How to Install Command Line Tools in OS X Mavericks (Without Xcode)

Feb 12, 2014 - 7 Comments

Command Line Tools Mac users who prefer to have a more traditional Unix toolkit accessible to them through the Terminal may wish to install the optional Command Line Tools subsection of the Xcode IDE. From OS X Mavericks onward, this is now easily possible directly and without installing the entire Xcode package first, no developer account is required either. The Command Line Tool package gives terminal users many commonly used tools, utilities, and compilers, including make, GCC, clang, perl, svn, git, size, strip, strings, libtool, cpp, what, and many other useful commands that are usually found in default linux installations. We’ve included the full list of new binaries available through the command line toolkit below for those interested, or you can just see for yourself after you have installed the package, which we’ll walk through here.

This guide is geared towards OS X 10.9 and newer. Mac users running prior versions of OS X can continue to directly install Command Line Tools and gcc (without Xcode) through a package installer available through the Apple Developer website as described here.

Installing Command Line Tools in Mac OS X

  1. Launch the Terminal, found in /Applications/Utilities/
  2. Type the following command string:
  3. xcode-select --install
    Install command line tools through terminal in OS X

  4. A software update popup window will appear that asks: “The xcode-select command requires the command line developer tools. Would you like to install the tools now?” choose to confirm this by clicking “Install”, then agree to the Terms of Service when requested (feel free to read them thoroughly, we’ll be here)
  5. Confirm installation of command line tools on Mac OS X

  6. Wait for the Command Line Tools package download to complete, it’ll be about 130MB and installs fairly quickly depending on your connection speed
  7. Downloading command line tools

The installer goes away on its own when complete, and you can then confirm everything is working by trying to use one of the commands that were just installed, like gcc, git, svn, rebase, make, ld, otool, nm, whatever you want from the list below. Assuming the installation went uninterrupted, the command will execute as expected. This also means you can compile and install things from source code directly without having to use a package manager. Enjoy your new unix command line toolkit!

What Installs with Command Line Tools and Where

For those interested, the entire package command line toolkit package gets placed in the following directory:

/Library/Developer/CommandLineTools/

(note that is the root /Library, not user ~/Library)

If you want to see the 61 new commands available to you, they’re all in /Library/Developer/CommandLineTools/usr/bin/ and we have listed them below for convenience:

ar
as
asa
bison
BuildStrings
c++
c89
c99
cc
clang
clang++
cmpdylib
codesign_allocate
CpMac
cpp
ctags
ctf_insert
DeRez
dsymutil
dwarfdump
dyldinfo
flex
flex++
g++
gatherheaderdoc
gcc
gcov
GetFileInfo
git
git-cvsserver
git-receive-pack
git-shell
git-upload-archive
git-upload-pack
gm4
gnumake
gperf
hdxml2manxml
headerdoc2html
indent
install_name_tool
ld
lex
libtool
lipo
lldb
lorder
m4
make
MergePef
mig
mkdep
MvMac
nasm
ndisasm
nm
nmedit
otool
pagestuff
projectInfo
ranlib
rebase
redo_prebinding
ResMerger
resolveLinks
Rez
RezDet
RezWack
rpcgen
segedit
SetFile
size
SplitForks
strings
strip
svn
svnadmin
svndumpfilter
svnlook
svnrdump
svnserve
svnsync
svnversion
unifdef
unifdefall
UnRezWack
unwinddump
what
xml2man
yacc

Troubleshooting “not currently available” error

Getting an error message that says “Can’t install the software because it is not currently available from the Software Update server”? Well you’re in luck, because that error message probably indicates you already have Xcode installed on the Mac.

From OS X 10.9 onward, if Xcode is already installed in OS X then Command Line Tools becomes installed as well (you can check this by trying to run gcc or make from the terminal). Accordingly, this tutorial is aimed at users who do not want to install the broader Xcode development package, and would rather only have the command line utilities installed instead. Yes, that means you can uninstall the entire Xcode app and only install the command line tools if you want to, since for many users and sysadmins that’s the only reason they installed Xcode to begin with.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Command Line, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

7 Comments

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  1. TK says:

    Great to know! Time to remove Xcode and HomeBrew, compiling was only reason I installed them :)

  2. Janusz says:

    xcode-select –install
    xcode-select: error: no developer tools were found, and no install could be requested (perhaps no UI is present), please install manually from ‘developer.apple.com’.

    • ITN says:

      Use two dashes for the xcode-select flag, like –install not -install

      use this:

      xcode-select –install

      not this:

      xcode-select -install

  3. Janusz says:

    Of course manual download and installationn from https://developer.apple.com works fine.

  4. Rick says:

    Another simple way to install these tools is simply to try to run one of them. If it’s not installed, OS X will give you a prompt that asks if you want to install it. If you agree, it does it quickly and easily!

  5. Chris says:

    On my system they are not located in /Library/Developer/CommandLineTools/

    I don’t know if I did something different during the install or if it’s because I did the install via Xcode (I stumbled upon this article simply because I was trying to find *where* the tools were installed).

    Anyhow, mine ended up in /usr/bin

    Just putting that out there in case something has changed since this was written.

    Thanks for the info though, it helped me finally figure out where the binaries were and what to look for (list helped a lot).

    • aul says:

      Interesting, there should be symlinks between binaries in /Library/Developer/CommandLineTools/ and /usr/bin/ but this is definitely worth noting.

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