Cannot import or open m4a files to audacity

I just downloaded the newest version of Audacity (2.3.0) and am on mac El Capitan 10.11.6.

When I try to open or import an m4a file I get the error message “This version of audacity was not compiled with Quicktime support” and “Audacity attempted to use FFmpeg to import an audio file, but the libraries were not found”.

I’ve read the other posts about this problem, and have opened and closed Audacity, and deleted the 3 .cfg files and reopened. I still get the same message.
Can you help?

You can import a large variety of sound files by adding the FFMPEG software. Scroll down from the installer page.


Same problem here with AAC, 2.3.0 and Mojave. Was not a problem before with 2.2.2 FFMpeg was installed. Reinstalled the libraries but no change.

Edit: the only thing that is weird is that the FFMPEG library 2.2.2 contains ffmpeg.55.64bit.dylib, ffmpeg_utils.52.64bit.dylib and ffmpeg_codecs.55.64bit.dylib in the suggested lib folder but Audacity says “F(55.33.100),C(55.52.102),U(52.66.100)” for the same folder.

For Audacity 2.3.0 (and earlier) you need the 32-bit libraries which are lower down the download page.

The 64-bit libraries are for the soon to be upcoming Audacity 2.3.1 which will be 64-bit,


64 stands for 64 bits. Silly me :laughing:

So the problem for me really was that Quicktime is not supported anymore in 2.3.0, is that correct?

Ok it turns out I had 32bit FFMPEG 2.2.2 also installed. Audacity 2.3.0 doesn’t import with FFMPEG, says Quicktime not supported. Audacity 2.2.2 imports with Quicktime. I don’t know how to force FFMPEG for import on 2.2.2 to test further. I deleted the whole audacity application support folder but that didn’t help.

Edit: I want to clarify that I don’t have any issues with FFMPEG export on either 2.3.0 nor with 2.2.2

Edit2: I am now suspecting broken AAC files - testing!

Edit3: Seems to be a FFMPEG 2.2.2 issue with ADTS. FFMPEG 2.2.2 import is otherwise ok. Since Quicktime does not support that file it should default to FFMPEG but that has a problem we get “This version of audacity was not compiled with Quicktime support” error. Shouldn’t an FFMPEG error be shown instead then?

I’m not an expert on macOS (I mostly use Linux), but my understanding is that the QuickTime Library was deprecated by Apple when they launched Sierra, and has been discontinued in xcode (the application for building software for macos).

I suspect you’re right, though I’ve not seen any definitive information about this. The current error message is certainly not helpful, and that is logged on the Audacity bug tracker.

You can use the “Format” dropdown to select “FFmpeg compatible files”. This does not “force” Audacity to use FFmpeg, but it tells Audacity to try FFmpeg first, and then you can look in the Audacity log (Help Menu: Diagnostics - Audacity Manual) to see what happened.
See: Importing Audio - Audacity Manual

Basically as far as I know, yes.

I think that in the absence of FFmpeg Mac tries to be “helpful” and use QuickTime - and that no longer works

Which leads to the unhelpful error message reported in this bug:


Just Installed Audacity 2.3.1 and 64-bit libraries from and ffmepg.

When trying to open or import a m4a file, I get the “not compiled with QT support” error.
No error on Audacity launch.

MacOSX 14.4.4
FFMpeg version in Preferences/linrariues : F(55.33.100),C(55.52.102),U(55.66.100)
Selected fame file : /Library/Application Support/audacity/libs/ffmpeg.55.64bit.dylib

I know I could covert the file to mp3 or something else, just wanted to report the problem.

I have the same problem. i Used to be able to open m4a files with Audcity but now I get the cannot import message.J2D

And we’ve fixed that unhelpful error message for the upconming 2.3.2 release.