I would like to know the best free c++ IDEs for MacOS Catalina. I would not like the limited xcode for c++. So please anything else.

Any help appreciated

  • Try Code::Blocks, I am not a Mac user and there are not many many developers for that OS, but the few ones say it should work.
    – convert
    Jan 13, 2022 at 11:55

1 Answer 1


For some reason my previous answer was deleted by Nicolas Raul, a moderator. No information as to why he would do that. He did asked for a more detailed answer on 01/13/22 in the comments, but then deleted my answer on 01/14 (??). Again, no explanation as to why.

Maybe he deleted it because he didn't like that I included JetBrains, because it's not free. However, JetBrains makes great IDE's for most languages, including C++. Specifically, their C++ IDE is called CLion but IntelliJ is their flagship product that can be used for nearly any language with the addition of plugins, most of which are free. PLUS, JetBrains offers free licenses for students, teachers, and opensource developers. They also offer a 50% off program for non-profits, startups, and educational organizations.

So, to answer Nicolas Raul's request, here's some more detailed info about the IDEs I listed, regarding C++

Eclipse: Totally free IDE. It includes plugins for C and C++, cross build plug-ins for Arm and RISC processors, debug plug-ins, compiler, build features, testing support, terminal, support for templates, and more.

NEtBeans: Granted, NetBeans was created originally for Java, it does support C++. It's all about configuration. You can build, run, and debug your project on the local host or on a remote LINUX/UNIX OS. If you have NetBeans, or need to use it for some reason, it can be done. And, NetBeans is maintained by the Apache foundation so you know it's in good hands. (here's a YouTube video to get you started with C++ configuration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DamuE8TM3xo)

Atom: It's a free text editor/IDE that can be used for most popular languages. Support for C++ is available through the package manager, configuring plugins, and your OS. On the Mac you need XCode developer tools and gpp-compiler. Atom supports code hinting, debugging, autocomplete, and more. Here's a Youtube video to get you started with Atom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkEVZ8LCtvg.

CodeBlocks: It's cross-platform, like most of those on this list (works on Windows, macOS, and Linux). It has all the basic features you want in an IDE; debugging, compiling, auto completion, profiling, code coverage, code analysis, and plugins that can enhance the dev environment.I think it's built with C++.

Visual Studio Code: *Note: I originally put a link for Visual Studio. I meant to add Visual Studio Code which is Microsoft's free IDE. And it's also available on Mac and Linus OS'es. C++ is supported with extensions with all the necessary IDE features--compiler, code hinting, debugging, deployment, etc. VSCode is a really good option for a lot of languages. Microsoft has done a good job with this IDE.

Since I posted last I found a few more free options. CodeLite, C++Builder, QT Creator, and of course the ubiquitous Vim (which can be configured for most any language). I'm not going to give details about these IDE/editors because I trust that StackExchange users know how to use Google and can do their own evaluation of IDEs.

I realize the details are super basic but every IDE basically offers the same features. Just in different interfaces. If you Googled C++ and the IDE name you will find more info. I recommend you install a few and try them out. Everyone has different opinions about what they want from an IDE. so, seriously, take the time to evaluate a few. You won't regret the time you spend to find the one you like.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.