Vulkan Applications Enabled on Apple Platforms

Valve, LunarG, and The Brenwill Workshop join forces with Khronos to release open source SDKs and runtime libraries; Khronos Portability Initiative defines subset of Vulkan 1.0 portable to macOS and iOS

February 26, 2018 – Beaverton, OR  – The Khronos Group, an open consortium of leading hardware and software companies creating advanced acceleration standards, announces that the Vulkan® Working Group’s Portability Initiative has been working with Khronos members Valve, LunarG, and The Brenwill Workshop to enable Vulkan applications to be ported to Apple platforms. The Vulkan Portability resource page links to a collection of free and open source set of tools, SDKs, and runtime libraries to enable Vulkan development on macOS and deployment on macOS and iOS platforms. Valve is extending Dota 2 using the Vulkan tools on macOS to achieve significantly higher performance than native OpenGL® drivers. Vulkan support for Dota 2 on macOS will be released in the coming months as a free update.

“We have been running substantial production loads through the Vulkan tools on Mac, including Dota 2 which is now running faster than the native OpenGL version,” said Pierre-Loup Griffais at Valve. “These efforts are aimed toward reducing development and porting costs for any developer supporting multiple platforms.”

The Khronos Vulkan Portability Initiative continues to refine and define a universally portable subset of Vulkan 1.0 that can be run at native performance levels over Metal and DirectX 12 drivers. Released into open source today is the MoltenVK library from The Brenwill Workshop, which translates calls within the Vulkan portable subset to underlying Metal calls on macOS and iOS. MoltenVK uses the open source SPIRV-Cross cross-compiler to translate Vulkan shaders into underlying native code formats. MoltenVK is being made freely available for all developers, with no fees or royalties needed to ship commercial applications.

“With MoltenVK, we've worked hard to bring a consistent Vulkan-based API to macOS and iOS while maintaining the performance improvements required by modern game developers," said Bill Hollings, President of The Brenwill Workshop.

Also available today is the open source LunarG Vulkan SDK for macOS on LunarXchange, which enables developers to build, run, and debug their Vulkan applications on the Apple Mac platform. The LunarG SDK for macOS provides loader and validation layers, which allows programmers to check their code for correct API usage. LunarG will continue to evolve the macOS SDK to add additional tools and features.

“Running Vulkan applications on Apple platforms has been the number one request from developers and today’s release of the MoltenVK runtime and LunarG macOS SDK brings that capability to life,” said Neil Trevett, VP NVIDIA and Khronos Group President. “Developers are invited to download the open source Vulkan Portability tools today and provide feedback via the Vulkan Portability Feedback Issue. The Vulkan Portability Initiative will continue to strengthen the infrastructure and tooling around bringing Vulkan capabilities to multiple Metal and DX12 platforms - our long-term goal is to enable portable Vulkan code to be executed on any platform that developers care about.”

About the Khronos Group

The Khronos Group is an industry consortium creating open standards to enable the deployment and acceleration of parallel computing, graphics, augmented and virtual reality, vision and neural networks on a wide variety of platforms and devices. Khronos standards include Vulkan®, OpenGL®, OpenGL® ES, OpenGL® SC, WebGL™, SPIR-V™, OpenCL™, SYCL™, OpenVX™, NNEF™, COLLADA™, OpenXR™ and glTF™. Khronos members are enabled to contribute to the development of Khronos specifications, are empowered to vote at various stages before public deployment, and are able to accelerate the delivery of their cutting-edge accelerated platforms and applications through early access to specification drafts and conformance tests.


Vulkan is a registered trademark of The Khronos Group. Khronos, OpenXR, DevU, SPIR, SPIR-V, SYCL, WebGL, WebCL, COLLADA, OpenKODE, OpenVG, OpenVX, EGL, glTF, OpenKCAM, StreamInput, OpenWF, OpenSL ES, NNEF and OpenMAX are trademarks of the Khronos Group Inc. OpenCL is a trademark of Apple Inc. and OpenGL is a registered trademark and the OpenGL ES and OpenGL SC logos are trademarks of Hewlett Packard Enterprise used under license by Khronos. All other product names, trademarks, and/or company names are used solely for identification and belong to their respective owners.