Imagination PowerVR SDK Blog

OpenGL ES 3.0 Emulator for Mac OS X



Does the PowerVR SDK v3.0r2 support OpenGL ES 3.0 on Mac OS X? I tried to install it on my system and although I selected API “OpenGL ES 3.0” during the installation none of the OpenGL ES 3.0 examples were installed.


Hi Dan,

We only support OpenGL ES 3.0 emulation on Windows and Linux. The reason for this is that current OSX OpenGL drivers do not match our minimum required version (OpenGL 3.3).

We will update the SDK installer in a future release to give more information about what will (and what won’t) be downloaded based on your selection.





Is mac support still limited to ES 2.0? I have Open GL 3.3 support.

I’m using SDK v3.3 and trying to create a ES 3 context, but eglChooseConfig returns no configs.

If ES 3.0+ support is limited to Windows and Linux, you might consider making that clearer in the docs.




Hi Duncan,

OpenGL ES 3.0 & 3.1 support is still exclusive to Windows and Linux. OS X support is trickier as Apple do not implement OpenGL compatibility profiles. We’re investigating the feasibility of supporting OpenGL ES 3.x OS X emulation in a future release.

I’ve filed a bug report (BRN48287) for the documentation to be reviewed to ensure OpenGL ES 3.x PVRVFrame support is clarified. Are there particular documents you’re referring to?




Thanks for your response.

It would really be helpful to have OS X supported, but it sounds like it won’t happen any time soon. TBH, I’m kind of surprised more people haven’t raised it. Given the number of iOS & Android studios there must be, I’d expect iOS would be a primary development platform for a lot of people.

I don’t think VMWare or Parallels support a high enough OpenGL version, so my only option is to boot natively into Windows or Linux, but that can be a bit of a break in the workflow :slight_smile:

I can’t complain about the lack of support. I don’t know of another emulator that even claims to support ES 3.1 (and for free). (If you know of one I’d be very grateful to hear).

A heads up in the docs would have saved me some time and energy, though. The SDK announcement page seems like a good place to start:

It says SDK v3.3 supports GL ES 3.1 emulation, and the only mention of Windows / OS X / Linux say that the SDK supports all of them. I’d also hope to see something in the release notes:

The other document I looked at was the PVRFrame User Manual in the SDK. That only lists the OpenGL requirements for emulating the various GL ES versions. It does describe the platform differences, but says that “libGLESv2.dylib” is the “PVRVFrame driver file for OpenGL ES 2.0 and higher”.

That User Guide says ES 3.0 emulation requires OpenGL 3.3, but doesn’t mention requirements for ES 3.1 emulation. Having OpenGL 3.3, I assumed I’d at least be able to get an ES 3.0 context up and running.




Hi Duncan,

Thanks for the info regarding the docs. We’ll be sure to get those holes fixed.

I don’t want to give any dates or promises but OSX support for ES 3.0 is something we’ve been investigating recently and might arrive sooner than you think. If not in the next SDK release then the one after seems likely.

Sadly ES 3.1 support will continue to be non-existent for a while as it depends on a version of OpenGL higher than what OSX currently supports. However once OSX supports at least OpenGL 4.3, ES 3.1 emulation should work automatically. Who knows when that will be though :slight_smile: