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Home icon grey.png   ▶ Mac OS X ▶ Mac FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions for Mac OS X and Mac hardware.


1 General FAQ

See also: XBMC all platforms FAQ for FAQs that apply to all versions of XBMC.

1.1 Requirements

  • Requires Mac OS X 10.6 and only runs on Intel Macs.

1.2 How to install and/or update XBMC

  • Simply download XBMC from and copy to your Applications folder to install XBMC
  • Do the same to update XBMC. All your settings and files will be preserved as they are located in a different place in the userdata folder. Be sure to make a backup of the userdata folder when doing updates in case something goes wrong.
  • If you have OS X 10.8 or higher, you may need to bypass the Gatekeeper settings to install XBMC: See Gatekeeper

1.3 XBMC for Mac version

  • The current stable version of XBMC for Mac is Kodi v14.2 Helix. This is the same code that all of the other platforms (Linux, iOS, Windows) are using.

1.4 What version/nightly build/beta of XBMC am I running?

  • XBMC main menu > System > Lower submenu > System info. Note the build date.

1.5 Programs and tools to help with XBMC

  • For a list of programs and tools to help with XBMC, such as renaming files, managing media, file sharing, and more, see Supplemental tools/Mac OS X

2 Remote controls

2.1 What remotes can be used with XBMC

  • Apple Remote (both white and silver version)
    • How do I bring up the context menu? - Press and hold MENU
    • How do I bring up the OSD during playback? - Press and hold SELECT
  • Logitech Harmony remotes can be used. See #Harmony
  • Any Keyboard such as wired, wireless, bluetooth. This includes "keymotes" such as the Rii or Boxee remote.
  • Web interfaces, including add-on interfaces.
  • XBMC smartphone and tablet remote apps.
  • Other IR remotes can be used with IR receivers such as the Flirc.

2.2 Starting XBMC with the Apple Remote


2.3 Using a Logitech Harmony remote

  • XBMC can use a Logitech Harmony remote using the normal Apple IR receiver that is built into some Macs.
  • Go to Settings -> System -> Input devices and change "Apple remote" to "Universal".
  • On the Logitech Harmony remote, select the Plex profile.

2.4 Can't wake a sleeping Mac using the Apple Remote on 10.7


2.5 iTunes and/or system volume is taking over when using the remote


3 Troubleshooting

3.1 General

3.1.1 Getting more help with XBMC for Mac OS X


3.1.2 Userdata folder and logs

See How-to:Submit a proper bug report for bug reporting details and here for instructions on reporting an issue to the forums
  • Userdata folder: /Users/<your_user_name>/Library/Application Support/XBMC/userdata
  • Debug log: /Users/<your_user_name>/Library/Logs/XBMC.log
  • Console log: /Library/Logs/Console/501/console.log
  • CrashReporter:
    • OSX 10.5, 10.6 /Users/<your_user_name>/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/CrashReporter.log
    • OSX 10.7, 10.8, 10.9 /Users/<your_user_name>/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports/

3.1.3 I am seeing double or ghost files for some videos

  • When Mac OS X touches files that are saved on a non-Mac-formatted drive (HFS+) it will save metadata in what are often called AppleDouble files. They often show up looking like ._filename.ext or .DS_Store. On a native Mac formatted drive (HFS+) the metadata is written in such a way that it does not create these files, which is why you don't see them there.
  • Normally these files appear invisible on some computers, but will still get picked up by some programs such as XBMC.
  • You can prevent Mac OS X from creating these files on a network share by using a program such as TinkerTool or by opening and running the following command:
    defaults write DSDontWriteNetworkStores true
  • To remove the files you need to make them visible (again, you can use TinkerTool to make them visible, but remember to re-enable invisible files afterwards to protect certain system files) and drag them to the trash can and delete them.

3.1.4 Remote issues


3.1.5 Add-ons downloaded from the internet are not in zip format or will not install

  • There are two main possibilities for an add-on to not install when you use "Install from zip". One is that it isn't in a proper zip format, the other is that the add-on is for an older version of XBMC that isn't compatible with the version you are using.
  • Very commonly the Safari web browser is being used to download these add-ons, and by default will unzip the files leaving you with a folder that won't work with the "Install from zip" option. You can turn this feature off by going into Safari's preferences, under "General" and unchecking "Open 'safe' files after downloading". If you wish to keep this feature on, you should be able to find the original zip file in the Trash can. Just drag the file out and use it instead of the folder for "Install from zip".

3.1.6 Can't see UPnP sources/servers

  • See If you are unable to see UPnP sources or servers inside of XBMC it could be due to a conflicting UPnP service running on your Mac or network. One known conflicting server is EyeTV, which runs a UPnP server in the background, even if EyeTV itself is not running. Uninstalling EyeTV or forcing all EyeTV processes to quit in Activity Monitor should fix the issue.

3.1.7 Audio issues and/or slow video playback

  • If you hear sound only coming from the left side of speakers/headphones then you probably need to change your audio settings from 2.1 to 2.0.
  • Make sure that your audio settings are correct. Wrong audio settings will have severely negative effects on video playback.
  • Check to see if your speaker setup is really correct
  • If passthrough: make sure you only enable the audio codecs your receiver supports.
  • Select the correct audio output device for analog and passthrough.
  • Gapless playback for music isn't working.
  • Not actually an issue with XBMC: Apple does not provide support for HD-audio passthrough in their audio API, CoreAudio.

3.1.8 Why does setting the output for 2.0 sound work better for 5.1 sound?


2.0 is the number of channels we are opening in the device. For all passed through audio like DTS and AC3 we need 2 channels (as those 5.1 channels are encoded into 2.0 pcm channels). Setting the speakerlayout higher results in the activation of LPCM. LPCM means XBMC decodes all channels from the 2.0 encoded DTS, AC3 sound (resulting in 6 channels for 5.1) - remaps them according to the audio device and then puts them out as 6 pcm channels (this is 3 times more data then the 2.0 encoded channels from DTS, AC3 passthrough).

Since we have issues with mapping the channels from input format 5.1 to device format 5.1 atm - this may result in silence instead of audio.

3.1.9 Bluetooth audio results in poor sound quality.


Go into Settings -> System -> Audio output and select Fixed and 44.1 on the settings.

3.2 Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) (and higher) issues

3.2.1 SMB (Windows Sharing) isn't working when sharing files

  • Update to XBMC v12.1 or higher for compatibility with the new SMB server in OS X 10.7 (and up).

3.2.2 Userdata folder and logs are hidden

  • By default, Mac OS X 10.7 hides the user's Library folder, which is where XBMC's userdata folder and logs are stored. There are a few ways to get around this:
    • While in the Finder, click on the "Go" menu and hold down  Option, then select Library.
    • You can use programs such as TinkerTool to change the visibility of all or some hidden files/folders.
    • To permanently reveal the ~/Library folder, open up Terminal and run this command:
    chflags nohidden ~/Library
    Note: Anytime there is an OS X update (e.g. from version 10.7.3 to 10.7.4) you will have to run this command again as the folder will be hidden again.

3.2.3 Can't wake a sleeping Mac using the Apple Remote

  • Apple changed how energy saving settings work on Mac OS X 10.7/10.8 and by default the Apple Remote will not wake a sleeping Mac. This can be fixed by changing the "darkwake" flag on Mac OS X, but do this at your own risk.

3.2.4 Strange sound when movie is paused after updating to 10.7.4

  • Are you getting strange sounds when you pause some movies after updating Mac OS X to 10.7.4? Apple changed some OS-level code that has affected several programs, including XBMC, Plex, ProTools, and others. It has been reported that upgraded Mac OS X to 10.7.5 or 10.8 (Mountain Lion) fixes this problem. For more info see this forum post: Forum:131305.

3.3 Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) (and higher) issues

3.3.1 Gatekeeper prevents XBMC from installing ("XBMC" can’t be opened because it is from an unidentified developer)


If you have Mac OS X 10.8 or higher then you might get a message saying that XBMC/Kodi "can’t be opened because it is from an unidentified developer". This is due to the OS X Gatekeeper feature that is designed to discourage users from downloading from random locations and possibly installing something bad. Assuming you've downloaded XBMC/Kodi from then you have nothing to worry about, and we just need to bypass this warning:

  • Recommended - Right click (or command+click) the XBMC/Kodi icon and select "open"


  • Advanced - Enable all application downloads
    1. In OS X go to the Apple Menu -> System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> General ->
    2. Unlock the padlock at the bottom of the window, which will require a computer admin password
    3. Where it says "Allow applications downloaded from:" select "Anywhere"
    4. OS X will give you a scary warning that is a bit exaggerated. If you're not comfortable with this, use the "right click" method mentioned above.

In all cases OS X will still ask you if you want to open an "unsigned" application the first time it is opened, so new applications that are downloaded can't just start by themselves.

3.4 Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks)

3.4.1 XBMC crashes on 10.9

  • XBMC 12.2 has an audio bug that prevents it from starting up on Mac OS X 10.9. Update to XBMC v12.3 or newer to fix the issue.

3.4.2 Other 10.9 issues

  • Stuttering video- Some users have had issues with stuttering video, possibly related to the AppNap feature.
  • Possible issue with auto-switching GPUs on some Macbook Pros- There seems to be an issue with some Macbook Pros that have auto-switching GPUs that cause XBMC to start up with only 16k colors and/or low resolution. Switching in and out of windowed mode seems to work as a temp workaround (press \ on a keyboard).
  • Crash when starting XBMC with external monitor- XBMC might crash when there is an external/second monitor connected (laptops only?) and not in mirroring mode. This will be fixed in the 12.3 bugfix release and has been fixed in nightly builds.
  • SMB/SAMBA/Windows sharing sharing from Mac OS X 10.9- Not really an XBMC issue, but XBMC clients connecting to a Mac OS X 10.9 SMB/SAMBA/Windows-sharing file server might have compatibility issues again. SMBUp can be used as a workaround.
  • IR Apple remote is unresponsive- The "App Nap" feature in OS X 10.9 might cause lag and delays when using the white or silver Apple IR remote control. A temp work around would be to disable "App Nap" in OS X.
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