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Apple Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Wine and Darwine?

Darwine was the original effort to port Wine to Macs Running OSX and consisted of 2 major efforts.

  1. PowerPC Macs - attempted to integrate QEMU into Wine for x86 CPU emulation

  2. Intel x86

Wine for Mac OSX x86 has now merged into main Wine project, here at WineHQ. Darwine is NO LONGER ACTIVELY DEVELOPED, but has started maintaining Intel Mac OSX packages for Wine on the Darwine Sourceforge.

What does Wine on Mac OS X support? (DirectX, DirectSound, Direct3D...)

  • Sound should be working just fine since Wine release 0.9.15.
  • MIDI output (via Apple's built-in software synthesizer) works.
  • 3D (OpenGL Support) works. Note that due to Apple's X11 often being outdated, we recommend you install XQuartz, available since 10.5 Leopard, which closely follows Xorg development. Since OSX 10.5.7, Apple X11 may be good and recent enough for wine 3D usage.

  • Full screen mode works in a Wine release as old as 1.1.24. However, there are too many restrictions to make it generally useful:

    • Unlike CodeWeaver's X server packaged with their CrossOverMac product, Apple's will not change the screen resolution. So your app must support your monitor's likely huge native resolution, e.g. 1600x1200. If your app knows only 800x600 and 1024x768, it will not start and may even crash.

    • Some modern apps, although they may support your monitor's resolution during play, start with logos and intro animations that want to open a screen at 640x480 or 800x600. This will fail and may cause your application not to start at all or even crash. For instance, the game 2weistein - Das Geheimnis des roten Drachen - works well in full screen, yet the screen stays black at start, trying to display the first intro animation, while the subsequent second logo, intro movie and game logo all scale nicely to full screen.
    • The X11 menu bar will remain visible at all times. The app sees a screen resolution 22 pixel less than it really is, e.g. 1600x1178.
    • The dock will stay in front of the fullscreen window. Use its auto-hide feature to get rid of it.
    • "Always on top" windows remain atop Wine's fullscreen window, e.g. window #3 of the CPU% activity meter -- exactly like they do in TimeMachine's full screen display. Just close or hide them.

    • Running a Fullscreen program in a Wine Virtual Desktop window should work fine
    • Starting in Xquartz 2.6.0 (available Oct-Nov 2010), RandR and resolution changing should be working on Macs.
  • mcicda.dll does not work (bug #20323), so apps will not play music off CD tracks.

  • Multi-CD installs work, using the wine eject command.

  • More generally, CD-ROM support is incomplete, so Wine will not start many copy-protected apps.

How do I change settings?

  • If you built a plain wine: run /path/to/your/wine winecfg as on any other UNIX.

<!> Audio output will only be enabled after you ran winecfg to configure it.

<!> The Below information is only for Darwine... isn't it?

  • If you use a wine package: Use winecfg.exe in the folder "Sample WineLib Applications" or in WineHelper the menu entry "WineHelper->Configure Wine". Alternately, if you want to, navigate to Wine.bundle/Contents/bin/ and run ./winecfg.

Where are Wine's settings stored?

  • In your 'home' folder ("/Users/<username>/" resp. "~/") in the hidden folder ".wine".

You can get into (even hidden) folders in the Finder by pressing Shift+Command+G and entering the path, for example "~/.wine".

  • (!) You can make the hidden folder "visible" by creating a symbolic link: ln -s ~/.wine wine in

<!> The Below information is only for Darwine... isn't it?

WineHelper info is stored in your preferences folder ("/Users/<username>/Library/Preferences") in the file "".

How can I switch the locale?

  • This Wiki and other Wine documentation mention setting the environment variable LANG. This works for UNIX but deliberately does not work with Wine on MacOS for reasons enumerated in this thread. Instead, set the variable LC_MESSAGES, e.g. use LC_MESSAGES=ja_JP.UTF-8 wine japanese.exe or LC_MESSAGES=ja_JP.SJIS or LC_MESSAGES=fr_FR.UTF-8

How can I make a FAT partition work as drive C in virtual Windows?

  • Run winecfg (wine winecfg), select the tab "drives" and in the list "C:" and change its path. If your FAT partition is named "Duckbill" enter "/Volumes/Duckbill" for example. You may change the type to "local harddisk" in the advanced options too.

    /!\ And lastly - please copy content of "~/.wine/drive_c" to the new place with the following command "cp -a ~/.wine/drive_c/* /Volumes/Duckbill"

<!> The Below information is only for Darwine... isn't it?

  • Run winecfg in the "Sample WineLib Applications" folder, select the tab "drives" and in the list "C:" and change its path. If your FAT partition is named "Duckbill" enter "/Volumes/Duckbill" for example. You may change the type to "local harddisk" in the advanced options too. Changing the path directly in the WineHelper Preferences seems not to work satisfyingly.

Will there be a PowerPC version (or will there be a way to run Wine on a PowerPC processor)?

  • Darwine is the effort to port Wine to PowerPC processors, but still can't run windows binaries directly yet. Darwine is NO LONGER ACTIVELY DEVELOPED, but has started maintaining Intel Mac OSX packages for Wine on the Darwine Sourceforge.

Why is there no official WineHQ build for Mac OS on the downloads page?

  • Please volunteer to build one on a regular basis!

Where can I get a working Wine for Intel Macs?

  1. There are no official prebuilt Wine packages for Mac.
  2. You can compile wine from source with XCode and XQuartz. See Building notes for additional troubleshooting and directions.

  3. If you are a Fink or MacPorts user, consider installing the wine or wine-devel package.

  4. you can also check out the Third Party Applications Page for info about other Apps that use Wine that may be much easier to use than building Wine yourself

All 16 bit applications crash in winevdm.

  • This is radar://5935237 bug in Apple's linker since Xcode 3.x. It is reflected in Wine Bug #14920. 32bit apps are not affected. Workarounds:

  • get hold of a binary of Wine built with Xcode 2.x (distributed with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger), or Xcode 3.2.x versions in Snow Leopard
    1. There are no official prebuilt Wine packages for Mac.

      b. try an unofficial wrapper WineBottler- Mac wine wrapper

  • Build wine yourself with win16 support
    1. Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger: compile using Xcode 2.x b. Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: patch Xcode linker bugs, then compile c. Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or later: compile using Xcode 3.2.x or later

How do I right-click in Wine on Mac OS X?

  • Control-click, as you're probably used to, won't work in wine (so far?). Workaround: Enable secondary click by tapping the trackpad with two fingers. Therefor go to System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Trackpad and enable 'Tap trackpad using two fingers for secondary click'. You can then do the right clicks by tapping the trackpad with two fingers.

Update: if you are running a current version of Xquartz, you can go into the preferences when its running and select what you want to be modifier keys for right and middle clicks.

How to create shortcut, launcher, or .app to start a given .exe?

Instructions on making .app file launcher
  • (!) This is for real Wine, installed to /usr/local, not Darwine. It can be modified to work with Macports Wine.

  • open up Apple's Script Editor
    • in Mac OS X 10.6 this is "/Applications/Utilities/Applescript"
    • in Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5 this is "/Applications/AppleScript/Script"

  • Copy and paste the following code into the Applescript editor

on run
   --edit this to be the correct location and file to run (typically only edit after the "drive_c")
   set toRun to "$WINEPREFIX/drive_c/Program Files/MyProgram/MyProgramName.exe"
   --edit winePrefix if you are not using the default prefix
   set winePrefix to "$HOME/.wine"
   --edit wineLocation if your wine install is not the default location
   set wineLocation to "/usr/local/bin"
   --edit dyldFallbackLibraryPath to your X11 lib folder, this one is set for XQuartz on 10.6+
   set dyldFallbackLibraryPath to "/opt/X11/lib"
   set toRunPath to do shell script "WINEPREFIX=\"" & winePrefix & "\"; TEMPVAR=\"" & toRun & "\"; echo \"${TEMPVAR%/*}\""
   set toRunFile to do shell script "WINEPREFIX=\"" & winePrefix & "\"; TEMPVAR=\"" & toRun & "\"; TEMPVAR2=\"" & toRunPath & "\"; echo \"${TEMPVAR#$TEMPVAR2/}\""
   do shell script "PATH=\"" & wineLocation & ":$PATH\"; export WINEPREFIX=\"" & winePrefix & "\"; export DYLD_FALLBACK_LIBRARY_PATH=\"" & dyldFallbackLibraryPath & "\"; cd \"" & toRunPath & "\"; wine \"" & toRunFile & "\" > /dev/null 2>&1 &"
end run
  • Edit the program per the directions in the lines that start with --
  • if everything is default, you only need to edit the "set toRun" line
  • After you have edited it for your program, save it as an "Application" (not a script) in the script editor
    • this will create a .app for you that you can double click to run what you specified.

    (!) it might start up a bit slow with no visual indicators... sometimes, be patient

Instructions on making custom launcher what invokes Terminal
  • Using TextEdit create text file with following contents:

export WINEPREFIX="$HOME/.wine"
cd "/where/is/my/app/"
wine "myapp.exe"
  • The $HOME, in the beginning of the path, will expand to the home directory, in case of user Me, it will expand to /Users/Me
  • The dot(.) in the WINEPREFIX folder will make it invisible, you can omit the dot to leave folder visible and easier to work with
  • By default, wine uses /Users/YourUsername/.wine perfix, you can be creative and use other prefixes and paths to store multiple prefixes

  • If you need to define other constants for wine e.g. export WINEDEBUG=fixme-d3d,warn+heap,+debugstr or export LC_ALL=ru_RU.UTF-8, add all of them before the cd command.

  • If the program is inside the wine prefix, cd might look something like this: cd "$WINEPREFIX/drive_c/Program Files/theprogram/"

  • In case you want to use custom path to wine, you may replace wine on the last line with /path/to/wine/wine

  • Some programs may still have trouble starting, you can try to replace wine "myapp.exe" with wine start /unix "$HOME/where/is/my/app/myapp.exe"

After making all customizations, save the launcher file as regular .txt file. Next, in the Finder, click on saved launcer file, then press Command+I (Get Info) and replace the .txt with .command which is an extension that Mac OS uses for shell (and perl, Python, tcl) scripts. Alternatively, you can remove file extension altogether.

Next, you need to give launcher file executive permissions. Open the Terminal and execute chmod +x path/to/my/something, where path/to/my/something is the path to the launcher file.

  • You can always change the code of the launcher by opening it with the TextEdit again. After adding changes, simply save the launcher file without renaming.

Optional: Changing the icon of the launcher file

On the Mac Os X, it is possible to change the icon of any file to anything you desire.

NOTE: In some cases, your custom icon will not display if launcher file has extension. Refer to previous steps on how to rename the launcher.

{i} Look into the hidden ~/.local/share/icons/ directory, where Wine keeps the icons created by application installers (.xpm and .png files); they would display on a Linux desktop.

In some cases, you will need to manually extract the icon from the .exe file. This can be done using tools like Resource Hacker. This tutorial, however, will not cover the process of doing it. It is assumed, that you have the application icon in the .ico or .png format.

Now that you have your icon file ready, open it with the Preview. In case of .ico it might have multiple frames/images inside, select appropriate one. Press Command+C (Edit>Copy). Next, in the Finder, click on the launcher file, then press Command+I (Get Info). In the top left corner of the launcher info, there will be a small image showing current icon, click on it to highlight it. Press Command+V to paste your icon. If everything goes well, the icon of your launcher will change.

Why is it building font metrics? This may take some time...

Actually, there are two bugs involved:

  1. Bug #17674 "wine recaching font metrics on every run", consuming upto 30 seconds at program start. This is fixed in wine-1.1.31.

  2. However, there is no need to cache font metrics at all as Wine should find a FreeType library greater than 2.0.5 because one is included in MacOS. If your Wine exhibits this problem, you probably need to set the DYLD_FALLBACK_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable before launching Wine.

Start wine (in a Terminal) as follows: DYLD_FALLBACK_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/X11/lib wine myapp.exe or

export DYLD_FALLBACK_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/X11/lib wine myapp.exe 

You may patch the main wine launcher yourself and forget about this variable. Save this patch file, then invoke patch -p1 < mypatch.txt in a Terminal, while at the top of Wine's source directory, see build it yourself.

{i} Both MacPorts and Fink use a wrapper to the wine launcher which sets exactly this variable.

If I have a problem with Darwine on Mac OS X, where should I report the bug?


  • Darwine is a separate project with different licensing terms from Wine (GPL vs. LGPL),
  • it's not clear what kind of patches they apply on top of Wine,
  • the fact that they insist on a different name,

- report all bugs to Darwine developers.

How do I switch between the Mac/X11 drivers?

As of 1.5.28, the Mac driver is the default driver. If on an older release, you can force using the Mac driver by either:

$ unset DISPLAY

Or by editing the registry key "graphics" under HKCU\Software\Wine\Drivers. It should specify the load order, e.g., "mac,x11"

Unanswered Questions

Using Winelib to build native applications

Does anyone know how to build unix applications with native x11 calls through Winelib on the macintosh platform? I have tried my best, but I do not think that currently this is supported on macs because darwine's way does not work (though it sounds like an excellent way) and currently all unix executables in Wine are in an .bundle file. When I try to put these in /usr/bin most say that they cannot find dylib.1 or something like that. I have created a new post on the forum asking this same question.

Is there WineHelper ?

No, but there have been some pre-compiled Wine packages for OS X with similar functionality.

Darwine used to come with an Apple-style application that allowed you to set up wine (Darwine) as the default application to use to "open" Windows executables (.exe files) and/or have WineHelper appear in the right-click "open with" menu in finder. I think it also managed the rather messy set of windows links (.lnk files) that are typically set up by most windows installers, sometimes providing default arguments necessary to run a particular app. Is there an equivalent in "ordinary" wine ?


MacOSX/FAQs (last edited 2015-07-29 07:42:15 by KyleAuble)