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wxWidgets - Cross-Platform GUI Library


See also top-level FAQ page.

List of questions in this category

Which Mac platforms are supported?

wxWidgets can be used to develop and deliver applications on Mac OS X (or now known as just “OS X”). There’s 3 unique ports of wxWidgets designed for Mac OS X: wxMac, wxOSX/Carbon, and wxOSX/Cocoa. Please see the overview page for a description of each.

What compilers are supported?

The free Developer Tools from Apple are all you need to build wxMac or wxOSX.

There are 3rd party IDEs (including many built specifically for use with wxWidgets) available for OS X as well, however, they all require using the GCC compiler distributed by Apple with Developer Tools.

What steps are required to build wxMac under Mac OS X?

First download and install the free Xcode IDE from Apple at

Next download and unpack wxWidgets. Then follow the instructions in docs/osx/install.txt for compiling the libraries from a Terminal window. (In wxWidgets 2.8.x, this file is called docs/mac/install.txt.)

Try some of the samples and demos to see how well wxWidgets works on your Mac. Finally start your own Xcode project using the instructions in the wxWiki under Guides & Tutorials

What can I do if I get conflicts between different installed versions of wxWidgets?

For most development work, this is not an issue. You can have many versions of wxWidgets on your computer at the same time without conflict. You will only encounter this problem if you try to install wxWidgets into /usr/local/bin.

Some versions of Mac OS X install an older version of wxMac than the one you may be using for development. This can cause conflicts, such as link errors when building your applications. In this case, always ensure you are using the full path to wx-config in your project settings.

What are the smart preprocessing errors with the Apple Developer Tools?

Smart preprocessing is activated with the ‘-cpp-precomp’ option and allows much faster preprocessing of the source files by loading precompiled Carbon header files. This option speeds up the compilation of wxMac by a factor of 2 at least. When compiling wxMac using the Apple Developer Tools, the following error is displayed for certain files:

cpp-precomp: warning: errors during smart preprocessing, retrying in basic mode

This error is due to the smart precompiler which does not fully understand C++ syntax and reverts to basic preprocessing when a smart preprocessing error occurs. This error can sometimes be corrected or avoided by modifying the source code. However, leaving these errors is not a problem since the preprocessor automatically switches to basic preprocessing if necessary.

How does wxMac support the standard Apple About menu item and Help menu?

Because wxWidgets does not have a specific API for the About menu item or the Help menu, the Mac OS port uses some static variables to help the engine make the right decisions:

  • It assumes that the About menu item is part of a Help menu.
  • The title of the Help menu is stored in ‘wxApp::s_macHelpMenuTitleName’, it defaults to “&Help”, but you can change it in your constructor to your specific menu title.
  • The item Id of the About menu is stored in ‘wxApp::s_macAboutMenuItemID’, it defaults to ‘wxID_ABOUT’, but can be changed as well to suit your needs.
  • The other items of the wxWidgets help menu are appended to the OS X Help menu and the translation of Ids is handled transparently for your application.

How do I add an icon to my application?

If you have Mac OS X, you have the icns editor somewhere in the Utilities folder. Create an icon using this tool and DeRez it, so that you have a .r file with a ‘icns’ resource with id (-16455). Include this .r file in your project and in the CodeWarrior Settings add a check mark under Linker:Output Flags/Finder Flags/Has Custom Icon.

Why can’t I set focus to my wxMac application?

This happens when you don’t build your application as a bundle. You must create a bundle for OS X applications. Please look at the samples makefiles which build bundles under Mac OS X and read this wiki topic for more details.