How to deploy Qt application on MacOs

Missing dylib libraries

If your application using some externals dynamic libraries (called .dylib in MacOs system), you have to provide all these libraries. The simplest way is to provide these libraries into the Application.app directory.

Find out which libraries are used

Qt provide really useful tool called “otool” which serves to lots of purpose. One of them is to detect which shared libraries are required by our application. For this purpose otool has parameter -L. The usage is following:

otool -L ./Test1.app/Contents/MacOS/Test1

Output could looks like this:

./Test1:
        libboost_iostreams.dylib (compatibility version 0.0.0, current version 0.0.0)
        libboost_filesystem.dylib (compatibility version 0.0.0, current version 0.0.0)
        libboost_system.dylib (compatibility version 0.0.0, current version 0.0.0)
        libboost_thread.dylib (compatibility version 0.0.0, current version 0.0.0)
        libboost_date_time.dylib (compatibility version 0.0.0, current version 0.0.0)
        libboost_regex.dylib (compatibility version 0.0.0, current version 0.0.0)
        /Users/dev/dev/SharedLibraries/libiconv/lib/libiconv.2.dylib (compatibility version 8.0.0, current version 8.0.0)
        /Users/dev/dev/ExternalLibraries/../SharedLibraries/libxml/lib/libxml2.2.dylib (compatibility version 10.0.0, current version 10.8.0)
        /Users/dev/dev/ExternalLibraries/../SharedLibraries/libxslt/lib/libxslt.1.dylib (compatibility version 3.0.0, current version 3.26.0)
        /Users/dev/dev/ExternalLibraries/../SharedLibraries/libxslt/lib/libexslt.0.dylib (compatibility version 9.0.0, current version 9.15.0)
        /Users/dev/dev/ExternalLibraries/yaml-cpp-0.2.5/build/libyaml-cpp.0.2.dylib (compatibility version 0.2.0, current version 0.2.5)
        QtGui.framework/Versions/4/QtGui (compatibility version 4.7.0, current version 4.7.0)
        QtCore.framework/Versions/4/QtCore (compatibility version 4.7.0, current version 4.7.0)
        /usr/lib/libstdc++.6.dylib (compatibility version 7.0.0, current version 7.9.0)
        /usr/lib/libgcc_s.1.dylib (compatibility version 1.0.0, current version 625.0.0)
        /usr/lib/libSystem.B.dylib (compatibility version 1.0.0, current version 125.2.0)

Output from “otool” is simmilar to linux tool “ldd”.

The Mac Deployment Tool

Because manual copying and configuring all shared libraries to our application could be difficult, Qt have deployment tool which do all work for us. Tool is called “macdeployqt” and can be found in /Developer/Tools/Qt/macdeployqt.

 /Developer/Tools/Qt/macdeployqt ./GeneratedFilesMacOs/Debug/Test1.app

Note: Every time when you call macdeployqt tool, project have to be build from scratch. But is sufficient when whole result directory is removed and linked again:

rm -rf ./GeneratedFilesMacOs/Debug/Test1.app/
make

2 comments

    1. Not sure, but macdeploy change some already compiled files, so it’s necessary to always have clean compiled executable. It isn’t necessary to rebuild whole project, you can only delete .app directory and link it again.

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