Top 10 Best C++ IDEs for MAC

We’re pretty sure you’ve heard about C and C++ as it’s one of the more popular programming languages. In today’s digital age, everyday life would come to a halt without programming resources.

Virtually everything around us requires programming, from smartphones to music devices to your car’s GPS tracker.

Why is programming necessary? It helps programmers communicate with computers in their language. Think of programming languages as a language that you use to communicate with computers.

And if you’ve been around computers, you’ll be aware that there are several programming languages, each serving different purposes.

One of the universally used languages happens to be “C” programming, and it’s one of the oldest and most essential options to choose from.

While programming goes back to the 1950s, with the earliest programming languages being Fortran and Cobol, “C” programming was invented in the early 1970s and gained prominence shortly afterward.

The C language is a building block of many other programming languages, and that’s why after all these years, it still occupies an essential place in the world of programming.

In contrast, C++ has more features while retaining the essential elements of C. Both versions are from the same family and share the same syntax and code structure.

Many programmers refer to C as a subset of C++, and both are equally important for coders and developers.

Since we’ve talked plenty about C and C++, it’s time we spoke about IDEs. These are little toolkits that help improve the productivity of programmers and developers. Think of them as training wheels for developers!

What Are IDEs?

IDE stands for Integrated Development Environment. It is an application or software that assists programming and development by providing all the resources that develop software.

It reduces the time needed for programming and eases the programmer’s job by streamlining the setup and providing tools to speed up the process.

IDE can be broken down into three essential parts: the source code editor, the build automation tool, and the debugger.

The source code editor is the tool where programmers write code, while the build automation tool helps compile the code, and lastly, the debugger tool checks for any bugs or errors in the code before running it.

That is not all, though! IDE comes with additional features alongside these three key elements. These are object and data modeling, source code library, and unit testing tools to expedite the programmer’s job.

Why Are IDEs Important And Can’t We Do Without Them?

You can, if you’d like, but it will make your job a lot harder. In the past, developers would have to put in considerable effort to develop a simple application since software development is a complicated process.

It entails coding, compiling, testing, debugging, and deployment. Each phase of development would require installing a different tool, and it was a needlessly stressful process to get everything into one place coherently.

Here’s where IDE came in and made programming and development a whole lot easier!

They combined all these packages into one environment, hence the name Integrated Development Environment. It was made to help software developers save time and access everything from one stop.

Modern software development has been made easier with IDE, and developers no longer have to access different packages to develop one program.

Typical IDE programs include a few essential features, which would be of great value if you are a programmer. These features include:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Auto-code completion
  • Search compiler
  • Refactoring
  • Version control
  • Build and deployment

Furthermore, IDEs have numerous uses in everyday life. They’re used to develop games, applications, software, and integrated hardware.

Some C++ IDEs support only one programming language like Python, while some other IDEs like Xcode can support a range of programming languages like Java, C, Python, and more.

Modern IDEs are optimized to save the maximum time, and newer programs even come with auto-code completion, similar to the auto-complete feature on your smartphone textbox!

What Are The Benefits Of Using IDEs?

We’ve stressed enough times how IDE saves you time and effort and makes programming much more straightforward.

The integrated tools and features are godsend, especially if you’re working on a lengthy code, and you can’t micromanage the debugging process.

It helps prevent small mistakes from hampering program development and gives you time to focus on more critical aspects of the program. The auto-complete feature provides shortcuts, and the simple editing environment optimizes coding.

One particular part that’s very useful for programmers is the ability for IDEs to generate or complete an incomplete code based on your coding history. Coding can get repetitive, and having a program that auto-fills the monotonous parts is undoubtedly helpful.

Additionally, IDEs allow quick navigation and help programmers reach other members through hyperlinks. If you wish to import something into your code, IDEs help you add and organize these imports. And after you’re done, they can help you with testing and running the program.

Best C++ IDE’s

We previously touched upon IDEs that support a range of programming languages and those geared towards specific programming languages.

However, due to C and C++’s immense popularity and versatile usage, we will provide information regarding the best IDEs for them.

These IDEs will yield good results with C and C++, and since these languages are recognized worldwide, these IDE programs are internationally relevant.

Plus, many of them support a range of other programming languages besides C and C++, so you’re covered in any case.

1. Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is an IDE developed by Microsoft, and it’s compatible with operating systems and platforms like Windows, Linux, and Mac.

It’s a modern, open-source IDE that provides a range of features, such as code snippets, code refactoring, command-line interface, and high-quality API.

Moreover, Microsoft provides an extension for C++ called Microsoft C/C++, which can be easily downloaded or imported on this IDE.

Visual Studio Code is one of the most popular free IDEs out there. If you’re working alone, you can get by using the free Express Edition, but you might have to pay for the Professional version if you’re working with a team.

Furthermore, it doesn’t just support C and C++ but is compatible with other programming languages.

Let’s take a look at some of its features:

  • Permits the developer to extract C# annotations and render them in HTML or store them in XML documents
  • Provides support for creating styles that can be applied to HTML or XML elements
  • Permits the developer to invoke commands within the IDE
  • Provides debugging support for C# and C++ directly as well as support for managed-code and remote debugging
  • Permits the developer with deployment support using Windows Installer, alongside merging modules and supporting installation rollback
  • Offers developers the luxury of standardizing component installation for multiple applications
  • Permits developers to navigate back and forth between different documents and windows
  • Provides editing features, such as auto-indent, color highlighting, and auto-complete
  • Permits developers to access and control parts of the IDE programmatically, such as the code editor, tool windows, and deployment tools


  • Free
  • Auto-code completion
  • Debugging feature
  • Easy navigation
  • Editor features
  • Deployment tools


  • Code error prompts can be misleading
  • Slow to start

2. Code::Blocks

Code:: Blocks is another IDE that’s quite popular with C++ programmers and gives all the features and tools for programming in one integrated package. It’s an open-source IDE, free of cost, is usable with various platforms.

It is primarily used for programming in C++, although it supports other programming languages, such as C and Fortran. This IDE was developed through C++ using wxWidget, which is a GUI widget tool.

It is an extensible and customizable IDE compatible with different platforms and operating systems, such as Linux, Mac, and Windows.

The good thing about Code::Blocks is that functions such as compiling and debugging can be added by installing or coding a plugin.

It already supports pre-built and custom plugins, and it allows developers to tweak functions accordingly and navigate through different programs and windows with ease.

Also, while it was developed for C++, the interface supports and runs C programs now.

To summarize, this IDE has all the necessary features that a programmer could require, such as debugging, compiling, and auto-code completion.

In addition to that, it also includes extensive features, such as code coverage, code analysis, and profiling. Programmers can always tweak them according to their needs and add more features by installing plugins.


  • Free
  • Compatible with different platforms
  • Customizable
  • Extensible with different plugins
  • Easy navigation
  • Full-featured debugger
  • Integrated syntax highlighting


  • No compiler
  • The interface has room for improvement

3. Eclipse

Eclipse also ranks among the top in the list of the most popular IDEs for C++. Any C++ developer can vouch for its efficiency and performance.

Like the two contenders mentioned above, Eclipse is also an open-source IDE that is free to use and boasts excellent community support.

It is compatible with a range of different platforms, including Linux, Windows, and macOS, and most users commend it for its friendly, easy-to-use interface.

It was initially used for Java, but now it is increasingly used for several different programming languages. Furthermore, if you find a bug on your Eclipse IDE or compiler, you can file a bug on their official website.

It has features such as a code editor, source and hyperlink navigation, syntax highlighting, and visual debugging. Moreover, it’s incredibly user-friendly and easy-to-install, and beginners will find no difficulties in getting the hang of it.

Eclipse’s special optimized features include auto-code completion, code compiling, static code analysis, and profiling. And it supports various programming languages, including C, C++, Java, JavaScript, and COBOL.


  • User-friendly interface
  • Smart code completion
  • Visual debugging tools
  • Source navigation
  • Hyperlink navigation
  • Compatible with different platforms
  • Rich community support


  • Complicated to setup

4. CodeLite

CodeLite is a free, open-source IDE program that is popular with C++ programmers. It is written in the C++ language and compatible with various platforms like Windows, macOS, and Linux.

With CodeLite, you get all the features you would expect from a top-notch IDE for C and C++. It is optimized for coding, with features like next-generation debugging.

CodeLite also provides users with a RAD tool that assists with building widget-based applications. It’s a great IDE program for compilers and helps programmers identify errors in codes with a simple click.

This excellent IDE supports both C and C++ as well as PHP, JavaScript, and other programming languages.

CodeLite was developed by SmartKoders and offers a Clang-Based code completion engine and auto-code completion for both JavaScript and PHP. It also provides word completion, spellchecker, Git, and Svn plugins.

This versatile option is lightweight and efficient and allows users to create cross-platform user interfaces based on the wxWidgets toolkit. Programmers can also compare different files using the Graphical Diff Utility that comes with this IDE.


  • Free-to-use
  • Easy interface
  • Next-generation debugging
  • Clang-Based code completion engine
  • JavaScript, PHP code completion
  • Git and Svn plugins
  • Project management
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code refactoring


  • Navigation features need improvements

5. NetBeans

NetBeans is another popular Java-based IDE that programmers and developers all over the world depend on.

It is a free and open-source option compatible with various platforms, including Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and Solaris.

Moreover, it is written in Java and offers integrated support for program development in many different programming languages, including Java, CSS, PHP, HTML, and C++.

It provides developers with a long list of project templates and features a drag-and-drop interface for easy use and navigation. Plus, this IDE is optimized for program development, from project inception to app deployment.

NetBeans is structured on a modular-based architecture, and every function occurs through modules. This feature makes a programmer’s job very easy and gives them a range of options, such as creating C++ applications from existing code and using dynamic and static libraries.

Plus, it also features numerous plugins for additional functions.

Furthermore, this IDE will let developers monitor their project development remotely, and it is the official IDE for Java8, with a global community of developers and users.

Moreover, its cross-platform architecture comes with industry-leading code analyzers, converters, and editors, that optimize coding and programming.


  • Cross-platform support
  • Rich set of plugins
  • Supports multiple programming languages
  • Simple and efficient project management
  • Create C++ apps using existing code
  • Dynamic and static libraries for creating code
  • Smart code editing
  • A diverse community of user worldwide


  • It tends to crash after extended use
  • It lacks customizability

6. Sublime Text

Sublime Text is a proprietary, cross-platform source code editor suited to users who like to experiment with coding. That’s because it supports several programming languages, such as C, C++, Java, and others.

It also allows programmers to add extra functions by installing different plugins, which are usually built by the Sublime Text community and users themselves.

Additionally, this IDE features a Python application programming interface that is easy-to-use and optimized for novices.

If you’re new to it, don’t worry, as Sublime Text is relatively simple to use than other IDEs. And it doesn’t feature extra toolbars or configuration dialogs.

Beneath the simple interface, the IDE hides smart features, such as auto-completion capability, an efficient text editor, and numerous plugins.


  • Easy navigation
  • Command palette
  • Project-wide index of every class and function
  • Compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Auto-completion tool
  • Supports numerous plugins


  • It doesn’t support the direct installation of themes

7. Atom

Atom is a free-to-use, open-text editor that is exceedingly customizable and user-friendly. It was developed through GitHub, built on HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and Node.js, and it operates using the Electron framework.

This exceptional IDE boasts a large and active global community, and users can access a multitude of plugins to customize it according to their needs.

It supports Windows, macOS X, and Linux. It’s incredibly user-friendly, simple, and is designed to appeal to all kinds of programmers, from expert developers to novices.

Beginners will find it very easy to get used to, even if they have minimal coding knowledge. It’s also swift and lets you write code faster and smarter, with its customizable autocomplete feature.

Meanwhile, its Javascript build makes it easy to modify the user-interface.

While this IDE has four UI and syntax themes, users have the luxury of making their themes or downloading them from the Atom community.

All in all, its usability is unparalleled, with its customizability, flexibility, and support for C, C++, HTML, Javascript, and PHP, among many other languages.


  • Compatible with a range of programming languages
  • Customizable
  • Smart auto-completion feature
  • Plugin support from the Atom community
  • Package manager
  • Multiple panes
  • Supports command palette


  • Lack of built-in IDE features

8. CodeWarrior

CodeWarrior is one of the few IDEs emphasizing a visual interface, making it an intriguing option for modern programmers. Plus, its automated framework allows for rapid application development and programming.

It was designed by NXP Semiconductors for rapid editing, compiling, and debugging of software. Moreover, it is compatible with different platforms such as Windows and Linux OS.

And since it makes complex coding and programming simple, it has become popular with developers.

It has made it to this list because it allows programmers to efficiently build custom libraries and access different source code elements, such as variables and classes.

Although CodeWarrior may be a bit restricted as it supports C, C++, and Java.


  • Easy-to-use user interface
  • Allows a single gateway to all components
  • Project Manager
  • Highly customizable
  • Powerful macro assembler
  • Smart linker


  • Not easy to learn

9. Dev C++

Dev C++ is one of the older IDE variants and has long been used for C++ programming.

It is an open-source, fully-featured option that is mainly used for programming in C and C++ instead of the newer, cross-platform IDEs.

Additionally, it is distributed under the GNU license and is written in Delphi. This IDE comes bundled with the MinGW 64-bit port of the GNU GCC compiler, and it can also be used in combination with Cygwin and other GCC-based compilers.

To increase this IDE’s functionality, users can download extensions and additional packages that support graphics, sound, and animation.

Plus, it features integrated debugging, syntax highlighting, code completion, and a tool manager to make programming easier.


  • Support GCC based compilers
  • Integrated Debugging
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code Completion
  • Tool Manager
  • CVS Support


  • Not updated since 2005
  • Only supports C and C++

10. CLion

CLion is a very popular IDE created by JetBrains. It features hundreds of plugins and easy navigation features, allowing users to shift from one program to the other effortlessly.

This IDE, however, not an open-source option, and you will have to pay for it.

It is still an excellent choice for beginner-level or expert-level C++ programmers and coders alike.

CLion also focuses on ease-of-use with its multiplatform and customization capabilities and support for Windows, macOS, and Linux.


  • Syntax highlighting
  • Intelligent code completion
  • Extensive plugins
  • Advanced debugging
  • Allows editor customization
  • Supports Git, CVS, TFS, and Mercurial


  • Not free
  • Not user-friendly


What Are The Types Of IDE?

There are many options available, some of which can be categorized as:

  • Multi-language IDEs
  • Cloud-based IDEs
  • Specific platform IDEs
  • IDEs for mobile development

What Is The Difference Between IDE And Text-Editor?

A text editor, or a code editor, is optimized to make code-writing easier. IDEs, on the other hand, are more memory-intensive and offer additional features other than a basic text editor, such as a database section, syntax highlighting, etc.

Do You Need An IDE To Code?

Well, you can write a code without an IDE, but it will make your work a lot harder and take you much more time.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Using An IDE?

Using an IDE as a beginner can affect your chances of getting a job. It can also limit your free-hand coding by making you dependent on the software. You must write code without the auto-correction and syntax highlighting features of an IDE to learn how to program effectively.

Wrapping Up

IDEs are great resources for programmers to write error-free codes quickly and efficiently.

They can boost productivity by adding useful features, such as auto-completion tools and debuggers, which cut back the time a programmer needs to rectify minor errors.

Choosing the right IDE can be a tough call for many programmers because each IDE software offers different advantages and disadvantages.

Therefore, with the help of our guide, you should choose one that works with your programming needs.