Benefits of the Vulkan macOS SDK

Targeting macOS with your Vulkan application? Don’t forget that you can take advantage of several important benefits by using the Vulkan SDK for macOS instead of linking directly to MoltenVK.  Read on for more information.

MoltenVK is a software library that allows Vulkan applications to run on top of Metal on Apple’s macOS and iOS operating system. MoltenVK is the first software component released by the Khronos Vulkan Portability initiative, a project working to have a subset of Vulkan run on platforms that lack native Vulkan drivers, such as Metal. 

Many developers link MoltenVK directly to their applications. Did you know that while linking directly to MoltenVK is a valid solution, there are advantages to using the additional features available in the Vulkan SDK for macOS? See the list of benefits below.

Benefits available in the Vulkan SDK for macOS

Use of the Vulkan SDK for macOS gives a developer access to several tools and utilities that are useful for Vulkan application development.

Click on the links in the list below to learn more about the benefits of the Vulkan loader, validation layers, vkconfig, and the system install script.

  • Use of the Vulkan loader, which manages the proper dispatching of Vulkan functions to the appropriate set of layers and ICDs 
  • Use of the validation layers, which validate correct Vulkan API usage by the application. Supported layers for macOS are the validation layers and the api_dump utility, which allows developers to print API calls, parameters, and values to an identified output stream
  • Use of vkconfig, a graphical application that allows a user to specify which layers will be loaded by Vulkan applications at runtime
  • Use of System Install Script (info found in the Vulkan Getting Started Guide in the Install the SDK section — Alternate method using system paths), which can simplify the installation

Using the Vulkan SDK helps developers to take full advantage of cross-platform compatibility of the Vulkan API with Metal. The iOS operating system is not supported by this Vulkan SDK.

Download the Vulkan SDK

Download the Vulkan SDK for macOS using this link. Detailed information about the SDK can be found on the Vulkan SDK download site. More information about MoltenVK can be found here.

Info about LunarG, Inc.

LunarG’s software engineering experts create software solutions for open source and commercial customers using leading-edge 3D graphics and compute technologies, including Vulkan, OpenXR, SPIR-V, and OpenGL. We have strengths in performance analysis and tuning, runtime and tools development, shader optimizations, driver development, new feature development, and porting engines and applications to Vulkan. Our software engineering team is based in Fort Collins, Colorado. LunarG was founded by software experts who are passionate about 3D graphics.

For more information about LunarG, check out our website.


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