Availability Markup


Libc++ is used as a system library on macOS and iOS (amongst others). In order for users to be able to compile a binary that is intended to be deployed to an older version of the platform, clang provides the availability attribute that can be placed on declarations to describe the lifecycle of a symbol in the library.


When a new feature is introduced that requires dylib support, a macro should be created in include/__config to mark this feature as unavailable for all the systems. For example:

// Define availability macros.
# define _LIBCPP_AVAILABILITY_BAD_OPTIONAL_ACCESS __attribute__((unavailable))
# define _LIBCPP_AVAILABILITY_BAD_OPTIONAL_ACCESS __attribute__((unavailable))

When the library is updated by the platform vendor, the markup can be updated. For example:

#define _LIBCPP_AVAILABILITY_SHARED_MUTEX                                  \
  __attribute__((availability(macosx,strict,introduced=10.12)))            \
  __attribute__((availability(ios,strict,introduced=10.0)))                \
  __attribute__((availability(tvos,strict,introduced=10.0)))               \

In the source code, the macro can be added on a class if the full class requires type info from the library for example:

  : public std::logic_error {

or on a particular symbol:


Furthermore, a lit feature should be added to match that availability macro, so that tests depending on that feature can be marked to XFAIL if the feature is not supported. This way, the test suite will work on platforms that have not shipped the feature yet. This can be done by adding the appropriate lit feature in test/config.py.


Some parameters can be passed to lit to run the test-suite and exercise the availability.

  • The platform parameter controls the deployment target. For example lit can be invoked with –param=platform=macosx10.8. Default is the current host.
  • The use_system_cxx_lib parameter indicates to use another library than the just built one. Invoking lit with –param=use_system_cxx_lib=true will run the test-suite against the host system library. Alternatively a path to the directory containing a specific prebuilt libc++ can be used, for example: –param=use_system_cxx_lib=/path/to/macOS/10.8/.

Tests can be marked as XFAIL based on multiple features made available by lit:

  • if –param=platform=macosx10.8 is passed, the following features will be available:

    • availability
    • availability=x86_64
    • availability=macosx
    • availability=x86_64-macosx
    • availability=x86_64-apple-macosx10.8
    • availability=macosx10.8

    This feature is used to XFAIL a test that is using a class or a method marked as unavailable and that is expected to fail if deployed on an older system.

  • if use_system_cxx_lib and –param=platform=macosx10.8 are passed to lit, the following features will also be available:

    • with_system_cxx_lib
    • with_system_cxx_lib=x86_64
    • with_system_cxx_lib=macosx
    • with_system_cxx_lib=x86_64-macosx
    • with_system_cxx_lib=x86_64-apple-macosx10.8
    • with_system_cxx_lib=macosx10.8

    This feature is used to XFAIL a test that is not using a class or a method marked as unavailable but that is expected to fail if deployed on an older system. For example, if the test exhibits a bug in the libc on a particular system version, or if the test uses a symbol that is not available on an older version of the dylib (but for which there is no availability markup, otherwise the XFAIL should use availability above).