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4.5 KiB

Mac OS X Build Instructions and Notes

This guide will show you how to build bitcoind (headless client) for OS X.


  • Tested on OS X 10.7 through 10.11 on 64-bit Intel processors only.

  • All of the commands should be executed in a Terminal application. The built-in one is located in /Applications/Utilities.


You need to install Xcode with all the options checked so that the compiler and everything is available in /usr not just /Developer. Xcode should be available on your OS X installation media, but if not, you can get the current version from If you install Xcode 4.3 or later, you'll need to install its command line tools. This can be done in Xcode > Preferences > Downloads > Components and generally must be re-done or updated every time Xcode is updated.

You will also need to install Homebrew in order to install library dependencies.

The installation of the actual dependencies is covered in the instructions sections below.

Instructions: Homebrew

Install dependencies using Homebrew

brew install autoconf automake berkeley-db4 libtool boost miniupnpc openssl pkg-config protobuf qt5 libevent

NOTE: Building with Qt4 is still supported, however, could result in a broken UI. As such, building with Qt5 is recommended.

Building bitcoin

  1. Clone the GitHub tree to get the source code and go into the directory.

     git clone
     cd bitcoin
  2. Build bitcoin-core: This will configure and build the headless bitcoin binaries as well as the gui (if Qt is found). You can disable the gui build by passing --without-gui to configure.

  3. It is also a good idea to build and run the unit tests:

    make check
  4. (Optional) You can also install bitcoind to your path:

    make install

Use Qt Creator as IDE

You can use Qt Creator as IDE, for debugging and for manipulating forms, etc. Download Qt Creator from Download the "community edition" and only install Qt Creator (uncheck the rest during the installation process).

  1. Make sure you installed everything through Homebrew mentioned above
  2. Do a proper ./configure --enable-debug
  3. In Qt Creator do "New Project" -> Import Project -> Import Existing Project
  4. Enter "bitcoin-qt" as project name, enter src/qt as location
  5. Leave the file selection as it is
  6. Confirm the "summary page"
  7. In the "Projects" tab select "Manage Kits..."
  8. Select the default "Desktop" kit and select "Clang (x86 64bit in /usr/bin)" as compiler
  9. Select LLDB as debugger (you might need to set the path to your installation)
  10. Start debugging with Qt Creator

Creating a release build

You can ignore this section if you are building bitcoind for your own use.

bitcoind/bitcoin-cli binaries are not included in the bundle.

If you are building bitcoind or Bitcoin Core for others, your build machine should be set up as follows for maximum compatibility:

All dependencies should be compiled with these flags:

-mmacosx-version-min=10.7 -arch x86_64 -isysroot $(xcode-select --print-path)/Platforms/MacOSX.platform/Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.7.sdk

Once dependencies are compiled, see doc/ for how the Bitcoin Core bundle is packaged and signed to create the .dmg disk image that is distributed.


It's now available at ./bitcoind, provided that you are still in the src directory. We have to first create the RPC configuration file, though.

Run ./bitcoind to get the filename where it should be put, or just try these commands:

echo -e "rpcuser=bitcoinrpc\nrpcpassword=$(xxd -l 16 -p /dev/urandom)" > "/Users/${USER}/Library/Application Support/Bitcoin/bitcoin.conf"
chmod 600 "/Users/${USER}/Library/Application Support/Bitcoin/bitcoin.conf"

The next time you run it, it will start downloading the blockchain, but it won't output anything while it's doing this. This process may take several hours; you can monitor its process by looking at the debug.log file, like this:

tail -f $HOME/Library/Application\ Support/Bitcoin/debug.log

Other commands:

./bitcoind -daemon # to start the bitcoin daemon.
./bitcoin-cli --help  # for a list of command-line options.
./bitcoin-cli help    # When the daemon is running, to get a list of RPC commands