Installing XQuartz and Enabling GLX (OpenGL).

Tags Mac xquartz

XQuartz is the Mac software package to display X11 graphical applications from remote servers, primarily Unix/Linux.  Many graphical applications use a display library called OpenGL, which is supported by XQuartz but not enabled by default.  It is not exposed to the preferences menu, and must be enabled by the defaults tool.  It is used particularly by chemistry and GIS applications.


  • Download and install XQuartz from This takes a few minutes to complete.
  • Log out and back in to your Mac (or reboot)
  • Open Terminal (Applications/Utilities/ and paste this complete line in and then press RETURN. This enables GLX​​​​​.
  • If using XQuartz 2.8 or later (needed on MacOS 10.15 and later, and all M1-chip Macs)
defaults write org.xquartz.X11 enable_iglx -bool true


  • If using XQuartz 2.7 or earlier
defaults write org.macosforge.xquartz.X11 enable_iglx -bool true


  • If you already have XQuartz installed, quit X11 if it is running (check the dock), run the defaults tool as above, and the change will take effect when you start  any X11 program (XQuartz is implicitly started).


Upgrading 2.7.x to 2.8.x

If you're upgrading from 2.7.x to 2.8.x, we have found it is best to remove the 2.7.x configuration files by running the following:

cd ~/Library
rm -rf Caches/org.macosforge.xquartz.X11
rm -rf Logs/X11/
rm -f Preferences/org.macosforge.xquartz.X11.plist


Article ID: 89669
Fri 10/18/19 12:47 PM
Mon 10/17/22 5:16 PM