EE Turunen

EE Turunen

Exploring tech and security

Reactivating Nvidia Drivers After a MacOS Update

Nvidia drivers are automatically disabled after each MacOS update and they can’t be reactivated manually through the settings until Nvidia provides an update of their own. So if your monitors are connected to your GPU, the graphical performance is terrible. You can find many workarounds to this online, but most of them are complicated and require running untrusted code on your machine. I found a simple solution which lets you reactivate the drivers until Nvidia provides an official update.

The Fix

When Apple released the security update 2019-004 and re-released the same update a week later, I noticed that the Nvidia drivers do not deactivate based on the update version. Instead, the drivers check whether the OS build number has changed.

I started fiddling around and searching for a .plist within the driver directory which could contain the build number, and after some tumbling around, I found it. To get the drivers working, all I needed to do was change the build number to the one of the latest MacOS update.

How To

The steps are simple. All you need is to find the current build number of your OS and change it to the Info.plist in the driver directory. Here’s how to do that:

Step 1: Go to the Apple menu and click on About This Mac

Step 2: Open System Report

Step 3: Select Software from the sidebar

Step 4: In the System Software Overview look for System Version

Step 5: Copy the build number in the parenthesis after the OS version number, e.g. 19D76

Step 6: Open the Info.plist for Nvidia drivers

sudo vim /Library/Extensions/NVDAStartupWeb.kext/Contents/Info.plist

Step 7: Look for “NVDARequiredOS” key

Step 8: Change the string to the build number you copied from System Report

<key>NVDARequiredOS</key>
<string>19D76</string>

Step 9: Save the file and clear kext caches

sudo kextcache -system-prelinked-kernel
sudo kextcache -system-caches

Step 10: Reboot the computer. The drivers should automatically activate upon signing back in!

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