How to Install X11 in OS X

This guide explains how to install X11 in OS X. However, X11 is no longer a part of macOS (since OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion). Apple now suggests users to switch to XQuartz project (more info here).

Starting with OS X 10.5 (Leopard) X11 came installed by default. Unless you went out of your way not to install it during the Leopard installation, you’ll find it in /usr/X11

  1. Insert your OS X Tiger Install Disc (#1). Scroll down (it took me forever to realize you had to scroll down) to locate the Optional Installs icon and double-click it
  2. Optional Installs.mpkg in a Finder window
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  3. Click Continue on the first screen
  4. the first window in the Install X11 wizard
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  5. Read the Software License Agreement and then click Continue
  6. the X11 terms and conditions
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  7. Click Agree
  8. an Agree button in OS X

  9. Select a location and (you guessed it) click Continue
  10. choosing a location to install X11 in OS X
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  11. Click the small triangle directly next to Applications and then place a check in the box labeled X11. When you’re ready, click Upgrade.
  12. placing a check in the X11 box
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  13. Enter your password when prompted, and then click OK
  14. entering a password in OS X

  15. The installation won’t take too long
  16. installing X11 in OS X
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  17. After X11 has successfully installed, click Close
  18. closing the Optional Software installation wizard
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  19. Congrats, you now have a fresh install of X11 in OS X! It can now be found in Applications > Utilities > X11
  20. X11 in a Finder window
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13 thoughts on “How to Install X11 in OS X”

  1. I never leave a post but I need to say “You are a blessing!!!” Thank you so much. It was so simple…thanks to you! I would have never figure this one out on my own….

  2. Amazingly simple when you know where to go and what to do! Can’t thank you enough for these straightforward directions. I’ve been at this for 3 hours on my own. So glad I found you! Thanks again!!!

  3. Hi,
    Really good help, that is.
    Wasn’t sure where to click to get to that Installation screen, so glad you showed it in detail, thanks!


  4. Thanks a lot, i was really struggling with this. I have to say your instructions were an absolute life saver. Thanks again.

  5. Excellent! I am embarrassed to say that I did not notice that the window had other items that had to be scrolled to when I first saw it today as well. I knew that I did not want to go through the regular install, because it included all of the base OS X files. Thanks for posting these instructions!

  6. *thank you* for posting these directions in detail! i’ve been pulling my hair out trying to find how to install x11 for an entire day. and they are exceptionally clear. *thanks!!!*

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