There are a few ways to get FFmpeg on macOS:

  1. Use a package manager like Homebrew or MacPorts to install ffmpeg. These will automatically keep your FFmpeg installation up-to-date. See the Homebrew section and the MacPorts section below for more info.
  1. Download a static build for macOS. This is as easy as extracting and running the downloaded binary. One disadvantage with static builds is that updates have to be performed manually. Also, they may not contain all encoders or filters you want.
  1. Build it yourself. Compiling on macOS is as easy as on any other *nix machine. Download the source, then run ./configure with the needed flags, make and make install. However, the configuration options have to be set manually, and you will need to install third-party libraries yourself. See the compilation section below for more info.

ffmpeg through MacPorts is a command-line package manager, which is similar to apt-get on popular Linux distributions. In order to use it, you need to install port first, if you haven't already. For the installation follow the MacPorts documentation.

Installation will take a few minutes. Then, run:

sudo port install ffmpeg

For an overview of the FFmpeg variants available through MacPorts look here.

ffmpeg through Homebrew

Homebrew is a command-line package manager, which is similar to apt-get on popular Linux distributions. In order to use it, you need to install brew first, if you haven't already:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

Follow the on-screen instructions. This will take a few minutes while it's installing the necessary developer tools for macOS. Then, run:

brew install ffmpeg

to get the latest released version with minimal configuration (and library dependency) options. These versions are packaged as Homebrew formulas and will take care of all the dependencies and the installation itself. To get the latest Git master version, run:

brew install ffmpeg --HEAD

Additional options

Since v2.0, Homebrew does not offer options for its core formulae anymore. Users who want to build ffmpeg with additional libraries (including non-free ones) need to use so-called taps from third party repositories. These repositories are not maintained by Homebrew.

The following repositories for ffmpeg are available – refer to the README for additional information about the included options:

ffmpeg can be installed from the repository using its full formula name after tapping, for example:

brew tap homebrew-ffmpeg/ffmpeg
brew install homebrew-ffmpeg/ffmpeg/ffmpeg

Options are available with brew options homebrew-ffmpeg/ffmpeg/ffmpeg.

Updating ffmpeg

To later upgrade your ffmpeg version to the latest released, simply run:

brew update && brew upgrade ffmpeg

If you have installed the HEAD, then you can upgrade by running:

brew upgrade --fetch-HEAD ffmpeg

Compiling FFmpeg yourself


Xcode is required to compile software on your Mac. Install Xcode by downloading it from the website or using the Mac App Store.

After installing Xcode, install the Command Line Tools from Preferences > Downloads > Components. You can also install the tools via your shell:

xcode-select --install

Installing dependencies with Homebrew

To get some dependencies for ffmpeg, you can install Homebrew.

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"


brew install automake fdk-aac git lame libass libtool libvorbis libvpx \
opus sdl shtool texi2html theora wget x264 x265 xvid nasm

Tip: If you don't want to use Homebrew to get the dependencies, see the section below. Using Homebrew will however save you time in setting up all the needed tools.

Manual install of the dependencies without Homebrew

Pkg-config & GLib

Pkg-config is necessary for detecting some of the libraries you can compile into FFmpeg, and it requires GLib, which is not included in macOS (but almost every other *nix distribution). You may either download pkg-config 0.23, or download the large tarball from and compile it. Pkg-config is available from

To compile GLib, you must also download gettext from and edit the file stpncpy.c to add #undef stpncpy just before #ifndef weak_alias. Mac OS X Lion has its own (incompatible) version of the stpncpy function, which overlaps in gettext. Compile gettext as usual. Compile GLib with

LIBFFI_CFLAGS=-I/usr/include/ffi LIBFFI_LIBS=-lffi ./configure;make && sudo make install

To compile pkg-config, run

GLIB_CFLAGS="-I/usr/local/include/glib-2.0 -I/usr/local/lib/glib-2.0/include" GLIB_LIBS="-lglib-2.0 -lgio-2.0" ./configure --with-pc-path="/usr/X11/lib/pkgconfig:/usr/X11/share/pkgconfig:/usr/lib/pkgconfig:/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig"


Nasm is an assembler required for x264. The latest version is available at

Additional libraries

These are just some examples. Run ./configure --help for all available options.

  • x264 encodes H.264 video. Use --enable-gpl --enable-libx264.
  • fdk-aac encodes AAC audio. Use --enable-libfdk-aac.
  • libvpx is a VP8 and VP9 encoder. Use --enable-libvpx.
  • libvorbis encodes Vorbis audio . Requires libogg. Use --enable-libvorbis.
  • libopus encodes Opus audio.
  • LAME encodes MP3 audio. Use --enable-libmp3lame.
  • libass is a subtitle renderer. Use --enable-libass.


macOS already comes with freetype installed (older versions may need X11 selected during installation), but in an atypical location: /opt/X11/.

Running freetype-config in Terminal can give the locations of the individual folders, like headers, and libraries, so be prepared to add lines like

CFLAGS=`freetype-config --cflags`
LDFLAGS=`freetype-config --libs` PKG_CONFIG_PATH=$PKG_CONFIG_PATH:/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig:/usr/lib/pkgconfig:/opt/X11/lib/pkgconfig

in your ./configure command.


Once you have compiled all of the codecs/libraries you want, you can now download the FFmpeg source either with Git or the from release tarball links on the website.

For general instructions on how to compile software, consult the Generic compilation guide. The information there is applicable to the macOS environment as well.

Run ./configure --help, and study its output to learn what options are available. Make sure you've enabled all the features you want. Note that --enable-nonfree and --enable-gpl will be necessary for some of the dependencies above.

A sample compilation command is:

git clone ffmpeg
cd ffmpeg
./configure  --prefix=/usr/local --enable-gpl --enable-nonfree --enable-libass \
--enable-libfdk-aac --enable-libfreetype --enable-libmp3lame \
--enable-libtheora --enable-libvorbis --enable-libvpx --enable-libx264 --enable-libx265 --enable-libopus --enable-libxvid \

After successful compilation, running sudo make install will install the ffmpeg binaries with superuser rights. You can also set a prefix during configuration, e.g. --prefix="$HOME/bin, where no root rights are needed for make install.

Last modified 2 years ago Last modified on Feb 1, 2022, 7:23:57 PM
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