Mac OS X

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Revision as of 08:34, 17 September 2007 by Galeandrews (talk | contribs) (clarify purpose . Remove outdated / irrelevant reports)
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Audacity is fully supported under Mac OS X. However, there are a number of quirks, and because of subtle differences between Mac OS X and other platforms, you may discover bugs or issues that are specific to Mac OS X. This page is solely for recording such OS X-specific problems, in other words those that are specific to the Apple Mac OS X operating system and thus do not occur with Audacity on Microsoft Windows or Unix/Linux systems.

This page is intended as a reference point only. It is not constantly monitored by the Audacity team and is thus not meant as a direct method for obtaining technical support.

Before adding a report here, please check the existing reports below thoroughly, plus our extensive online help resources as listed on our Reporting Bugs page, to see if your issue is already known. Only add an issue on this page if you're sure it is something specific to Macs only, you're sure of your facts, and that there is not some other explanation for the problem. In all other cases, please follow the instructions on Reporting Bugs to get help and/or give us a useful bug report that we can follow up.

If you are looking to request a new feature for Audacity, please go to our Feature Requests page.

Active issues

Many differences between the OS X and other platforms relate to the audio platform API - in the case of Mac OS X, this API is called CoreAudio.

Input sources not selectable in Audacity

Core Audio does not offer individual applications any straightforward options for setting the input source (for example, the microphone) of a recording device. Select your input source in Audio-MIDI Setup.

No Unicode or long filename support

There are bugs in the Mac version of wxWidgets, called wxMac, that can affect Audacity. One bug involves Unicode support: because of this bug, Audacity stable 1.2.x versions cannot work with files or folders located inside a directory named with non-ASCII characters (usually international or accented characters). There is an additional artificial restriction of file name length, limiting your filenames to 32 characters despite support in OS X for much longer names. Upgrade to 1.3.3 for Unicode and long filename support.

Loss of sound after running Audacity

An issue whereby certain other applications lose sound after Audacity has run (see this Apple article ) has now been largely resolved with the release of the current Audacity 1.2.5 for Intel and 1.2.6 for Power PC releases and 1.3.2 and later Beta releases.

No built-in streaming audio recording

Macs almost always have no ability to record streaming audio internally off the built-in audio device. Use Audio Hijack  or Wiretap . Turn off compression in Wiretap Preferences if you want to import the recorded AIFF files into Audacity.

Limited support for external audio devices

Many (mostly higher-end) external Firewire Input/Output devices and some USB Input/Output devices won't work in 1.2.5/6. Use Audacity 1.3.3 Beta instead which uses our later PortAudio v19 interface.

Additionally, it's necessary to set up external sound devices such as USB and Firewire interfaces in Apple Audio-MIDI Setup, in addition to doing so in Audacity. This also applies in the Beta version of Audacity.

Unresponsive Play and Record buttons

The Record and occasionally Play buttons can fail to respond. Click them repeatedly or upgrade to Audacity 1.3.3.

1.2.6 PPC only launches in English

Unfortunately the official release of 1.2.6 on our website will only launch in English. To run 1.2.6 in other languages, drag the entire contents of the folder where you have Audacity installed to Trash, and download this version of 1.2.6  instead.

Audio Units Matrix Reverb

AUMatrixReverb will only output in stereo and needs a stereo track to work on, so cannot be used on a mono track. It seems to be the only one of the built-in AudioUnits plugins that has this limitation. To work round it, select the track by clicking in its Track Panel above the Mute/Solo buttons, then Edit > Duplicate. Click on the dropdown arrow in the Track Panel of the upper track > Make Stereo Track. After processing with AUMatrixReverb, click the arrow again > Split Stereo Track, click the arrow once more in the upper track and make it Mono, then delete the lower track by clicking on the [X] in the Track Panel. This only applies to 1.3.1 and later.

Cleared issues

Crash when recording in 24 bit quality

Resolved in 1.2.5 Intel/1.2.6 Power PC

Griffin iMic mono 8 bit recording problem

Griffin iMic re-sets recording to mono 8bit only. Resolved in 1.2.4

Audacity won't launch on case-sensitive file systems

Resolved in 1.2.5 Intel/1.2.6 Power PC

Previous Intel Mac naming issue with libmp3lame.dylib

An earlier version of  mistakenly named the included MP3 encoding binary as instead of the libmp3lame.dylib which Audacity asks for. If you have this earlier version, please download the latest version from the link above.

User Reports

Echo/looping hardware fault

There is an audio looping/echo is a known fault on the newest (2005) PowerBooks (17 &15 inch) There are threads on Apple's support/discussions pages. Also occurs on PPC iBooks. It seems to be a core audio problem. Possibly a data stream corruption through to the sound processors. PowerBook users are awaiting a fix. Some people think it may be a logic board fault.Killing core audio in Activity viewer seems to be a temporary cure.

Network Home Weirdness

Audacity 1.3.3 was installed by a local admin. Users with network homes receive a 'You cannot open the application "" because it is not supported on this system'.

If a network user downloads and installs it, that network user can run it, but not others. There was some other weirdness with local accounts that was fixed with loosening the permissions.

It can be run from the command line. It seems to work, but starts wth the error 'The path "Languages" contains too many ".."!'.

This symptom can be reproduced by creating a non-admin user and attempting to launch Audacity from the non-admin user.

Try changing the permissions of the Audacity executable within the bundle.

  1. Open the from an Administrator account
  2. Update the permissions of the Audacity executable:
chmod 755 "<path to folder>/Contents/MacOS/Audacity"

The <path to folder> should be replaced with the full or relative path to where you placed the folder. For instance, if you created an "Audacity1.3.3Beta" folder inside your Applications folder and placed the entire contents of the downloaded .dmg file inside there, you would use:

chmod 755


A side note, the owner in the package is 777, this should be changed to 501.-->Please explain this for the non-commandline folks.

I've chown -R 501 the folder and chmod -R 777 the folder. Neither works. -->Please explain this for the non-commandline folks.

501 is the uid of the first local user created user (the local admin in this case). It almost always exists and is a safe bet for ownership. chown -R 501 changes the ownership of all of the files to the user with uid 501

777 translates to -rwxrwxrwx, everyone has full permissions.

So, I changed the ownership to a real user and gave everyone full permission to everything. I don't _think_ that there are any preference files written to /Library, but I didn't check. This wouldn't affect those.


Based on what I'm seeing here, and have tried myself, I'm not convinced the other authors got this to work. I have a non-admin local account that still refuses to run Audacity 1.3.3, generating the error listed above.


Vanishing Envelopes

Problem with 1.3.3:

Files created in Audacity 1.3.2 or 1.3.3 vanish (or are squashed to occupy a single point at the beginning of the track) when file is opened with Audacity 1.3.3.

In earlier versions, you could make them reappear by performing any kind of action and then undoing it - the envelopes would magically reappear. With the release of 1.33, this no longer works - after saving, closing, and reopening the file, the envelopes are gone for good. Others have reported the same problem .

I have read that this was a known bug which was repaired in 1.3.3, but that is clearly not the case.

Mac OSX 10.4.10 on a PowerBook G4, July 15, 2007