Passion project converts a vintage iMac G4 into a modern Apple silicon computer

One developer’s decided to pay a creative tribute to Steve Jobs on the tenth anniversary of his passing by turning a vintage iMac G4 all-in-one desktop into a modern Apple silicon system.


  • Colby Sheets turns his 2002 iMac G4 into a modern-day Mac
  • He took out the G4 chip and replaced it with Apple’s M1
  • It worked! The vintage system now boots into Big Sur

A still from Apple ad showing the Apple M1 chip

Say hello to an iMac G4 with an Apple M1 chip

A passion project celebrating Steve Job’s life “and his inspiration to many,” iOS developer Colby Sheets has converted his vintage iMac powered by the PowerPC G4 chip into a fully-functioning Apple silicon system. Basically, Sheets pulled Apple’s M1 chip from a Mac mini motherboard and showed it into his iMac. He paired the chip with 8GB of RAM.

The switch worked and his iMac boots happily into Big Sur, as evidenced by the video embedded ahead that Sheets shared on Twitter. The legendary all-in-one desktop was unveiled back in 2002 and remains one of the most recognizable pieces of Apple design.

The computer was affectionally dubbed iLamp because it resembles Pixar’s lamp.

“I wanted to show a passion project I’ve been working on that I think Steve would be proud of,” he said. “Something that wasn’t possible 20 years ago but is now.” In subsequent tweets, he shared some of the details regarding the project he described as a “dream computer of mine since I was young and I’m very proud to bring it back to life 2 decades later.”

A how-to video is coming soon

Sheets has said that he wouldn’t be able to complete the project without a little help from vintage Mac collector Pendleton115’s YouTube walkthroughs about computer mods. For those interested in giving their vintage Mac an Apple silicon treatment, Sheets has promised to explain more about the mod soon, including sharing the steps along with a video walkthrough.

He wrote on the MacRumors Forums:

I’ve always wanted the iMac G4 since I was a kid and I knew a few people made some hackintosh’s with them but I didn’t want that, I wanted a real Mac. I always thought about putting the Mac mini internals in it but with intel chips it wouldn’t work for a couple reasons (size, heat/airflow). Well now with the M1 how thermally cool it runs, I thought I’d give it another shot! Well I’m proud to say after a lot of frustrating weeks and reengineering of the G4 dome base, it was a success! I’m typing this on the updated G4 right now.

He definitely deserves to be applauded for his hard work and success.

The transition to Apple silicon isn’t over yet

As you know, the Apple M1 chip currently powers the 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, 24-inch iMac and iPad Pro. The Cupertino technology powerhouse is also expected to unveil a new 14-inch MacBook Pro along with an updated 16-inch model later in October, and both these notebooks should be powered by the M1X, an enhanced version of the current Apple M1 chip featuring ten processing cores and either 16 or 32 graphics cores.

The unreleased M1X chip is also expected to drive a pro-focused Mac mini and Apple is yet to update the current Intel-based 30-inch iMac and Mac Pro with its own silicon.