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Building Wine on macOS

Wine has made a lot of progress towards full compatibility with OS X, but there are still a few special steps you need to follow for Building Wine properly.

Info: 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.

Note: 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.


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.

Dialog-warning.svg 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 Caskroom/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.

Dialog-warning.svg The main caveat with the various OS X 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.

Dialog-warning.svg 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 provides an --only-dependencies flag for the install command that lets you install Wine's dependencies without the wine package itself. You also probably want to pass the --devel flag to base the command on the recent development release of Wine; otherwise Homebrew will install the stable release by default:

brew install --only-dependencies --devel wine


On MacPorts, to get all the dependencies for Wine, both build and runtime, you just want to use the rdepof: query (short for "recursive depends of") with the install command. Unless you definitely want the stable release of Wine, use the wine-devel package to get the most up-to-date dependency list:

sudo port install -v rdepof:wine-devel

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: In the past on OS X, it was necessary to point to libraries and headers installed through the package managers too. However, recent versions of all the major package managers should either automatically add to your PATH variable or create symlinks into /usr/local.

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

./configure CC="clang" CXX="clang++" CFLAGS="-std=gnu89 -g"

Running a Custom Build

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

Dialog-warning.svg 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 OS X 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:
  • 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.

Dialog-warning.svg 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):


Dialog-warning.svg 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