Difference between revisions of "Building On Mac"

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{{Alert|'''WARNING:''' This page is deprecated since May 24, 2021. Please, see the up-to-date instruction: https://github.com/audacity/audacity/blob/master/BUILDING.md }}
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* Instructions for building modules
* Instructions for building modules

Latest revision as of 11:54, 19 August 2021

Warning icon This page has been deprecated. Newer information can be found here: https://github.com/audacity/audacity/blob/master/BUILDING.md
The information on this page are likely out-of-date and will not be updated in the forseeable future. It may be removed at any time.
ToDo-2 Add
  • Instructions for building modules
These are instructions for building on Mac

The build family of pages:

Instructions in mac/build.txt

These instructions for building on mac are in mac/cmake_build.txt in the Git repo.
Instructions for building on macOS using CMake.

Building on macOS has been made much simpler with the Audacity 2.4.0
release. Still, read this document throughly before starting.

1) Get and install the latest Xcode version available your macOS version:

      MacOS                   Xcode Version (as of Mar 2020)
      Catalina - 10.15        11.3
      Mojave - 10.14          10.3
      High Sierra - 10.13     9.4.1
      Sierra - 10.12          9.2
      El Capitan - 10.11      8.2.1
      Yosemite - 10.10        7.2.1

2) Clone the Audacity repository:

      git clone https://github.com/audacity/audacity

3) Clone wxWidgets 3.1.3:

      git clone --recurse-submodules https://github.com/audacity/wxWidgets.git

   Ensure that you clone with the "--recurse-submodules" option, and do not
   just download the Zip package, otherwise there will be required components

   Don't be tempted to use wxWidgets already installed by a package manager
   such as Homebrew because this will cause problems.

   We have applied some Audacity specific patches to wxWidgets to better 
   support VoiceOver, so please use the audacity-fixes-3.1.3 branch. It's
   the default branch on our GitHub copy:


   You can be certain the correct branch is active with:

      git checkout audacity-fixes-3.1.3

4) Change directory to the folder where wxWidgets was cloned and build it using:

      sudo <path to Audacity source>/mac/scripts/build_wxwidgets

5) The config command should return "3.1.3" if the install was successful:

      /usr/local/x86_64/bin/wx-config --version

6) Now that you have wxWidgets installed, edit your ~/.bash_profile or
   ~/.zprofile and add:

      export WX_CONFIG=/usr/local/x86_64/bin/wx-config

   Log out and back in again (or reboot) for this to take effect.

7) Download the CMake 3.16.4 DMG from:


8) Double click the DMG, follow the prompts and drag the CMake app to the
   Applications folder.

   If you will be building from the command line, open the CMake application
   and click the "Tools -> How to Install For Command Line Use" menu. It will
   give you additional instructions on making CMake available to the command

   You are now ready to start building Audacity.


   NOTE: Building with the GUI interface will result in the downloading of
         another copy of wxWidgets from Audacity.

1) Open the app.

2) Click the "Browse Source..." button and locate the top of your Audacity
   source tree, then click the "Open" button.

3) Click the "Browse Build..." button and find the location where you want to
   put the build (use the "New Folder" button at the bottom left to create a
   new folder).

   This folder does not have to be in or even near the source tree, but it
   must not be the same as the source tree. However, it is common to make it
   a subdirectory of the Audacity source tree.

4) Click the "Configure" button and when the dialog pops up, select "Xcode" for
   the generator, then click the "Done" button.

5) Click the "Generate" button to create the Xcode project.

6) Now you can either click the "Open Project" button or go to your "Build" folder in
   Finder and open the Xcode project as normal.


1) Change directory to your Audacity source tree.

      cd audacity

2) Create the "build" folder (name it anything you like):

      mkdir bld

3) Change to the "build" folder:

      cd bld

4) Configure and generate the Xcode project:

      cmake -G Xcode ..

5) Build Audacity using the CMake command or xcodebuild:

      cmake --build . --config Release

      xcodebuild --configuration Release

   The "Audacity.app" bundle will be in the "bin/Release" subdirectory of your
   "build" folder, so you can start it via Finder or:

      open bin/Release/Audacity.app


   - If you'd like to get a completely clean build, just delete "build" folder
     and return to step 2 above.

   - Once the Xcode project is generated, you shouldn't have to "configure" or
     "generate" again as it will be done for you automatically after pulling
     updates and building.

     For example:

        cd <audacity> directory
        git pull
        cd bld
        cmake --build . --config Release

   - Instructions on optional signing of DMGs, showing languages other than English,
     and other useful information can be found on our wiki at: 

CMake Build

1) Change directory to your Audacity source tree.

      cd audacity

2) Create the "build" folder (name it anything you like):

      mkdir bld

3) Change to the "build" folder:

      cd bld

4) Configure and generate the Xcode project:

      cmake -G Xcode ..

5) Build Audacity using the CMake command or xcodebuild:

      cmake --build . --config Release

      xcodebuild --configuration Release

   The "Audacity.app" bundle will be in the "bin/Release" subdirectory of your
   "build" folder, so you can start it via Finder or:

      open bin/Release/Audacity.app

For a Release CMake build


6) Add the help files

   Open contents of bin/Release/Audacity.app
   Add in files with directory help/manual/ and then the 5 top level items

7) Notarize Audacity

   ../mac/scripts/build_dist.sh ../mac ../bld/bin/Release

For Notarization to work, you'll need to have already jumped through the Apple hoops, and have set up your signing file. There are two stages to notarization, one for the bundle, one for the dmg.

To test the Notarization, upload the dmg to dropbox and then download it again. Then double-click to install and drag across to /Applications. When you launch Audacity, you now get a warning about having downloaded from the internet, rather than being prevented from running...

Optional Extras

Bulb icon FFmpeg and LAME

For these, see Building Extras on Mac


These instructions for variations on building aren't in mac/build.txt in the Git repo. They're actually mostly obsolete instructions. The CMake building now takes care of the GitIdent and mod-script-pipe. Languages should not be an issue if you are already set up with gettext. The signing has been replaced by Notarization. We no longer declutter the dmg, and no one has complained or commented about it on the forums.

Fetching The Manual

We have instructions for fetching the manual on another page.

Defaulting to Portable Settings

 1. Within audacity.app/Contents add the directories:
    Portable Settings
    Portable Settings/AutoSave

 2. Set permissions on these two directories to 777
    chmod 777 "Portable Settings"
    chmod 777 "Portable Settings/AutoSave"

These steps should of course be done before signing.

Official Full Releases

Official Audacity full releases:

  • Have a GitIdent, visible in the about box build information, that says what branch was used in building.
  • Include a copy of the manual.
  • Include other languages.
  • Have a de-cluttered .dmg (the folders in it are dragged outside the visible area)
  • Are signed with a signing key.

Updating GitIdent

 The Audacity "About" box can contain a link to the git commit at which 
 Audacity was built. To create this, run this batch script in /mac/scripts/
 If you do this, you are responsible for making sure the ident is correct
 in future builds.  The script overwrites RevisionIdent.h in the src directory.
 If you make further changes to your local copy after this step, or merge a
 more recent version from git, this file, and hence the ident in the build, 
 stays the same, and so would be misleading.
 To reset RevisionIdent.h you could do:
   git reset --hard origin/master

Include mod-script-pipe

Build this within the Xcode project ON THE SAME DAY as you built audacity. You can click on the .so in the IDE to find out where Xcode put it (it will have some weird long temporary path).

Just before code signing, add it in to the Audacity bundle, into a subdirectory called 'modules'.

Include Languages

Warning icon Beware! Audacity needs a clean and then a recompile if it is to include languages.

For some reason yet to be investigated, incremental compiles will not include the language files in audacity.app.
(Check by looking inside the app and looking in 'Resources')

If you need Audacity to show languages other than English, install the gettext
suite of tools (to get the msgfmt command).  The source can be downloaded from:


Untar it:

   tar xf gettext-latest.tar.gz

And install:

   cd gexttext-latest
   sudo make install

Then clean and recompile.
Incremental compiles will NOT include the language files.

Decluttering the dmg

 1. Open the dmg

 2. Drag the right border wider.

 3. Drag all folders that should not be visible into that area.

 4. Drag right border narrower again.

Signing the DMG

 1) Comment out the last line of mac/scripts/build_dist.sh so that it reads
   #rm -rf ${DMG} TMP.dmg
   This will prevent deletion of TMP.dmg

 2) Delete any previous /private/tmp/TMP.dmg and /private/tmp/Audacity.dst
    (otherwise, the rebuilt plug-ins folder will contain an unnecessary duplicate
    of itself).

    Then clean and build Audacity normally.
 3) Navigate to /private/tmp/ and type 
    hdiutil resize -size 200m TMP.dmg
    This step is needed as codesigning takes some temporary space, more than is 
    available in the dmg.
 4) mount the dmg
    hdiutil mount TMP.dmg

 4a) Not part of the signing, but a good idea to de-clutter the dmg
    per instructions in the section above.
 5) Codesign the app (deep to make sure everything important is signed)
    codesign --deep -s <identity> -v "/Volumes/Audacity 2.2.0/Audacity.app"

    If you see errors like this, no matter what size you used in step (3):

        can't allocate code signature data for: /Volumes/Audacity 2.2.0/Audacity.app/Contents/MacOS/Audacity
        (for architecture i386) because larger updated load commands do not fit (the program must be relinked
        using a larger -headerpad value)

    Then in the XCode project, add -headerpad_max_install_names to Other Linker flags (OTHER_LDFLAGS)
    for Release configuration of the Audacity target, and go back to step (2).
 6) Check it is signed to gatekeeper's satisfaction:
    spctl -a -v "/Volumes/Audacity 2.2.0/Audacity.app"
 7) unmount the dmg

    hdiutil eject "/Volumes/Audacity 2.2.0"
 8) Make a compressed dmg
    hdiutil convert TMP.dmg -format UDZO -imagekey zlib-level=9 -o "Newname.dmg"
 9) codesign that
    codesign -s <identity> -v Newname.dmg