How to install Erlang and Elixir on macOS with Apple M1 Chip

Marcelo Dapper • June 29, 2022 • ☕️ 4 min de leitura

In this article we will see how to install Erlang 24.2 and Elixir 1.13.1 OTP 24 on macOS Monterey 13.2.1 with Apple M1 Chip using asdf.

Initially I was running Erlang and Elixir inside Docker, but I was encountering some limitations, among them the performance that was not good.

Because of that, I decided to install Erlang and Elixir natively on macOS with Apple M1 Chip. After a few failed attempts, and researching various solutions on the internet, the installation was successful.

These instructions are a combination of what I’ve been getting from several places, it’s what worked for me and others in our current project, you may not get the same results.

What follows is a guide off what worked for us.


Let’s start by installing some dependencies through brew that will be needed for some of the following commands in this article:

brew install autoconf fop coreutils automake libyaml readline libxslt libtool unixodbc unzip curl


In order to install different versions of Erlang and Elixir we will use asdf.

  • First we need to install asdf using the Git method:
git clone ~/.asdf --branch v0.10.0
  • Add the following to ~/.zshrc:
. $HOME/.asdf/

See on the official docs for an updated guide on how to install asdf.

asdf plugin add erlang
asdf plugin-add elixir


This step shouldn’t be necessary, when installing Erlang we use a --without-wx option later on, but it doesn’t seem to be respected and the installation fails because we don’t have wxWidgets.

Theoretically it would be enough to install wxWidgets and try again to install Erlang. But it seems that wxWidgets in its latest version, currently v3.1.6, throws an error when installing Erlang.

In the previous version, v3.1.5, it works to install Erlang, so let’s install wxWidgets manually in v3.1.5 on our system.

  • Clone and config the repo:
git clone
cd wxWidgets
git checkout tags/v3.1.5
git submodule update --init src/png
git submodule update --init src/jpeg
git submodule update --init src/zlib
git submodule update --init src/tiff
git submodule update --init src/expat
git submodule update --init 3rdparty/catch

# Try the next command, it didn't work for me but I followed without it successfully
git submodule update --init 3rdparty/pcre
  • Pre-build configs:
./configure --with-cocoa --prefix=/usr/local --enable-webview --enable-compat28 --with-macosx-version-min=12.3 --with-libjpeg=builtin --with-libpng=builtin --with-regex=builtin --with-libtiff=builtin --with-zlib=builtin --with-expat=builtin
  • Build and installation:
sudo make install


To install Erlang and Elixir we also need openssl in v1, it is possible that on your macOS you already have it installed in a newer version. But in v2 or v3 it doesn’t work to install Erlang.

  • Install the v1 using brew:
brew install openssl@1.1
  • As my system was using openssl v2, so I gave the following command to not use it:
brew unlink openssl@2
  • If in your system is using v3 try to use the command:
brew unlink openssl@3
  • Now configure to use v1 using the command:
brew link openssl@1.1

At this point I received a message saying that the link could not be made, that I should use the command with force or else set the version using an environment variable in my ~/.zshrc file.

I chose to add the following variable to my ~/.zshrc:

export PATH="/opt/homebrew/opt/openssl@1.1/bin:$PATH"

When you give the link command see what the suggestion was, if it is really the same as above.

  • In addition to the previous var I defined in ~/.zshrc the following variables:
export CC=clang
export CPP="clang -E"
export EGREP=egrep
export KERL_BUILD_DOCS=yes

export KERL_CONFIGURE_OPTIONS="--disable-debug --disable-silent-rules --enable-dynamic-ssl-lib --enable-gettimeofday-as-os-system-time --enable-kernel-poll --without-javac --without-wx --without-odbc"

Installing Erlang and Elixir

Now with everything configured we can proceed with the installation of Erlang and Elixir.

  • Install Erlang with the command:
asdf install erlang 24.2
  • Install Elixir with the command:
asdf install elixir 1.13.1-otp-24

As I was using Docker to run an Elixir project, at this point I deleted the deps and _build folders and went through the normal process of configuring the project.