Watchtower Library for iPhone or iPad, any plans?

No plans.

Sorry. It’s a nice idea, for sure. It’s not impossible by any means. Quite the opposite. It’s more of a question of who can do it. It would require access to the proprietary source code. Hence the answer to who is: only the brothers and sisters working on the Watchtower Library project itself.

As far as I know, there are no plans to port the Library software to Apple Cocoa native. On the other hand, what do I know? It would be a nice surprise to find a native Mac app in the next edition. That way, many could wave goodbye to Wine and X11, the components that make up Watchtower Library for Mac and CrossOver.

The iPhone and iPad present an additional challenge however, concerning distribution; note, iPad is effectively an iPhone without the phone. Apple’s app store via iTunes is the standard method for distributing iPhone and iPad applications. But this does not fit the requirements for Watchtower Library where only baptised members of the congregations should be using it. Maybe there could be a dual distribution: a freely-downloaded application skeleton from the app store plus a CD-distributed database component copied to the iPhone or iPad.

Until then, iSilo is the only way to have some sort of Watchtower Library on your iPhone. This is a commercial app (GBP £5.99) purchased from the Apple app store. It lets you read PDB-formatted files, among others. However, you also need a copy of the unofficial PDB (Palm database) files. This does not give you a real Watchtower Library, nothing like the real thing: limited searching, no maps or audio. But better than nothing!

Will using Watchtower Library for Mac infringe the Watchtower society's copyright?


Using this software will not infringe copyright material or licenses of the Watchtower Bible and Tract society. The software takes pains to respect Watchtower copyrights as well as Open Source licenses. You still need the official CD-ROM, on purpose!

On the other hand, the society does not officially approve this app. I recommend contacting your nearest branch for advice. I have been informed by the London branch, that this is one of the options suggested to those wishing to run libraries on their Macs. They have not endorsed it directly however, and reasonably cannot—at least not without taking ownership of the project themselves.

Does Watchtower Library for Mac conflict with CrossOver?


You can run both, even at the same time! No conflicts. Both Watchtower Library for Mac and CrossOver essentially work the same way. Both rely on Wine and X11. However, exactly how they get there differs. Watchtower Library for Mac uses standard X11 as used by Apple; puts the fixed-location Unix-based Wine software in a framework at /Library/Frameworks and places the floating application code in a standard Mac application bundle. The virtual Windows sub-system lives under Application Support. This layout entirely avoids clashing with CrossOver (by design).

Will it run on G4 or G5 Macs?


Sorry, the software requires an Intel-based Mac. PowerPC Macs are therefore not supported. Their processors aren’t compatible with Windows programs.

The software tells me, "Watchtower Library has experienced a problem and cannot continue," What should I do?

Please try re-installing using someone else’s CD-ROM, ideally someone who has successfully installed the library.

Sometimes the combination of one particular CD-ROM and one particular DVD or CD drive gives rise to unusual errors. So you might also try creating a Disk Image on another machine (for personal use only of course). Then use the image with the machine that you’re having troubles with.

How do I upgrade a library?

In principle, the easiest way is to insert the old CD-ROM to uninstall the old edition, then insert the new CD-ROM to install the new edition. You can also do it the other way around, temporarily having two editions installed.

Take an example. You have the 2008 edition installed already. But you now have the new 2009-edition CD-ROM and want to upgrade.

  1. Launch Watchtower Library for Mac
  2. Close any open libraries but do not quit the application
  3. Insert the 2008-edition CD-ROM
  4. The installer automatically runs
  5. It asks if you want to remove the corresponding library; accept it
  6. The Setup program removes that edition from your hard drive
  7. Finally, install the 2009 edition as normal

Can I run other programs with Watchtower Library for Mac, like TSwin, e-Sword and Kingdom Hall Schedules?


You can run other Windows software using Watchtower Library for Mac side-by-side with libraries. But how to do it? Please follow the directions for TSwin. The instructions outline the general procedure required to install any such software.

Note that for e-Sword, you first need to install some add-ons. Select Add-Ons from the app menu.

I run Tiger (10.4) on an Intel Mac, What should I do?

Recommendation: Buy Lion and upgrade. It’s a very good cost-benefit solution. There are other advantages: improvements in speed, better use of disk space.

But I don’t care about Lion, What now?

If you really do not want to upgrade, Olivier Savignac has a guide to installing Darwine and a Tiger-compatible Xquartz at How to Install Watchtower Library on Mac OS X. He has a new automated installer solution too that I believe runs on Tiger.

Will the user need to uninstall the old Watchtower Library for Mac?


The new Watchtower Framework replaces the old one. The new application replaces the old one too. The framework lives at /Library/Frameworks/Watchtower.framework; the new framework overwrites at this location on your Macintosh system hard drive. The new application overwrites the old at /Applications. Though, in fact, you can store the application anywhere and have multiple versions if you really want to, but I don’t recommend that.

Will users need the official Watchtower library disks when upgrading?


Once installed, you do not need to reinstall libraries when upgrading. The new software will update and reuse any libraries already installed. Individual libraries install under Library/Application Support/Watchtower Library relative to the user’s home directory. Upgrading does not delete this. Your libraries, research favourites and other settings remain!

What order should users install X11?

Any order.

X11 installation only applies to Leopard 10.5!

Provided you do not launch the application, order does not matter. Please make sure you are not running the application when installing however.

What if the library set-up program fails to launch automatically?

Instead, drag Setup.exe to the dock icon.

Open the CD-ROM directory. You will see an executable file called Setup.exe. Drag this to Watchtower Library for Mac’s icon on the dock. This is the manual way to launch programs. Automatic launching relies on seeing a genuine CD, not a copy!

Any problems running on Snow Leopard, or Leopard?


The software runs on Snow Leopard and Leopard, OS X versions 10.5 and 10.6! But not 10.4 (Tiger). The software build machine runs Snow Leopard, building against the 10.5 development kit. That means you need 10.5 at least.

If you are running on Tiger (10.4) on an Intel-based machine, I recommend upgrading your operating system. If running on a PowerPC-based machine, unfortunately there is currently no working solution to running Watchtower library programs on your Mac because you need a processor chip compatible with Windows machines, the old Intel386. PowerPC processors have hardware incompatibility with Intel processors and have no software readily available to emulate a 386.

To X11 or not to X11?

That is the question!

Brother Faulk has asked another very good question! At X11 2.4.0 under heading Mac OS-X Updates, the XQuartz project writes,

You will need to re-install this package after future OS, and Security Updates delivered through Apple’s Software Update. Additionally, you should reinstall this package after installing XCode.

What the XQuartz folk are saying here is that Apple’s updates will overwrite XQuartz. So users will need to reinstall the XQuartz software distribution in order to get back to XQuartz.

Why two distributions?

The fundamental difficultly here is that two sets of developers (Apple and XQuartz) bundle and distribute X11 for Mac, despite it being one-and-the-same piece of software. Apple bundles their version, XQuartz provide their version.

Which to choose, Apple or XQuartz?

Since the goal is minimal hassle for most users, I recommend sticking with Apple, since you can entirely ignore the X11 question if you have upgraded to Snow Leopard—it includes X11, and Apple will doubtless post upgrades in the normal way as and when. Users can therefore remain blissfully unaware of X11. That would be ideal.

So if on Snow Leopard, ignore X11!

When should you install XQuartz?

There is only one scenario that comes to mind: you are running Leopard 10.5 (no Snow)! In this case you should install X11 since this version most closely matches the Snow Leopard version. Thereafter, you need not worry about re-installing because Leopard does not bundle X11 automatically.

Do you accept donations?

Thank you, but no.

If you were thinking of donating, thanks for the kind thought. But I don’t accept any. Receive free, give free. (Mt 10:8b) That’s the Godly principle by which the work was done. But thanks for your thoughtfulness and generosity. If you want to give something, I recommend the world-wide work.


This is an unofficial site for supporting the official Watchtower Library running on Apple hardware. For the official site of Watchtower publications online, please navigate to

    Watchtower Library for Mac | for running Watchtower Library on Apple Mac computers without hassle and without cost