Building Android KitKat on OS X Mavericks

Posted: April 12, 2014 in android

I run OSX on my laptop. (gasp!) I ssh into my various linux boxes to work on various projects. As I’m doing a little work with Renderscript and my sqlite acceleration project I thought it would be handy to build Android on my OS X laptop. Turns out it’s not entirely difficult and required just one fix to the code.


There are several projects to bring various linux/unix tools onto OSX. I use MacPorts. Brew is probably another good option. Either way this gives us a foundation of tools that the android build system is going to need.

The install instructions offer an extra easy pkg option.

Next we need to install some software.

sudo port install coreutils findutils pngcrush gsed gnupg


Xcode is of course Apple’s development environment for OSX and iOS. You need it, and it can be installed directly out of the App Store.


Make sure you have java installed.

java -version
java version "1.6.0_65"

If you don’t, you’ll get a popup dialog that will ask if you want to install it. Do!


Make sure you have python installed. If I recall correctly that’s a default install with OSX Mavericks.  There is an option to install via ports.

sudo port install python


Pull down repo.

curl > ~/bin/repo

Make sure you add your ~/bin to your PATH

export PATH="$PATH:~/bin"

Android SDK tools

You need to download the android sdk tools built for the Mac. Download these from here. Extract. At this point I created an android directory and put the tools inside of it.

mkdir -p ~/android
mv <whereever>/android-sdk  ~/android

Filesystem setup

OSX for all it’s joys doesn’t deal with case differences in it’s file system unless you specifically created the file system to do so. The default doesn’t. It’s not 8.3, but it’s still 1990s lame. So you’ll need to create a file system for the Android source code to live in.

Make sure you have the space in your file system. I created a 100 gig file system. I wouldn’t go below 50. I also put this onto my desktop. Makes it easy to double click later to mount it. Feel free to mount it where it works best for you. However remember this location!

hdiutil create -type SPARSE -fs "Case-sensitive Journaled HFS+" -size 100g -volname "android" -attach ~/Desktop/Android

Android source code

Download as you normally would. (note the cd to the location of where you just attached the new HFS case sensitive file system.

cd ~/Desktop/Android
git clone
git branch -r   // this will show you all the branch options. I was after the latest.
repo init -u git://  -b android-4.4_r1.2
repo sync

Environment Setup

We need to setup a few environment variables. First add the android sdk tools to your path

export PATH=~/android/android-sdk/sdk/platform-tools:$PATH
export LC_CTYPE=C
export LANG=C

The One Fix

So in there is a slight issue where it doesn’t handle that situation where one of the tool parameters isn’t available. So we need to defensively work around it. (yeah yeah I should just post the patch)

In external/chromium_org/base/android/jni_generator/

At the top of the file (around line 20) add

import platform

Then lower down add the following if to check for Darwin so that -fpreprocessed isn’t passed:

531   def _RemoveComments(self, contents):
532     # We need to support both inline and block comments, and we need to handle
533     # strings that contain '//' or '/*'. Rather than trying to do all that with
534     # regexps, we just pipe the contents through the C preprocessor. We tell cpp
535     # the file has already been preprocessed, so it just removes comments and
536     # doesn't try to parse #include, #pragma etc.
537     #
538     # TODO(husky): This is a bit hacky. It would be cleaner to use a real Java
539     # parser. Maybe we could ditch JNIFromJavaSource and just always use
540     # JNIFromJavaP; or maybe we could rewrite this script in Java and use APT.
541     #
542     system = platform.system()
543     if system == 'Darwin':
544       cpp_args = ['cpp']
545     else:
546       cpp_args = ['cpp', '-fpreprocessed']
547     p = subprocess.Popen(args=cpp_args,
548                          stdin=subprocess.PIPE,
549                          stdout=subprocess.PIPE,
550                          stderr=subprocess.PIPE)
551     stdout, _ = p.communicate(contents)

Ready To Build

That’s it. Least I hope I captured everything I had to do. Build away.

  1. Prakash Joshi says:

    Hi Tom,

    I am trying to build Android source on Mac OS X Maverick, I have XCode 5.1.1 with Command Line Developer Tools 5.1

    I followed all the instruction from

    I tried arm and x86 both 32 and 64 bit build, but every time end up with errors.

    1. aosp_arm-eng
    2. aosp_arm64-eng
    3. aosp_mips-eng
    4. aosp_mips64-eng
    5. aosp_x86-eng
    6. aosp_x86_64-eng


    -read_only_relocs cannot be used with x86_64

    libcompiler_rt.dylib’, file was built for unsupported file format ( 0xce 0xfa 0xed 0xfe 0x 7 0x 0 0x 0 0x 0 0x 3 0x 0 0x 0 0x 0 0x 6 0x 0 0x 0 0x 0 ) which is not the architecture being linked (x86_64): out/host/darwin-x86/obj/lib/libcompiler_rt.dylib for architecture x86_64
    collect2: ld returned 1 exit status

    Please help to resolve this error.

  2. tgallfoo says:

    Hi Prakash,

    That looks like something isn’t quite right with your toolchain/setup. Are you using MacPorts, Brew or something else?

    I’m on XCode 5.1 (5B130a)

    I haven’t built android for x86, just for ARM.

    • Matthew Summers says:

      I’m trying to build Android 5.0 on OS X Yosemite and am able to compile it with a bunch of warnings but when I try to run the emulator, I get the following error:

      dyld: Symbol not found: _code_profile_dirname
      Referenced from: /Volumes/android/WORKING_DIRECTORY/prebuilts/android-emulator/darwin-x86_64/emulator64-arm
      Expected in: flat namespace
      in /Volumes/android/WORKING_DIRECTORY/prebuilts/android-emulator/darwin-x86_64/emulator64-arm
      Trace/BPT trap: 5

      I followed the instructions at to configure my build environment and execute the build.

      Any suggestions?

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