Last update: May 10, 2017, Contributors: Dominik Schrempf, Jana Trifinopoulos, Minh Bui

Compilation guide

For advanced users to compile IQ-TREE source code.

General requirements

  • A C++ compiler such as GCC (version >= 4.8), Clang, MS Visual Studio and Intel C++ compiler.

  • CMake version >= 2.8.10.

  • Eigen3 library (for IQ-TREE version >= 1.6). By default IQ-TREE will detect the path to the installed Eigen3 library. If this failed, you have to manually specify -DEIGEN3_INCLUDE_DIR=<installed_eigen3_dir> to the cmake command (see below).

  • (Optional) If you want to compile the multicore version, make sure that the OpenMP library was installed. This should typically be the case with gcc under Linux.

  • (Optional) Install git if you want to clone source code from IQ-TREE GitHub repository.

Downloading source code

Choose the source code (zip or tar.gz) of the IQ-TREE release you want to use from:

Alternatively, if you have git installed, you can also clone the source code from GitHub with:

git clone

Please find below separate compilation guide fors Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows as well as for 32-bit version or for MPI version.

Compiling under Linux

TIP: Ready made IQ-TREE packages are provided for Debian and Arch Linux (AUR).

  1. Open a Terminal.
  2. Change to the source code folder:

  3. Create a subfolder, say, build and go into this subfolder:

     mkdir build
     cd build
  4. Configure source code with CMake:

     cmake ..

    To build the multicore version please add -DIQTREE_FLAGS=omp to the cmake command:

     cmake -DIQTREE_FLAGS=omp ..

    If cmake failed with message about Eigen3 not found, then install Eigen3 library and run cmake again. If this still failed, you have to manually specify the downloaded directory of Eigen3 with:

     cmake -DEIGEN3_INCLUDE_DIR=<eigen3_dir> ..
  5. Compile source code with make:


    You can speed up the compilation by specifying the number of CPU cores to use with make by e.g.:

     make -j4

    to use 4 cores instead of the default 1 core.

This creates an executable iqtree or iqtree-omp. It can be copied to your system search path so that IQ-TREE can be called from the Terminal simply with the command line iqtree.

TIP: The above guide typically compiles IQ-TREE with gcc. If you have Clang installed and want to compile with Clang, the compilation will be similar to Mac OS X like below.

Compiling under Mac OS X

TIP: A ready made IQ-TREE package is provided by * Homebrew.

  • Make sure that Clang compiler is installed, which is typically the case if you installed Xcode and the associated command line tools.

  • Find the path to the CMake executable, which is typically /Applications/ For later convenience, please create a symbolic link cmake to this cmake executable, so that cmake can be invoked from the Terminal by simply entering cmake.

The steps to compile IQ-TREE are similar to Linux (see above), except that you need to specify clang as compiler when configuring source code with CMake (step 4):


(please change cmake to absolute path like /Applications/

To compile the multicore version, the default installed Clang unfortunately does not support OpenMP (which might change in the near future). However, the latest Clang 3.7 supports OpenMP, which can be downloaded from After that you can run CMake with:

cmake -DIQTREE_FLAGS=omp -DCMAKE_C_COMPILER=clang-3.7 -DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=clang++-3.7 ..

(assuming that clang-3.7 and clang++-3.7 points to the installed Clang 3.7).

Compiling under Windows

WARNING: Although IQ-TREE can also be built with TDM-GCC, the executable does not run properly due to stack alignment issue and the libgomp library causes downgraded performance for the OpenMP version. Thus, it is recommended to compile IQ-TREE with Clang.

  1. Open Command Prompt.
  2. Change to the source code folder:


    Please note that Windows uses back-slash (\) instead of slash (/) as path name separator.

  3. Create a subfolder, say, build and go into this subfolder:

     mkdir build
     cd build
  4. Configure source code with CMake:

     cmake -G "MinGW Makefiles" -DCMAKE_C_COMPILER=clang -DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=clang++ -DCMAKE_C_FLAGS=--target=x86_64-pc-windows-gnu -DCMAKE_CXX_FLAGS=--target=x86_64-pc-windows-gnu -DCMAKE_MAKE_PROGRAM=mingw32-make ..

    To build the multicore version please add -DIQTREE_FLAGS=omp to the cmake command. Note that the make program shipped with TDM-GCC is called mingw32-make, thus needed to specify like above. You can also copy mingw32-make to make to simplify this step.

  5. Compile source code with:



     mingw32-make -j4

    to use 4 cores for compilation instead of only 1.

Compiling 32-bit version

NOTE: Typically a 64-bit IQ-TREE version is built and recommended! The 32-bit version has several restriction like maximal RAM usage of 2GB and no AVX support, thus not suitable to analyze large data sets.

To compile the 32-bit version instead, simply add m32 into IQTREE_FLAGS of the cmake command:

cmake -DIQTREE_FLAGS=m32 .. 

To build the 32-bit multicore version, run:

cmake -DIQTREE_FLAGS=omp-m32 ..

For Windows you need to change Clang target with:

cmake -G "MinGW Makefiles" -DCMAKE_C_FLAGS=--target=i686-pc-windows-gnu -DCMAKE_CXX_FLAGS=--target=i686-pc-windows-gnu -DCMAKE_MAKE_PROGRAM=mingw32-make ..

Compiling MPI version


  • Download source code of IQ-TREE version 1.5.1 or later.
  • Install an MPI library (e.g., OpenMPI) if not available in your system. For Mac OS X, the easiest is to install Homebrew package manager, and then install OpenMPI library from the command line with:

      brew install openmpi

Then simply run CMake and make by:

cmake -DIQTREE_FLAGS=mpi ..
make -j4

IQ-TREE will automatically detect and setup the MPI paths and library. Alternatively, you can also use the MPI C/C++ compiler wrappers (typically named mpicc and mpicxx), for example:

make -j4

The executable is named iqtree-mpi. One can then run mpirun to start the MPI version with e.g. 2 processes:

mpirun -np 2 iqtree-mpi -s alignment ...

If you want to compile the hybrid MPI/OpenMP version, simply run:

cmake -DIQTREE_FLAGS=omp-mpi ..
make -j4

The resulting executable is then named iqtree-omp-mpi. This can be used to start an MPI run with e.g. 4 processes and 2 cores each (i.e., a total of 8 cores will be used):

mpirun -np 4 iqtree-omp-mpi -nt 2 -s alignment ...

NOTE: Please be aware that OpenMP and OpenMPI are different! OpenMP is the standard to implement shared-memory multithreading program, that we use to provide the multicore IQ-TREE version iqtree-omp. Whereas OpenMPI is a message passing interface (MPI) library for distributed memory parallel system, that is used to compile iqtree-mpi. Thus, one cannot run iqtree-omp with mpirun!

Compiling Xeon Phi Knights Landing version

Starting with version 1.6, IQ-TREE supports Xeon Phi Knights Landing (AVX-512 instruction set). To build this version the following requirements must be met:

  • A C++ compiler, which supports AVX-512 instruction set: GCC 5.1, Clang 3.7, or Intel compiler 14.0.

The compilation steps are the same except that you need to add -DIQTREE_FLAGS=KNL to the cmake command:

make -j4

The compiled iqtree binary will automatically choose the proper computational kernel for the running computer. Thus, it works as normal and will speed up on Knights Landing CPUs. Run ./iqtree to make sure that the binary was compiled correctly:

IQ-TREE multicore Xeon Phi KNL version 1.6.beta for Linux 64-bit built May  7 2017

About precompiled binaries

To provide the pre-compiled IQ-TREE binaries at, we used Clang 3.9.0 for Windows and Clang 4.0 for Linux and macOS. We recommend to use Clang instead of GCC as Clang-compiled binaries run about 5-10% faster than GCC-compiled ones.

Linux binaries were statically compiled with Ubuntu 16.4 using libc++ library. The static-linked binaries will thus run on most Linux distributions. The CMake command is (assuming that clang-4 and clang++-4 point to the installed Clang):

# 64-bit version
cmake -DIQTREE_FLAGS=static-libcxx -DCMAKE_C_COMPILER=clang-4 -DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=clang++-4 <source_dir>

# 32-bit version
cmake -DIQTREE_FLAGS=static-m32 -DCMAKE_C_COMPILER=clang-4 -DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=clang++-4 <source_dir>

macOS binaries were compiled under macOS Sierra, but the binaries are backward compatible with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion:

cmake -DCMAKE_C_COMPILER=clang-4 -DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=clang++-4 <source_dir>

Windows binaries were statically compiled under Windows 7 using Clang 3.9.0 in combination with TDM-GCC 5.1.0, which provides the neccessary libraries for Clang.

# 64-bit version
cmake -G "MinGW Makefiles" -DIQTREE_FLAGS=static -DCMAKE_C_COMPILER=clang -DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=clang++ -DCMAKE_C_FLAGS=--target=x86_64-pc-windows-gnu -DCMAKE_CXX_FLAGS=--target=x86_64-pc-windows-gnu -DCMAKE_MAKE_PROGRAM=mingw32-make ..

#32-bit version
cmake -G "MinGW Makefiles" -DIQTREE_FLAGS=static -DCMAKE_C_COMPILER=clang -DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=clang++ -DCMAKE_C_FLAGS=--target=i686-pc-windows-gnu -DCMAKE_CXX_FLAGS=--target=i686-pc-windows-gnu -DCMAKE_MAKE_PROGRAM=mingw32-make ..