’t know what QE and CI is, its responsible for graphics accleration. Theres no way to enable QE and CI on it.

Tiger running safari 4! Note, you can’t browse bookmarks in Coverflow, because… well, QE renders it. Safari 4.1.3 is the last version for Tiger. Which is why I’m using TenFourFox on it!!!

TenFourFox is derived from Firefox 4 Beta. Since Safari is no longer updated for Tiger, I’m using TenFourFox on it. Apple left us, Mozilla left us, but they didn’t. (TenFourFox)

Well that’s all! I hope you enjoyed this.


28 thoughts on “Mac OS X Tiger on iBook Clamshell G3

    • thewaffler100

      you need XPostFacto for install. Did you download that? Also, if you installed the modified boot files in XPostFacto, boot into your Mac OS X Install Disk, and do NOT choose clean install or archive install or format your hard drive, because that will delete the modified boot files and Mac OS X won’t install.

  1. Kristin W

    I have a Blueberry Clamshell with only 320 MB of RAM (and a 6GB Hard Drive). Now, I’m running 10.3.9, which is pretty quick and compatible with enough things that the machine is functional. However, as you are well aware, I’m at the bare edge of complete obsolence with 10.3.9.

    So… what I mean to ask is: how fast is 10.4.11 on the clamshell when compared to Tiger? How much of your 576 do you use when running a few apps (word processor, browser, maybe one or two other things)? Would it be much more unreasonable to run Tiger on my relatively meager 320? I realize I could invest $30 and upgrade the machine to 576, but I’d prefer to do as little investing as possible (got the machine on a whim for $45 including S/H on ebay and am enjoying it).


    • thewaffler100

      Well, Mac OS X Tiger uses only around 90-100 MB of actual RAM on my iBook, but most of it is pushed into my paging file or “virtual memory” Its about as fast as panther. I have AppleWorks 6 on my iBook which is a office suite application like word processing and stuff. AppleWorks 6 uses very little RAM as compared to Microsoft Office. I would recommend getting that 512 MB RAM stick. Because 512MB of RAM goes a long way on your iBook.

  2. Michael D

    Hi ,great blog and very usefull advice. I am just waiting for my osx 10.4 cd’s to arrive when i happened to find your pages.
    Hopefully this info will make the job easy.

    • thewaffler100

      It doesn’t run at all, due to the fact that Mac OS X disabled Quartz Extreme and Core Image (responsible for Hardware accleration) on these machines, so instead you get crappy software accleration.

  3. John Miller

    @kristinw I installed this on a g3 lombard powerbook with 320mb ram and it works fairly good. Freezes occasionally, might not boot fully or take a while, but all around its good. Most of the time it can run several apps simultaneously. It saved me some money, cause I had no airport card or internet support, and I was begging the easytether developers on android to send me their beta drivers for mac os x 10.2.8 (yes I was running jaguar!). But the dudes kept flaking on me! So now that ive upgraded to tiger, I installed easytether lite and it works! Dont have to spend 50 or 60 on an airport card or specialized usb card, and I can access the internet on my phones network, not just wifi. Its a shame about no youtube, though I wonder if maybe you could still rip the flash videos with a firefox add-on and convert them to mp4?

    • thewaffler100

      Video plays without problems in Quicktime, but I haven’t tried other video players such as VLC Player. It’s pretty neat that you can still run a newer operating system on a laptop that is over 10 years old. But if you find that Tiger is too slow and troublesome, why not try Linux? There are many distros, but my top distros are Xubuntu (Basically Ubuntu, but for less powerful systems) and Debian.

  4. John Miller

    Yeah, I have a few ubuntu flavors running as virtual machines on my regular imac, and ive thought about it. I dont know if I could get 10.4 to run, as thats the lowest that easytether can run on. I found a distro thats super lite called lubuntu, that may work. I dont know how to begin going about installing it though. Any thoughts?

      • POWERPC G4

        yes that’s true… I do have an iBookG4 + PowerBookG4 and I’m not worry at all, but with my Intel iMac I’m worried because I see some comments about virus… Intel bring virus for mac and that is bad…

  5. John Miller

    I like intel too, my main mac is an intel imac from 2006, and I’ve downloaded countless suspect things and never gotten a virus. As for my powerbook g3 lombard, I installed an xubuntu ppc port instead of os x 10.4 (I couldn’t figure out how to partition it to keep both). I installed xubuntu-9.04-alternate-powerpc.iso and am currently upgrading to xubuntu 10.04. I also downloaded lxde, the ultralight x11 desktop environment. I’ll let you know how well it operates. I’m hoping I could run the low quality flash add-on in firefox and perhaps even be able to watch youtube on it. A 12 years old computer that!

  6. John Miller

    I finally installed xubuntu 10.04 on the mac lombard, and even upgraded to natty narwhal (11.04)! Strange thing, firefox 4 works on it! I guess they made a ppc port, or just took tenfourfox and wrapped it in firefox decor? Well XFCE and LXDE work fine, but gnome just shuts down as quickly as it starts. But the movie player lets me watch modern movie formats which is amazing, though it takes a minute or two to stop skipping frames, and does so by pixillating the movie so that there’s swirls of missing pixels throughout the clip. It’s still amazing though.

    • thewaffler100

      Firefox 4 runs on a ppc Mac with Linux? That’s really odd. But then again it could just be TenFourFox. But it would be really odd that They would rebrand it as firefox because their license agreement forbids that a modified version of firefox be branded as firefox. Instead it should be named something else. Anyhoo, who needs gnome? Gnome is too slow for those systems. You can sorta use flash on ppc. It’s called gnash. Idk how well that performs. Never tried it.

  7. DeVon

    I have a 300mhz blue clamshell iBook.
    I upgraded my HD to a 20g, it ran for awhile
    then crashed.
    Problem my clamshell will not boot-
    1) with or without boot disc when placed
    into drive only thing that happens is a
    folder with face and question shows up.
    2) It stays in this position never changing,
    and not allowing any OS installation.
    Need to know what to do from A to Z tried all I know, now I need a professional!

    • Christian Debbie Cheerilee Alvarez

      Try to reset the PRAM (I think that’s what its called) there’s a little button which is located above the power button. It looks like this:

      If that doesn’t work, restart your iBook, and as soon as you hear the startup chime, press the option button to bring up the startup manager, it will display any disks detected. Hope this helps.

  8. DeVon

    Cannot get it to boot past the file with face and ? on it. Did hold Option key after reset I got two icons and a cursor that was frozen.
    Nothing seems to work, have tried Xfaxto..
    also to no avail.
    Help me somebody-not acustomed to working on macs!

    • Christian Debbie Cheerilee Alvarez

      The cursor froze? Did you try resetting the PRAM? This usually resets your open firmware’s settings. Do you happen to have a bootable Mac OS 9 CD? Try to boot off that and use the Disk Utility to try and fix any disk errors. I’m not sure, but I think you need to install Mac OS X on the first 8GB of your hard disk. If you don’t have a Mac OS 9 CD, go to this site:

      There’s a section that says Operating Systems.

  9. Kate

    I had a few questions about an ibook g3 clamshell that my friend found for me.

    It has a 300mhz processor (which i found i cannot upgrade), a 576MB RAM (which i cannot upgrade either, its maxed out), and a 10GB HD (which i will be upgrading to a 120GB 9.5mm HD ASAP). It is also dual booting Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X Panther 10.3.9

    I want to know if i can update just the Mac OS X Panther 10.3.9 to Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.9 using a set of tiger disks that i have without messing with the Mac OS 9 partition on the HD. I also want to know, if it IS possible to just update to Tiger, will it transfer the applications and files that are on Panther to Tiger.

    I figured you’d know something about this? i hope so =S

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