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Install FFmpeg on Mac (3 Easy Solutions!)

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Management of multimedia data has become increasingly important in this digital world. FFmpeg is a free software initiative that creates tools and libraries for processing and modifying multimedia data. This makes it an important tool for people who deal with any form of multimedia.

FFmpeg can help handle transcoding, video and picture processing, packaging, streaming, and playing. Being a free and open-source program, it provides limited resources. Nevertheless, it is one of the most widely used videos and image processing programs and is utilized by several businesses in numerous industries.

FFmpeg is available across all operating systems and is used in applications like the VideoLAN Client (VLC). The primary reasons one might wish to install FFmpeg boil down to the wide variety of software uses. The major challenges to installing it are a lack of familiarity with MAC OS, the installation process, and a lack of sufficient storage space.

This article will show the step-by-step process of installing FFmpeg on your MacBook laptop. 

Why Can’t I Install FFmpeg?

Install FFmpeg Mac (3 Easy Solutions!) - Why Can't I Install FFmpeg

FFmpeg is a tool that can be used for numerous purposes. This tool is also constantly updated with features to simplify multimedia processing. Ideally, there is no reason why you should not be able to. However, some of the numerous challenges and reasons for installing it include:

  1. To Support Video Packaging: FFmpeg fully supports HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) and MPEG-DASH packaging for your videos for Over-the-top system providers and developers. Additionally, it may be set up to stream the videos using Real-Time Messaging Protocol or additional protocols.
  1. Lack of familiarity with the process: As the Ffmpeg installation process differs from some other software, users may be unable to install it due to a lack of familiarity.
  1. For Video Processing: With a library that provides an interface for codes like JPEG, AVS+, VP8 (WebM), and Theora (Ogg Vorbis), FFmpeg is critical to every aspect of multimedia processing. These codes can be used to compress, decode or transcode videos. FFmpeg can be employed in video processing tasks like denoising, blurring, and extraction of frames, among others.
  1. Lack of sufficient storage: Though Ffmpeg does not take a massive amount of space, the fact remains that if you do not have enough space, you will not be able to install it.
  1. Support for Audio and Video Containers: FFmpeg has significant support for containers and may be used to read, write, and convert between containers for various formats, including avi, mp4, and mp3, to mention a few.
  1. Lack of familiarity with MAC OS: Users without pre-existing knowledge of installing other programs on MAC are unlikely to be able to know how to install FFmpeg.
  1. ffplay: ffplay, a command-line tool, can be used to play videos without the need for complicated video-playing software. This is a crucial add-on feature in the FFmpeg program.

How Do I Install FFmpeg On Mac?

There are three techniques for the easy installation of FFmpeg on your MacBook.

1) Method #1 – Using Homebrew

HomeBrew is an easy way to install FFmpeg on your MacBook. Homebrew is a package manager which uses a text-based user interface. It makes the installation, removal, upgrade, and management of software packages on an operating system possible. The navigation path is

Homebrew>Terminal> Run command: /bin/bash -c “$(curl –fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/HEAD/install.sh)”>Run command: echo ‘eval “$(/opt/homebrew/bin/brew shelling)”‘ >> ~/.zprofile>Run command: brew install FFmpeg

 The steps involved in installing FFmpeg with brew are:

  • You need to install Homebrew first.
Install FFmpeg Mac (3 Easy Solutions!) - Using Homebrew-Method#1

  • To do this, you will need to run a command using Terminal, which allows you to run commands on a computer.

There are two easy ways to open Terminal on a MacBook: They are:

A. Using Spotlight is the easiest way to open it. First, press the Command + Space Bar keys on your keyboard, or you can press F4. Then type “Terminal” in the search bar provided. You should see Terminal in the Spotlight search list. Proceed to click it to open the Terminal app.

B. The second method is through the use of the Finder app. Open the Finder app on your MacBook. Then select Applications which you will see on your left side. A sub-menu should pop up where you will see Utilities after scrolling down. Click on Utilities, after which another sub-menu will show up, from which you can click on Terminal.

  • After opening the Terminal, you can install Homebrew by running the command below in Terminal:

/bin/bash -c “$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/HEAD/install.sh)”

Using Homebrew - installation in mac terminal homebrew
  • After installing Homebrew, you must make it available within the Terminal. Do this by running the command below:

echo ‘eval “$(/opt/homebrew/bin/brew shelling)”‘ >> ~/.zprofile

  • Now you can easily install FFmpeg by running the command below in Terminal:

brew install FFmpeg

2) Method #2 – Using MacPorts

Install FFmpeg Mac (3 Easy Solutions!) - Using MacPorts-Method#2
MacPorts is a package manager that uses a text-based user interface. To install FFmpeg, you can run the command sudo port install ffmpeg.

MacPorts is a package manager which uses a text-based user interface, just like Homebrew. The navigation path is Install MacPorts>Run the command:Sudo port install FFmpeg.

The steps involved in installing FFmpeg with MacPorts are:

  • You need to install MacPorts first. The easiest way to do this is to use the macOS package installer after downloading the MacPorts program from Github.

  • After installation, run the command below:

sudo port install FFmpeg

3) Method #3 – Manual Installation

This is the longest method of installation. The navigation process is: Download Ffmpeg>Extract Ffmpeg>Create FFmpeg file> audio-orchestrator-FFmpeg folder> create bin folder>put file in bin folder> System Preferences> Security and Privacy> General> Open Anyway>Ffmpeg file

 The process includes:

  • You download FFmpeg. To do this, go to https://ffmpeg.org/download.html, after which you can click on the Apple logo in the section called “Get packages & executable files” section.
Install FFmpeg Mac (3 Easy Solutions!) - Manual Installation-Method#3

  • Proceed to click the “Static builds for macOS 64-bit” option. This brings two more options for downloading FFmpeg. Pick the option with the shorter filename and download it as a ZIP file.
Install FFmpeg Mac (3 Easy Solutions!) - Manual Installation-Static builds for macOS 64-bit-Method#3
  • Sometimes, a popup appears after clicking on the download link. You can click on save if this happens.
  • After completing the download, go to your Downloads folder, and double-click the FFmpeg zip file. It will be extracted using the Archive Utility and create an FFmpeg file that can be loaded to your MacBook.
  • You will move the downloaded file to an appropriate location for use. To do this, go to your home folder, where you will click on the Downloads folder.
  • You will proceed to create an audio-orchestrator-FFmpeg folder in your home folder.
  • In the audio-orchestrator-FFmpeg folder, you will go on to create a bin folder where you’ll move the FFmpeg file to, from Downloads.
  • The final step is to authorize FFmpeg. To do this, double-click the FFmpeg file.
  • An error message should pop up. However, click on OK.
  • Afterward, go to System Preferences, after which you’ll go to Security and Privacy, then click on the button named General.
  • Critically looking at the bottom of the window, you will see a message that says that FFmpeg was blocked. You will click on Open Anyway.

You can now go back to double-click on the FFmpeg file, after which a Terminal window should open. Keep it open until you get a notification indicating that you can close the Terminal.

Final Thoughts

Your video processing and compression toolkit should include FFmpeg. You can also contribute to the resources on FFmpeg as it is open-source. Using Homebrew to install it on your MacBook is recommended as the easiest and fastest possible means.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I confirm if Homebrew is installed on my MacBook?

• To confirm if Homebrew is installed on my MacBook, open Terminal as indicated above and type in the command: brew help.
• If you get a response, the Homebrew is installed. However, if you get a response like “command not found,” then it is not installed.

How do I update the FFmpeg program on my MacBook?

The process to update your FFmpeg program is as follows:

1. Open a Terminal window as indicated above.
2. Confirm the version of FFmpeg you have by using the command: FFmpeg -version. You type it in the Terminal Window and click Enter.
3. To update, type the command: brew update && brew upgrade FFmpeg. From this command, you will see that Homebrew is the program used for the upgrade. As indicated above, installing and upgrading your FFmpeg program is an easier method.
4. If a response of command not found is given, then you do not have FFmpeg installed.

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Pigtou Editorial Team

A group of tech enthusiasts who find pleasure in troubleshooting and resolving various issues. When we're not engaged in writing, we typically enjoy playing table football or spending time with our office dog.
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