Once upon a time, the answer was no. Now the answer is ASAP. Never say never we suppose. FL Studio OS X is now in Alpha Testing. This means we have a working native OS X / macOS version but it's under heavy development, but should be in beta sometime 2016 ...
Hey, were working on it, no peeking!
How to use FL Studio on a Mac right now
There are three ways you can run FL Studio right now. Here they are in order of our preference based on current performance:
- Run FL Studio using Boot Camp on your Mac (you will need an official Microsoft Windows OS installer).
-> recommended at this time, everything is working.
- Run the FL Studio OS X Crossover custom wrapped version
-> works OK with FL Studio main plugins, no 3rd party VST plugin support.
- Run the FL Studio native OS X Alpha version
-> for testing only.
NOTES: To try option 2 you will need an Image-Line account, please see how to get one here. For access to option 3, you need to own FL Studio.
History of FL Studio on Macs...
A while back we started testing a FL Studio Mac OS X BETA (Crossover Wrapped) version, with direct installation on Mac OS X. This was promising, but it was still a Windows program, wrapped by CrossOver, running on OS X. The interest in the wrapped beta, and the problems we faced supporting 3rd party VST plugins in it, lead the team to start work on porting our Windows-only VST plugins - Edison, Gross Beat, Harmless, Harmor, Maximus, Ogun, Slicex, Sytrus, Vocodex to OS X native VST format. You can get these plugins here.
The OS X VST plugin testing, was in fact, the stealthy beginnings of FL Studio native OS X compatibility development. These VST plugins use the exact same code-base as FL Studio itself, and if we could get these working to spec on OS X, then FL Studio would likely follow soon after.
Well, the plugin testing progressed nicely, and so the team has turned their attention to FL Studio 12 itself. It's a long and slow process but work is indeed under way. Below are some of the issues we face porting FL Studio to native Mac OS X and explains why this is taking 'so long':
FL Studio is written in Delphi with in-line assembly for much of the DSP (yes hard-core assembly, not for babies). This is one reason why FL Studio and its graphics are so fluid.
Delphi only recently gained the ability to compile to OS X. So while this is great, it's a 1st-generation OS X compiler, it's cranky and sometimes causes problems of its own. But, before this came along, we needed to port well over 2 million lines of code to another language. We never thought that was a good idea, and it's why we never did it before. But, things have changed, so let's call this progress.
FL Studio is tightly bound to the Windows API that takes care of moving, minimizing, maximizing windows, detecting cursor position, drag & drop, opening windows dialogs, clipboard functions, decoding MP3s, ... so a port requires all operating system dependent calls to be isolated & replaced by bi-platform dependent functions. That's a major part of what the team are doing now, and it seems to be going great.
FYI, just getting all this system dependent code from Deckadance (which was created more or less with porting in mind) and replacing it with bi-platform versions took almost 6 months. FL Studio is many times the size of Deckadance, so please be patient.
Will this impact on the development of FL Studio for Windows?
No, the team working on the conversion to OS X is separate from the Windows development team. They talk, but don't share any bodies that we know of, so it's business as usual on the Microsoft side of things. Bill Gates sends his regards BTW.
Why didn't you do this before?
As noted above, before Delphi could compile to OS X, the job would have meant a re-write of over 2 million lines of code into another language (like C#). If we were going to do that, we would probably start over and write a completely new DAW application and the result would not be FL Studio. Even the change to vectorial FL Studio 12 ruffled enough feathers. Since we were, and still are, doing very well with a Windows only version (we get over 30,000 downloads of the demo per day) we decided to wait and see if technology solutions came along. And they did, first OS X was launched (a Unix based system), then Macs changed to Intel based (Win PC) hardware and finally Delphi came to the party with an OS X compiler, so it seems the long wait has paid off.
The FL studio Support Team