I need to compile simple *.cpp files with a GNU compiler of at least version 4.3.1. As I understand, Apple's Xcode does not install standard GNU compilers but a modified version suited to Apple's needs:

g++ -v

gives me

gcc version 4.2.1 (Based on Apple Inc. build 5658) (LLVM build 2336.1.00)

also referred to as


What is a simple way to install and safe method to use a newer C++ compiler in Mac OS?

  • 1
    It is not a modified gcc but llvm (llvm.org).
    – Matteo
    Nov 20, 2011 at 17:05

4 Answers 4


MacPorts has several pre-configured gcc packages (from 4.2 to 4.6). Just install MacPorts and run

sudo port install gcc46
  • @Matt: but not fast, it will take a while to install..
    – Matteo
    Nov 20, 2011 at 19:25
  • Indeed... almost one hour!
    – gentmatt
    Nov 20, 2011 at 21:06
  • 2
    For anybody that needs help with the configuration: 1) Install pkg (see like in answer) 2) port select --list gcc3) sudo port select --set gcc mp-gcc46 Now you can call the new compiler via g++ as usual. Notice, that you have to open a new terminal window to verify that this works (e.g. with g++ -v). If you remain in the same terminal window after changing the like, you get an error.
    – gentmatt
    Nov 20, 2011 at 21:26
  • 2) lists the installed compilers 3) chooses the default compiler
    – gentmatt
    Nov 20, 2011 at 21:33

I prefer using High Performance Computing's versions of the GNU compilers, as I need a Fortran compiler, which Apple does not offer.

this solution avoids installing anything BUT a GCC compiler, whereas fink and macports will add quite a lot of stuff to your system. The HPC compiler requires having Apple's developer's tools installed already, but since you mention having gcc I guess you do.


There might be a simpler way using Package Managers like Fink, Homebrew, MacPorts but according to http://pdb.finkproject.org/pdb/browse.php?sec=devel Fink doesn't have a g++ package. I don't use Homebrew or MacPorts so you'll have to do your own research.

Another (relatively more work) option is to download g++ version (4.3.1) you want, config it differently (i.e point it away from the default directories for e.g. /usr/bin but instead have the executable symlink to /usr/local) before building and installing it.


Thanks to Kenneth, you can install this pkg made for Lion:


Note, this may be the wrong gcc for your needs as it is just an 'Xcode independent' installation of the Apple provided compilers, so the GCC is the same as that version of Xcode from whence it came. In addition, the project is now been mothballed in favour of Apple's own CLI tools package.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .