SDL Wiki


Get the directory where the application was run from.


char* SDL_GetBasePath(void);

Return Value

Returns an absolute path in UTF-8 encoding to the application data directory. NULL will be returned on error or when the platform doesn't implement this functionality, call SDL_GetError() for more information.


This is not necessarily a fast call, so you should call this once near startup and save the string if you need it.

Mac OS X and iOS Specific Functionality: If the application is in a ".app" bundle, this function returns the Resource directory (e.g. This behaviour can be overridden by adding a property to the Info.plist file. Adding a string key with the name SDL_FILESYSTEM_BASE_DIR_TYPE with a supported value will change the behaviour.

Supported values for the SDL_FILESYSTEM_BASE_DIR_TYPE property (Given an application in /Applications/SDLApp/

The returned path is guaranteed to end with a path separator ('\' on Windows, '/' on most other platforms).

The pointer returned is owned by the caller. Please call SDL_free() on the pointer when done with it.


This function is available since SDL 2.0.1.

Code Examples

char *data_path = NULL;

void InitializeDataPath() {
    char *base_path = SDL_GetBasePath();
    if (base_path) {
        data_path = base_path;
    } else {
        data_path = SDL_strdup("./");

CategoryAPI, CategoryFilesystem

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