With the recent release of Unreal Engine 5.2 support for development on MacOS took a big step forward. The biggest improvement is that from 5.2 and beyond, Unreal Engine from the Epic Launcher will ship with Universal Binaries, meaning it will support both Intel and Apple M1/M2 silicon.
Details on M1/M2 support in Unreal Engine 5.2 from the recent Unreal Engine on Apple platforms blog post:
Users downloading Unreal Engine through the Epic Games launcher on macOS will automatically receive a distributable that includes universal binaries. When you run an instance of the Unreal Editor through the launcher, it will use the slice appropriate for your device’s native architecture. Therefore, if you have an Apple Silicon device, the editor will automatically use native support for Apple Silicon.
To create universal binaries when building the editor from source, you need to explicitly build with the “x64+arm64” architecture selected, as command line builds default to the x64 architecture and Xcode builds default to the host machine’s architecture. For more details about this process, refer to this article in the documentation.
A common question regarding Unreal Engine on MacOS is… what about Nanite and Lumen? The same blog post has details there as well:
- Nanite relies on image atomics and forward-progress guarantees that Apple M1 devices may not support. Experimental support is available for M2-based Macs, but disabled by default, and enabling it comes with caveats (see below for more details). We hope to fully enable Nanite for Apple Silicon devices in the future, but for now, it is not fully supported.
- Quixel assets set to use Nanite will fall back to non-Nanite versions of those assets. Otherwise, they will function as intended.
- Hair/fur/Groom strands are not currently supported on macOS, as Groom requires image atomic support, but hair cards and meshes are supported.
- Hardware-accelerated ray tracing is not currently supported on macOS. Due to this limitation, Lumen can only use the software ray tracer on Apple Silicon. Software ray tracing produces lower-quality results (for example, reflections are less detailed and dynamic meshes are not visible in them) compared to hardware ray tracing.
- Anti-aliasing performance: The default anti-alias mode, Temporal Super Resolution (TSR), is currently hitting software and hardware limitations on Apple Silicon, making its runtime cost less optimal than on other platforms. We are looking into this, and hope to improve the runtime performance in future releases. In the meanwhile, if you wish to switch to another anti-alias mode, you can do so by searching in your project’s settings for “Anti-aliasing” and selecting an alternative method.
You can learn more about Unreal Engine running on MacOS and see the difference between UE 5.0 and UE 5.2 running on an M1 MacBook Pro in action in the video below.