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This is an howto to compile VLC media player on Mac OS X, focused on VLC 2.0 and newer.


Apple Software

Xcode select on Xcode 4.3

If you are on Xcode 4.3 with no previous Xcode installation , you probably need to run xcode select to point to your xcode developer directory.

$ xcrun clang

If this outputs 'Error: No developer directory...', then use xcode-select to select the developer directory within the Xcode package.

something like:

$ sudo /usr/bin/xcode-select -switch /Applications/


If you have XCode 4, Git is already installed You just need to point your Terminal to it:

$ export PATH=/Developer/usr/bin:$PATH

If you have Xcode 3, get Git from their website.

Configure the environment

On Mac OS X 10.6 VLC needs to be compiled using Apple's llvm-gcc-4.2 compiler in its latest version. To use this compiler, you need to export the respective variables. In a Bourne Shell, type this (if Xcode is installed to its default location; bash is the default shell on OS X):

$ export CC=/Developer/usr/bin/llvm-gcc-4.2
$ export CXX=/Developer/usr/bin/llvm-g++-4.2
$ export OBJC=/Developer/usr/bin/llvm-gcc-4.2

On Mac OSX 10.8.2 use the following

$ export CC=/Applications/
$ export CXX=/Applications/
$ export OBJC=/Applications/ 

If you are using a C-Shell, you need to use the setenv command of course.

Get the source code

 $ git clone git://

Build VLC with a single command

Setup a build folder:

 $ cd vlc && mkdir build && cd build

And run the build:

 $ ../extras/package/macosx/

Wait and you are finished

You can see more options for this build (change arch or sdk):

 $ ../extras/package/macosx/ -h

Build steps

Now, if you prefer, you can read the following detailed information on how the build internally works:

Additional development tools

You need development tools, notably all the autotools, to build VLC correctly.

Here is how:

$ cd vlc/extras/tools
$ ./bootstrap && make
$ cd ../..

Important: set the new PATH.

$ export PATH=$PWD/extras/tools/build/bin:$PATH

SDK selection and 32/64 bits

SDK selection

If you want to use the 10.6 SDK (your VLC will only run on 10.6 and more recent computers):

$ export OSX_VERSION=10.6

You can do the same for 10.5, but please check that you have MacOSX10.5.sdk installed in /Developer/SDKs/ . If you are using Xcode 4.2, you can install the 10.5 sdk with the .dmg from Xcode3.

32/64bits selection

The instructions below will build a 64 bits binary using 10.6 (Snow Leopard) SDK. This is reflected by using host and build variables x86_64-apple-darwin10.

This "triplet" is ARCHITECTURE-apple-SYSTEM.


  • x86_64 represents Intel 64bits.
  • i686 represents Intel 32bits.
  • powerpc represents PowerPC 32bits.


  • darwin9 represents MacOSX 10.5.
  • darwin10 represents MacOSX 10.6.

So to make a PowerPC build, you would use powerpc-apple-darwin9. So to make a intel32 build for 10.5+, you would use i686-apple-darwin9. So to make a intel64 build for 10.6+, you would use x86_64-apple-darwin10.

Prepare 3rd party libraries

Before compiling VLC, you need lots of other libraries. Here is how to get them:

 $ cd contrib
 $ mkdir -p osx && cd osx
 $ ../bootstrap --host=x86_64-apple-darwin10 --build=x86_64-apple-darwin10

Prebuilt libraries (recommended)

If you want to download a prebuilt package of all the needed libraries.

 $ make prebuilt

And then skip to bootstrap section of this page.

Build your own libraries (not for the faint-hearted)

If you want to build from source a package in the contribs:

 $ make -j4 .gettext
 $ export PATH=$PWD/../x86_64-apple-darwin10/bin:$PATH


 $ make -j4

If you had no errors, the 3rd party libraries (contrib) are built correctly and you can proceed to the next step.

Go Back

Go back to the VLC source directory:

 $ cd ../..

Bootstrap VLC

This will create the configure script:

 $ ./bootstrap

Configure the VLC build

Create a build folder:

 $ mkdir -p build && cd build

To list the different options of configure:

 $ ../extras/package/macosx/ --help

To build a 64 bits binary:

 $ ../extras/package/macosx/ --enable-debug --host=x86_64-apple-darwin10 --build=x86_64-apple-darwin10

Build VLC

Just do:

 $ make -j4

and wait...

Package VLC Application for Mac

If you want to share the application with another user or another computer:

 $ make

If you want a disk-image:

 $ make package-macosx

Respectively make package-macosx-plugin for the Safari/Mozilla plugin.

Sign VLC Application for Mac

If you want to sign your application with a certificate, for example for Gatekeeper, you need to run:

 $ extras/package/macosx/ -i "certificate name"

If you want to support OS X Snow Leopard and Leopard with your signature, you need to enable the "-g" option. Note that you need to replace the signature leaf hash "75GAHG3SZQ" with your own inside the codesign script prior to doing so, since otherwise your certificate will mix with VideoLAN's and your binary will be rejected by the OS.

What's wrong: troubleshooting

Xcode path

Starting with Leopard, Xcode may be installed to a custom location on the administrator's choice. While this is non-problematic for ordinary Xcode projects, VLC needs a little help. You have to place extra symbolic links in /Developer pointing to your custom location for these folders:

usr, Headers, Private, SDKs, Tools, Makefiles

You can easily create these links by executing the following command for each folder (whereas theFolder is one of these six):

ln -s /full/path/to/Developer/theFolder /Developer/theFolder

Xcode version

Please make sure that you are using the latest Xcode3 or the latest version of Xcode4 to compile VLC

3rd party packagers and PATH

Pay careful attention to remove any reference to 3rd party package managersfrom your environment. This is important to avoid conflicts between your package manager (homebrew, fink, macports...) and the contrib package manager we use to build our contrib.

It shouldn't be necessary, but it can happen.

git must still be accessible though!

$ export PATH=$PWD/build/bin:/bin:/sbin:/usr/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/local/bin

QTsound compilation on X.5

MacOS X.5.SDK is broken - 2 options exist:

Option 1:

  • Download the MacOS10.6.sdk and get QTCaptureDecompressedAudioOutput.h from /Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.6.sdk/System/Library/Frameworks/QTKit.framework/Headers/ and move it to /Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.5.sdk/System/Library/Frameworks/QTKit.framework/Headers/
  • Edit /Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.5.sdk/System/Library/Frameworks/QTKit.framework/Headers/QTKit.h and add the
#import <QTKit/QTCaptureDecompressedAudioOutput.h> where needed.

Option 2:

  • Configure the VLC build to explicitly use the MacOS10.6.sdk by adding the following flag:

Cross-Compilation to PPC from X.6 intel

If you want to compile VLC for PPC, based on a X.6 intel, you need to tweak a few things since Apple broke it.

This is VERY advanced stuff!


Be sure to:

  • have X.6.8
  • Xcode 4.2 installed in the normal /Developers location
  • Xcode 3 installed in /Xcode3 location
  • MacOS X.6 and X.5 SDK installed in /Developers/SDKs/ , as explained above (SDK selection).


Using this out of the box will not work because AS for ppc is broken on the default setup. Here is how to fix it:

cd /usr/libexec/as
sudo mkdir ppc
cd ppc
sudo ln -sf /Xcode3/usr/bin/as as