Mac OS X

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Revision as of 19:55, 15 November 2007 by Suf (talk | contribs) (Converting first two paragraphs to Template:Intro)
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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.
If you are looking to request a new feature for Audacity, please go to our Feature Requests page.


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.


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

Applies to: All Audacity versions
Core Audio does not offer individual applications any straightforward options for setting the input source (for example, the microphone) of a recording device. As a result, Audacity's Mixer Toolbar input selector will normally show only "Default Input Source". Please select your input source in Apple Audio-MIDI Setup according to these instructions.


No Unicode or long file name support

Applies to: Audacity 1.2.x versions only
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 file names to 32 characters despite support in OS X for much longer names. Upgrade to the latest 1.3.x version  for Unicode and long file name support.

Loss of sound after running Audacity

Applies mainly to Audacity 1.2.4 and earlier
An Apple issue  whereby certain other applications lose sound after Audacity has run has now been largely (but not entirely) resolved with the release of the current Audacity 1.2.5 for Intel and 1.2.6 for Power PC releases, and with 1.3.2 and later Beta releases.

If you have lost sound on your system after running Audacity, make sure you have the latest Audacity stable or Beta version , and drag the entire contents of any older version to to the trash. Then launch Audacity and follow these steps:

1. Click Audacity > Preferences and on the Quality tab, set:
  • Default Sample Rate to 44 100 Hz
  • Default Sample Format to 16 bit
2. On the Audio I/O tab of Preferences:
  • Set "Recording Channels" to mono or stereo
  • Enable the option "Do not modify audio device settings (such as sample rate)"
3. Set the Project Rate button bottom left of the Audacity screen to the 44 100 Hz.
4. Close Audacity then click on the Mac Hard Disk and then on Applications > Utilities > Audio-MIDI Setup.
5. Click on the Audio Devices tab and on the left-hand (input) side, select your built-in audio device in the "Default Input" and "Properties For" dropdowns. On the right-hand (output) side, select your built-in audio device in the "Default Output" and "System Output" boxes.
6. On both the input and output sides, change the "Format" dropdown boxes to have the same settings as Audacity (that is, 44 100 Hz/2ch-16 bit, or 44 100 Hz/1ch-16 bit). The "1ch" or "2ch" refers to mono or stereo respectively. If you are on an earlier version of OS X, go to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Sound and perform the same changes.

Note: There is one other known reason why sound cuts out on G5 machines after running Audacity. It is due to a faulty headphone (external output) jack, whereby a component internal to the jack becomes bent from use so that the computer still thinks the headphones are plugged in. Because the user may be plugging headphones into the back of the computer when using Audacity, the timing of the occurrence would make one think it was the software, but it is not. When this is the problem, the user will notice a red glow coming out of the headphone jack. Try plugging your headphones back in and then gently manipulate the headphones plug up/down and left/right so as to bend back the internal component to its correct position. When done, the red light will go off and sound will be restored.


No built-in streaming audio recording

Applies to: All Audacity versions
Macs almost always have no ability to record streaming audio internally off the built-in audio device. You could use Audio Hijack  or Wiretap  instead, which will capture the audio to AIFF files directly from the player application. Turn off compression in Wiretap Preferences if you want to import the recorded AIFF files into Audacity.

Alternatively if you are on OS X 10.2 and later you can use the free open source Soundflower  system extension, on which Audio Hijack is based, too. Soundflower behaves like an additional system audio device, so for example to record streaming audio into Audacity you would select Soundflower as the output device in the application in which you are playing sound, and Soundflower as the input device on the Audio I/O tab of Audacity Preferences. If the application playing the sound does not allow you to specify its output device, you can make Soundflower the default output device in Apple Audio-MIDI Setup.

Limited support for external audio devices

Applies to: All Audacity versions, but less so to 1.3.x
Many (mostly higher-end) external Firewire Input/Output devices and some USB Input/Output devices won't work in 1.2.5/6. Try Audacity 1.3.3 Beta instead which uses our later PortAudio v19 interface.

Additionally, it's necessary whatever version of Audacity you have to set up external sound devices such as USB and Firewire interfaces in Apple Audio-MIDI Setup as well as doing so in Audacity.

Unresponsive Play and Record buttons

Applies to: All Audacity 1.2.x versions
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

Applies to: Audacity 1.2.6 (PPC) only
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

Applies to: Audacity 1.3.1 and later
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.


Cleared issues

These issues no longer exist in current versions of Audacity. You can upgrade to the latest Stable or Beta version here .

Crash when recording in 24 bit quality

Applies to: Audacity 1.2.4

Griffin iMic mono 8 bit recording problem

Applies to: Audacity 1.2.3 and earlier
Griffin iMic re-sets recording to mono 8bit only.

Audacity won't launch on case-sensitive file systems

Applies to: Audacity 1.2.4 and earlier

Previous Intel Mac naming issue with libmp3lame.dylib

Applies to: all Audacity versions
An earlier version of http://spaghetticode.org/lame/libmp3lame-osx-universal-3.97.zip  mistakenly named the included MP3 encoding binary as libmp3lame.so 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 "Audacity.app" 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 Audacity.app bundle.

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

The <path to Audacity.app folder> should be replaced with the full or relative path to where you placed the Audacity.app 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

"/Applications/Audacity1.3.3Beta/Audacity.app/Contents/MacOS/Audacity"


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.

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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.

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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