Macs are fabulous machines. From the beginning they seemed to focus on and excel in publishing and also music production. Today this is no less true although Windows has caught up generally, yet there’s still nothing like a Mac for those two types of work. Macs however are not without their own challenges. Installing Soundflower on High Sierra is one such example.
For the uninitiated, Soundflower is a fairly old yet reliable open source Mac extension that simplifies routing audio signals from one software to another. There are actually a few different applications that perform this task, but today I’m going to focus on Soundflower.
Installing Soundflower on a Mac used to be pretty straightforward. Download the installer, run it, done! Enter (insert scary music) the idiot hacker community. A pretty much loathsome bunch who would rather ruin life for everyone instead of finding something more constructive to do. With each new release of OS X, Apple has (as all other operating systems) had to harden it against increased attempts by the previously mentioned loathsome twits to hack into their OS. This increased hardening has made it increasingly more difficult to install excellent software unless said software is signed by (registered with) Apple, and as you can imagine this isn’t without cost. Here is where the problem comes in with Soundflower.
I’m just now getting around to this with High Sierra. Yes I know I’m two OS versions off. Never mind that not only did I really like El Capitan as an OS, but my awesome and old iMac just won’t run anything more recent than High Sierra. sigh. With that said, this tutorial may not apply to a more recent version of OS X.
Okay, gone is the simple install of Soundflower. Now the extension itself is actually signed by Apple, however it seems as though the installer isn’t. As such it simply won’t install. I thought about disabling SIP (the Apple hacker watchdog) but as with most things computer I knew someone had to have found a solution to this.
What happens is the installer simply fails and tells you it can’t be installed. A quick search revealed that yes someone has figured this out already. In fact the Soundflower 2.0b2 release page discusses how you need to tell High Sierra it’s okay to load this app in the System Prefs security pane. I also found a few other sites that mentioned this as well. No problem, follow the steps, and fail again.
More searching returned sites discussing that failure and suggesting you try to install from the command line using sudo. No problem, follow the steps, and fail again.
Okay. Uninstall the previous version of Soundflower (because maybe that’s the problem), reboot, follow all the steps previously taken, and fail again.
More searching, more hints on what others found to work, more reboots, more failures. UGH!
A few hours later and doing some very specific deep diving searches, I ran across this discussion on apple.com. Quoting from the posted solution “There is something wrong with the button on that prefpane that doesn’t seem to recognize clicks. In Keyboard System Prefs, turn on Full Keyboard access. Go to Security & Privacy and use the tab key to highlight the Allow button. Hit the spacebar to activate the button.”
BINGO!!! That is the answer, at least in my case. The latest version of Soundflower is now installed and running and happy and I can continue my pursuit of music production. Hopefully this will help someone else avoid a lot of wasted time.