Can't install FFmpeg library for Audacity 3.2.1


I’m running Audacity 3.2.1 on OSx 10.14.6.

After having downloaded and installed it there is no file ffmpeg.64bit.dylib on the path /Library/Application Support/audacity/libs, more in general the file can’t be found on the whole Mac

Thanks in advance for your help.

Does Audacity automatically find the libraries?

You won’t see a file with the name "ffmpeg.64bit.dylib " but you might find a file named “libavcodec.59.dylib”.

– Bill

yes I can find “libavcodec.59.dylib” which is an alias, so if I select it I see that the position of the file becomes
“/Library/Application Support/audacity/libs/libavcodec.59.18.100.dylib” but if I click “ok” the window still says “Library FFmpeg not found” and can’t still open, for instance, m4a files.

Windows guy, and I see this unanswered post sitting here… Fortunately, I do not have to deal with this. :wink: The existing documentation/naming conventions is extremely confusing, seemingly contradictory and certainly not helpful.

When I go to the Audacity site here: Installing FFmpeg for Mac, it says to left-click, not right-click, although when I right-click to open in a new tab or window so I can keep the instructions on the page and that seems to work - so why does it say this? So I get to the Buanzo site and click over all of the lame stuff, which is apparently obsolete.

I have a choice of three downloads:

  • FFmpeg_for_Audacity_3.2_on_macOS.pkg for Audacity, I guess, 3.2.0, 3.2.1, etc., and which contains the libav… stuff
  • ffmpeg_64bit_osx.pkg for Audacity, I guess, 2.3.1 through 3.1.3, etc., and which contains the ffmpeg…dylibs
  •, which is a ZIP file, otherwise similar to the latter PKG file.

then Buanzo asks me to go to an even different Audacity page here: Installing and updating Audacity on Mac - Installing the FFmpeg Import/Export Library on Mac so if I wasn’t pulling my hair out before, I certainly am now. I don’t want two different sets of instructions - I just want one that works! (Oh, well that takes me back to the page I was on - but why the wild goose chase?)

OK, so now I can see the problem. The remaining steps of the installation show how to install the .dylibs for 3.1.3 and before, is that right?, not for 3.2.1.

So it just looks like someone needs to fix up the documentation and we need some MacOS experts in here to fix this up! :bulb:

I changed that long ago on the Windows download FFmpeg page removing the advice about not left-clicking - but somehow I forgot to do that for the Mac download FFmpeg page. I have fixed that for the upcoming 3.2.2 Manual.

BUT - note that these pages in the Manual are now officially superseded by the new GitBook documentation that Muse have provided.
Please see:

Since Muse’s plan is ultimately to deprecate the Manual, removing it in favor of the GitBook support site I think that rather than struggling to keep the instructions in the Manual up to date I may just link from the Manual to that GitBook page. And then Muse is responsible for maintaining that.

If the Muse instructions on that GitBook page are faulty or erroneous then you would need to log that as a bug on Muse’s GitHub Issue tracker:

At the moment the Audacity app Libraries preferences dialog links to the manual’s pages for FFmpeg download - I will shortly be logging a GitHub issue to get Muse to switch that to go direct to their GitBook page.

Thanks jademan and maurizio for bringing my attention to this - much appreciated :slight_smile: :sunglasses:



See: FFmpeg Download link from Libraries prefs should link to the GitBook page #3920


OK, so as Peter has pointed out, above, we have some new documentation to follow:, my bad for not having found this earlier. Be sure to click on the macOS instructions, if it isn’t already selected. Post back if you still can’t get it to work. :smiley:

Thanks Peter. :smiley:

So Peter, I can find the support page you refer to by going to the Audacity main web page, selecting Help > Help Center > then selecting the FFmpeg Installing FFmpeg how-to tutorial below.

But why is it that when I go to the main page, but select Help > Help Center > Manual > ffmpeg import/export > Mac > Installing FFmpeg for Mac, that I am directed to the now obsolete documentation with no option to locate the correct instructions?

IMO it’s not actually very well advertised, the access to the GitBook. You can get there from the Audacity Website or even the manual (I don’t know if the Discord support app/site as I don’t subscribe there, I haven’t the time to do so).

And note that the app (still) links to the Manual, but there is no similar link in Audacity’s Help for the GitBook Audacity Support. I may write an enhancement request for that.

That’s because the Manual that the Muse GitBook site points at is the released Manual for 3.2.1 - even though it mistakenly declares itself to be 3.3 (that’s a mistake that will be fixed for the upcoming 3.2.2).

The changes I made yesterday were to the alpha Manual, the Manual for the upcoming 3.2.2 - so you will not see the changes until the next release is made. In theory now that Muse have decided to remove the facility to have a local Manual with (from 3.2.1) the Manual basically being online only it should, in theory, be possible to update the “released” Manual for the current release - but there are no tools provided for that.

It looks to me, from examining the updated Audacity website on the Help page:
Help page.png
that Muse may be planning to keep a slimmed down manual as a reference book for ever feature, commands, prefs, effects etc. - whilst using the GitBook Audacity Support site as a how-to with tutorial like instructions on how to actually use Audacity. Over time material is likely to be moved from the how-to sections of the manual over to GitHub. That has already happened with some material (in some cases copied word-for-word). The material on FFmpeg installation is an example of this, but there are other tutorials that have been coped into the GitBook, fore example: “Splitting a recording into separate tracks”.

I did have some discussions with Muse a couple of weeks ago (Leo and gguzman) along these lines where my opinion was that it was important to retain at least a detailed reference Manual
a) for users - as some of the prefs, commands and effects can be quite subtle in their usage
b) to effectively act as a spec. for Audacity. Audacity, in the past at least, has never AFAIK had documented and filed written functional specs.
And I did volunteer to help maintaining such a pure reference work on an ongoing basis in my spare time.
BTW I retain the privileges (for now at least) of editor status on the Manual (and Wiki) so I can curate those, but I have not subscribed to Muse’s Gitbook, so the content of that is down to them.

I am somewhat surprised that on the Audacity Website > Help page they have placed the manual above the Audacity Support GitBook.


Thanks, Peter. I guess what I hear you are saying is that the page currently at cannot be changed until the next release. :question:

They do that so that you can walk around with a swollen head for a couple of months before the next release when they change it to what they really want. :smiley:

That’s exactly what I am saying. :nerd:

BTW, I have just added a further enhancement request for an in-app link to the Gitbook:
Help menu to have an entry to link to GitBook Audacity Support #3922

Whether Muse choose to do that or not is up to them …


I prefix many a Google search with “audacity manual”. Of course you and Steve have that seared into your headss - I mean the manual, not the search. :smiley:

unless I have lost something in the various messages I still can’t find a working solution.
I understand some documentation has been improved and updated, but in any case it seems to me that according to the “Recommended installer” I have to download “FFmpeg_for_Audacity_3.2_on_macOS.pkg” from, install it and so on.
Im this case, I just tried again but after the installation in the path “/Library/Application Support/audacity/libs/” there is no file ffmpeg.59.64bit.dylib.
I have just noticed that in that path there are 6 files with date/time that refer to the last installation, if I open one (please see the one below) I see errors of the kind “cannot execute binary file”.
Maybe is this the reason why something goes wrong?
Thanks a lot for your help.


**** file libavcodec.59.dylib (alias) *****
Last login: Sun Nov 13 22:47:55 on ttys000
/Library/Application\ Support/audacity/libs/libavcodec.59.18.100.dylib ; exit;
MacBook-Air-di-Maurizio-3:~ mau$ /Library/Application\ Support/audacity/libs/libavcodec.59.18.100.dylib ; exit;
-bash: /Library/Application Support/audacity/libs/libavcodec.59.18.100.dylib: cannot execute binary file
Saving session…
…copying shared history…
…saving history…truncating history files…

[Processo completato]

What Mac are you using? Is it Intel or M1?

It appears that the right files are in the right place.

What happens when you go to Libraries Preferences, click the “Locate” button then navigate to the folder where the libraries are installed?

– Bill

Schermata 2022-11-14 alle 10.27.14.png
I am using an Intel based Mac.
If I go to library preferences and I click on locate I get this window.

Sorry: this is the window that opens if I click “locate”
Schermata 2022-11-14 alle 13.25.45.png

Something appears to be wrong here. I cleared my “libs” folder, and downloaded and ran the recommended FFmpeg installer. When I started Audacity it automatically detected FFmpeg.

In the “libs” window, can you click on one of the “.dylib” files to select it? Does the “Open” button become active?

If not, click the “Show Options” button at the lower left of the window. Then in the “File type:” drop-down menu, select “All files”.

– Bill

Hi Bill,
firstly thanks a lot for your help.

Just to be sure, I cleared my lib folder too and re-installed with the proper installer.
The files that now are present in the folder are the same you posted, but they were the same also before my re-installation.
Running again Audacity did not lead to the automatic detection of the FFmpeg library.

The option was already set to “all files” and yes, every dylib I select (I have 9, like you) enables the “open” button. Unfortunately if I click OK, for all the files, I always get the message that the required library was not found.

Let’s completely reset the Audacity preferences.

See the instructions here. Then start Audacity.

– Bill

I have deleted all the files in the ~/Library/Application Support/audacity dir and then resterted Audacity but still I am in the same situation…

I have noticed that in the same path, after you close Audacity, a file called lastlog.txt is created.
Please find below the contents of it, it is clearly related to problems about loading the libraries we are talking about.
I hope this can help.

Thanks again.


=============== LASTLOG.TXT
10:45:38: Audacity 3.2.1
10:45:38: sqlite3 message: (1) no such table: project in “SELECT 1 FROM project LIMIT 1;”
10:45:43: Error: dlopen(/Library/Application Support/audacity/libs/libavformat.59.dylib, 2): no suitable image found. Did find:
/Library/Application Support/audacity/libs/libavformat.59.dylib: cannot load ‘libavformat.59.dylib’ (load command 0x80000034 is unknown)
/Library/Application Support/audacity/libs/libavformat.59.16.100.dylib: cannot load ‘libavformat.59.16.100.dylib’ (load command 0x80000034 is unknown)
10:45:43: Error: dlopen(libavformat.59.dylib, 2): image not found
10:45:43: Error: dlopen(ffmpeg.59.64bit.dylib, 2): image not found
10:45:43: Error: dlopen(libavformat.58.dylib, 2): image not found
10:45:43: Error: dlopen(ffmpeg.58.64bit.dylib, 2): image not found
10:45:43: Error: dlopen(libavformat.57.dylib, 2): image not found
10:45:43: Error: dlopen(ffmpeg.57.64bit.dylib, 2): image not found
10:45:43: Error: dlopen(libavformat.55.dylib, 2): image not found
10:45:43: Error: dlopen(ffmpeg.55.64bit.dylib, 2): image not found

Hmm, it appears that the latest FFmpeg build from the Buanzo website doesn’t support macOS 10.14.

Judging by the OS version it seems that you have Intel Mac, so “ffmpeg_64bit_osx.pkg” should work just fine. Alternatively, if you have HomeBrew installed, you can use brew install ffmpeg. Audacity should pick libraries automatically.