Because you can: how to run Windows Phone OS on an old Apple MacBook

An old MacBook laptop running Windows Phone OS
(Image credit: Nobel Tech on YouTube)

At some point this year, Martin Noble, a YouTube content creator, must have come across his old MacBook, which was a late 2008 Intel Mac. Perhaps he hadn’t seen it in a while. Who knows. But when he stumbled upon that old MacBook, at some point, he must have said to himself, “You know, Martin, I believe you can run the Windows Phone operating system on that laptop.” 

For those keeping score, Microsoft officially discontinued support and production of Windows Phone devices in December 2019.

And this past Monday, "after a bit of experimenting,” Noble acted on his observation: He was able to get Windows 10 Mobile to run on his old MacBook, according to Windows Central, who also added that “there is no practical use for this. It's just fun!” 

As proof, this past Monday, Noble also posted a video of his project.

In addition to his video, Noble created a how-to guide to adding Windows Phone OS on a MacBook laptop

Windows Central noted that one interesting aspect of Noble’s exercise was that it showed how well Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps “scale across different screen sizes. Keep in mind, all the apps seen running in the video were designed for a phone, yet many of them scale incredibly well on the MacBook's 13-inch display.” They also said that this flexible scaling was due to UWP being an adaptive app platform.

What’s more is that Nobel just published a how-to guide on his website yesterday, called “How I put Windows Phone on a MacBook!” So, if you’d like to replicate his achievement, he says in his introduction that “this tutorial will explain it in the most basic terms. And if you know what you’re doing, it’s actually very simple.” Nobel also illustrates the story and the four steps you’ll need to use to run Windows Phone on Mac.

If you do get stuck, you could send Noble an email, which he includes at the end of the story.

Personally, when I look at the video, I’m of two minds: Part of me feels like he’s made an Apple MacBook laptop look a bit like it’s possessed with a Windows Phone OS system. Then again, it also reminds me of Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics: "Everything dies, baby, that's a fact. But maybe everything that dies some day comes back."

Terry Sullivan

Terry Sullivan has tested and reported on many different types of consumer electronics and technology services, including cameras, action cams, mobile devices, streaming music services, wireless speakers, headphones, smart-home devices, and mobile apps. He has also written extensively on various trends in the worlds of technology, multimedia, and the arts. For more than 10 years, his articles and blog posts have appeared in a variety of publications and websites, including The New York Times, Consumer Reports, PCMag, Worth magazine, Popular Science, Tom’s Guide, and Artnews. He is also a musician, photographer, artist, and teacher.