Building Wine on macOS

If you just want to install a recent version of Wine, and possibly report Bugs or AppDB tests, you should be fine just following the instructions on the main macOS page for installing a WineHQ package.

If you're interested in Submitting Patches or Regression Testing though, you'll want to build Wine from the tip of WineHQ's Git repo; this page explains how to do that on macOS in more detail.

homebrew and MacPorts are package managers that can make it easier to build WINE on macOS, and some notes on using them are provided below. Note, however, that they are not part of the Wine Project; any problems with homebrew or Macports should be reported to the respective site.

From macOS Catalina Apple removed 32-bit support, which makes it impossible to use 32-bit Wine.


In order to build and run Wine, you might need to install some extra software. Getting it shouldn't be much trouble though.


The Xcode development suite is the primary kit you will need, regardless of whether you decide to do a minimal build from git, use a build script, or download from one of the ports projects. A version of it will be included in the Optional Installs folder of your macOS installation DVD. You should also be able to download the latest version for your model from the Apple developer site.

Note: If you don't want to install the full suite, you should be able to make due with just the Command-Line Tools component of Xcode. This will include all of the necessary build tools and even git. Any other libraries should come pre-installed in macOS or can be pulled in automatically by other tools.


In the past, Wine's native Mac driver still needed a good deal of work so running Wine on macOS required installing an X11 server too. This is no longer necessary, but there are still some features missing from the Mac driver (see the to-dos on the macOS page) so you still might want to run Wine with the X11 driver.

According to Wikipedia, from v10.3 (Panther) to v10.7 (Lion) of macOS, Apple at least included a Mac-compatible X11 server as an optional install. However, since v10.8 (Mountain Lion), Apple has stopped providing its own release of the X11 server and advises all users to download the newest version of a compatible X11 server directly from upstream.

The open-source XQuartz project develops the Mac version of X11; you can download the disk-image file directly from there, then just use the macOS installer.

During setup, the upstream XQuartz disk-image will replace /usr/X11 (which is in most PATH variables) with a symlink to /opt/X11 (where it installs the files). However, if you upgrade your release of macOS, this symlink may get clobbered, leading to fatal errors in X11 programs. Reinstalling XQuartz will repair the link automatically, or you can manually restore it with:

sudo ln -s /opt/X11 /usr/X11

If you have a supplementary package manager, you might also be able to grab XQuartz (or an equivalent port of the vanilla xorg server):

  • On homebrew, you can grab XQuartz from the related Caskroom repo:
brew install --cask xquartz
  • On MacPorts, you can get fresh ports of either the xorg-server (stable X11 server), xorg-server-devel (development X11 server), or xorg (full X11 system) packages. For example:
sudo port -v install xorg-server


Once you have Xcode and a version of the X11 server (not required but highly recommended), you need to grab both the build and runtime dependencies for Wine. While you can just run Wine's configure script and keep installing libraries that it complains are missing, using a package manager will save you a lot of trouble and keep your system cleaner.

The main caveat with the various macOS package repos is that you do not want to mix them. Once you've decided to use one, stick with it, and if you decide to switch to a different one, it's probably best to uninstall all of your old packages first, then reinstall them with the new system.

The subsections below describe ways you can get just the necessary dependencies for Wine. If you want, you can always just install the appropriate wine package, which will pull in all the other packages you need. At that point, you can either uninstall just the wine package, or keep it and run your own build from within its directory.


homebrew no longer provide a wine formula instead opting to use their cask system to install Winehq provided packages.

Build dependencies;

brew install --formula bison mingw-w64 pkgconfig

Runtime dependencies;

brew install —-formula freetype gnutls molten-vk sdl2

Please note Homebrew doesn’t add bison to $PATH so this needs to be handled manually.


The current wine packages available from Macports are obsolete so can’t be used as a reference for needed build/runtime dependencies. Here’s an updated list for wine-8.x

Built-time dependency list:

sudo port install bison \
                  mingw-w64 \

Runtime dependency list:

sudo port install freetype \
                  gnutls \
                  moltenvk \

Please Note:
For macOS Mojave and below use the following options +universal -x11
macOS Mojave you need to do some workarounds to enable 32Bit builds see

Building from Source

Now with the dependencies installed, you will use almost the same procedure as described on the Building Wine page. You should be able to run ./configure and make with the same parameters as on another system.

Note: Almost all libraries are correctly detected and configured by pkgconfig.

You can configure your build directory to compile with clang like so:

./configure CC="clang" CXX="clang++"

Note: The minimum SDK to compile wine is MacOSX10.10.SDK (14D125). The final SDK to support 32Bit is MacOSX10.13.SDK later SDKs support 64Bit and arm64 (MacOSX11.1.SDK and later for arm64)

Please Note: Wine uses standard dlopen() to find libraries meaning wine will only check standard location /usr/local/lib & /usr/lib so wine will have trouble finding the needed libraries when using macports and XQuartz. To avoid this let’s use rpath.


Note: The provided example when set during configure will ensure wine checks /opt/X11/lib for any needed libraries before the standard locations.

Running a Custom Build

When installing Wine from source on macOS, you may need to make some quick configuration changes.

After compiling Wine from source, you can install it into /usr/local with make install, but it's highly recommended that you run it from the build directory.

Depending on how you installed XQuartz, you might see fatal errors in X11 when you try to run your own build of wine from the command-line. This is due to XQuartz installing into the /opt/X11/ directory and creating symlinks to /usr/X11/, neither of which is typically checked by the macOS dynamic linker. There are a couple of workarounds for this:

  • The first is to add the usr/X11/lib directory to the DYLD_FALLBACK_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable. You can do this when invoking wine like so:
DYLD_FALLBACK_LIBRARY_PATH="${DYLD_FALLBACK_LIBRARY_PATH}:/usr/lib:/usr/X11/lib" wine program_name.exe
  • The other method is to create symlinks to the libraries in usr/X11/lib/ from inside /usr/local/lib:
cd /usr/local/lib
sudo ln -s /usr/X11/lib/*

However, this second approach is more tedious to undo and may be more fragile in some situations.

You might need to tweak the actual directories in your list, but you can avoid the tedium of typing the list every time by setting it in one of your shell config files (e.g. .profile, .bash_profile, or .bashrc):


Joerg Hoehle proposed patching the winewrapper to adjust DYLD_FALLBACK_LIBRARY_PATH every time wine is invoked. For some reason, the patch was rejected (perhaps changing PATH variables or symlinking should be done upstream by XQuartz?)

See Also

This page was last edited on 4 May 2023, at 03:08.