I'm asking this because I'm considering distributing a commercial Windows application to mac users. The application would run in WINE, but WINE depends on X11.

I've read that X11 is installed by default on OS X 10.5 and later, and available as an optional install on the installation dvd for OS X 10.4

Can I reasonably expect X11 to be available on most of the users' computers? If not, how difficult it would be to install for the user? Can I just provide them a link to download and install it from apple's website?


YES it's installed by default. It's in the installation options where users can tick or untick to install X11. But by default it's ticked in 10.5, 10.6 and 10.7

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    It is not installed default on 10.8. It pulls a Java and asks if you want to install it if needed. – utahwithak Jun 25 '12 at 14:44

The previous answer seems to be referring to Xcode, rather than X11. While Xcode is now downloadable from the App store, X11 is installed automatically when you install Lion.

If any of your users have problems, or find it not installed on their system, they can download the installer here:


  • Your answer is better for this particular case, will delete other answer XD – Samantha Catania Jul 26 '11 at 9:27
  • @dan8394 Thanks for the answer. I see that Lion was released on July 20, 2011. So I must assume that 99% of Mac users currently have Snow Leopard and below, and hence don't have X11 installed. Is macosforge.org an official apple site? I'd rather point the users to the official apple site if I can. – sashoalm Jul 26 '11 at 10:34
  • Here's the official Apple page: developer.apple.com/opensource/tools/x11.html Slick is correct though - it should be installed by default on 10.5 and 10.6 so most of your users should have it. A quick way for them to check is to type startX at the command line and see if X11 starts up (a dock icon with a black X should appear). – dan8394 Jul 26 '11 at 14:01
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    BUT 90% of Mac OS X users have never used the command line... Maybe it is better to tell them to look for /Applications/Utilities/X11 to see if it is installed. – GEdgar Jul 26 '11 at 14:54
  • Good point. GEdgar – dan8394 Jul 26 '11 at 15:43

As from OS X 10.8 X11 is not installed by default.

However there is an easier way to install. Use Wineskin to wrap your app. Then you will get an OS X app that includes X11 and your app


No, it is not installed. Apple support now directs users to download the .dmg from XQuartz.org

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    Um, just so you know, it says "xquarts" where it should be "xquartz". The actual link works fine, but anyone typing it in manually would be confused. – SilverWolf Oct 20 '17 at 20:27

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