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Mac OS X Build Instructions and Notes

The commands in this guide should be executed in a Terminal application. The built-in one is located in /Applications/Utilities/


Install the OS X command line tools:

xcode-select --install

When the popup appears, click Install.

Then install Homebrew.


brew install automake berkeley-db4 libtool boost --without-single miniupnpc openssl pkg-config protobuf qt libevent

If you want to build the disk image with make deploy (.dmg / optional), you need RSVG

brew install librsvg

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

Build IsotopeC

  1. Clone the IsotopeC source code and cd into IsotopeC

     git clone
     cd IsotopeC
  2. Build IsotopeC:

    Configure and build the headless isotopec binaries as well as the GUI (if Qt is found).


    You can disable test and bench by passing --disable-tests --disable-bench to configure.

    ./configure --disable-tests --disable-bench

    You can disable the GUI to run a node by passing --without-gui to configure.

    ./configure --without-gui
  3. It is recommended to build and run the unit tests:

    make check
  4. You can also create a .dmg that contains the .app bundle (optional):

    make deploy


IsotopeC is now available at ./src/isotopecd

Before running, it's recommended you create an RPC configuration file.

echo -e "rpcuser=isotopecrpc\nrpcpassword=$(xxd -l 16 -p /dev/urandom)" > "/Users/${USER}/Library/Application Support/IsotopeC/isotopec.conf"

chmod 600 "/Users/${USER}/Library/Application Support/IsotopeC/isotopec.conf"

The first time you run isotopecd, it will start downloading the blockchain. This process could take several hours.

You can monitor the download process by looking at the debug.log file:

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

Other commands:

./src/isotopecd -daemon # Starts the isotopec daemon.
./src/isotopec-cli --help # Outputs a list of command-line options.
./src/isotopec-cli help # Outputs a list of RPC commands when the daemon is running.

Using Qt Creator as IDE

You can use Qt Creator as an IDE, for isotopec development. Download and install the community edition of Qt Creator. Uncheck everything except Qt Creator 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 "isotopec-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


  • Tested on OS X 10.8 through 10.15 on 64-bit Intel processors only.

  • Building with downloaded Qt binaries is not officially supported.