Qt for macOS - Building from Source

Qt for macOS has some requirements that are given in more detail in the Qt for macOS Requirements document.

The following instructions describe how to install Qt from the source package. You can download the Qt 5 sources from the Downloads page. For more information, visit the Getting Started with Qt page.

Step 1: Install the License File (Commercially Licensed Qt Only)

If you have a commercial Qt license, download the license file from your Qt Account Web portal and save it as $HOME/.qt-license.

Unpack the archive if you have not done so already. For example, if you have the qt-everywhere-opensource-src-%VERSION%.tar.gz package, type the following commands at a command line prompt:

cd /tmp
gunzip qt-everywhere-opensource-src-%VERSION%.tar.gz        # uncompress the archive
tar xvf qt-everywhere-opensource-src-%VERSION%.tar          # unpack it

This creates the directory /tmp/qt-everywhere-opensource-src-%VERSION% containing the files from the archive.

Step 2: Build the Qt Library

To configure the Qt library for your machine type, run the ./configure script in the package directory.

By default, Qt is configured for installation in the /usr/local/Qt-%VERSION% directory, but this can be changed by using the -prefix option.

cd /tmp/qt-everywhere-opensource-src-%VERSION%

By default, Qt is built as a framework, but you can built it as a set of dynamic libraries (dylibs) by specifying the -no-framework option.

Qt can also be configured to be built with debugging symbols. This process is described in detail in the Debugging Techniques document.

The Configure Options page contains more information about the configure options.

To create the library and compile all the examples and tools, type:


If -prefix is outside the build directory, you need to install the library, examples, and tools in the appropriate place. To do this, type:

sudo make -j1 install

This command requires that you have administrator access on your machine.

Note: There is a potential race condition when running make install with multiple jobs. It is best to only run one make job (-j1) for the install.

Step 3: Set the Environment Variables

In order to use Qt, some environment variables need to be extended.

PATH               - to locate qmake, moc and other Qt tools

This is done like this:

In .profile (if your shell is bash), add the following lines:

export PATH

In .login (in case your shell is csh or tcsh), add the following line:

setenv PATH /usr/local/Qt-%VERSION%/bin:$PATH

If you use a different shell, please modify your environment variables accordingly.

That's all. Qt is now installed.

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