Partial Support for Mac Sierra in 2.1.3

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Revision as of 15:47, 29 January 2017 by Galeandrews (talk | contribs) (Symptom 1: Make FFmpeg a link to formats FAQ then we need less explanation here.)
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Warning icon Audacity 2.1.3 only has partial support for macOS Sierra. This is due to problems with Audacity on that operating system.

Symptom 1

On macOS Sierra 10.12.1 and later (but not 10.12.0) on some users' machines, Audacity can lose access to:

  • All effects that are not shipped with Audacity
  • LAME (for MP3 export)
  • FFmpeg (for import/export of extra formats).

Audacity stops being able to find LAME, FFmpeg and effects that normally extend its capabilities. As a result plug-in effects disappear from menus, or might show an initialisation error. Affected plug-ins will always return to "New" in Plug-in Manager, even if they are re-enabled. Note that FFmpeg is not needed on Mac to import MPEG-4 audio like M4A, but is needed to export to M4A.

The problem is new with the changes that came in with macOS Sierra 10.12.1, and affects Audacity 2.1.2 and previous versions too. We have added code into Audacity 2.1.3 to reduce this problem. We have not solved the problem completely, and you may see the problem on your machine, especially if using COMMAND + W to close a project window without saving changes.


We believe the problem is caused by changes in Gatekeeper for macOS Sierra. If the problem occurs, opening /Applications/Utilities/ and entering the following command will fix the issue:

sudo xattr -r -d /Applications/Audacity/

If Audacity is elsewhere than in /Applications, change the location in the command accordingly. After typing the above command, hit ENTER on your keyboard. Type your admin password (you won't see it on the screen) then hit ENTER again. You may also need to reboot the Mac.

Unfortunately this command is needed each time the problem happens again.

Symptom 2

On all versions of macOS Sierra, on some users' machines:

  • On first launch of Audacity, Gatekeeper may take a minute or more to verify Audacity, displaying a progress dialogue. Please let verification complete.
  • If a given user installs Audacity but another user runs it, then on second run by that other user, a warning may say that Audacity is damaged and can't be opened.
    • When the user that installed Audacity runs it, Gatekeeper may verify Audacity each time this user runs Audacity, not just first time, and this verification may take a minute or more.


For Developers

This section is mainly for programmers.

  • Originally Nyquist effects were affected too. We have largely overcome that problem by placing the Nyquist effects with the Audacity app, so that they are part of the signed bundle.
  • Audacity now implements a fork and crash strategy at start up, where a separate fork is initiated and deliberately crashed. For some reason that we do not understand this seems to stop the problem happening at initialization of Audacity.


If you experience the problem and would like to help us with understanding the cause, please contact us at.... One of the obstacles to us progressing with solving the problem is that it only happens on some users' machines.