Docker Desktop overview

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Update to the Docker Desktop terms

Professional use of Docker Desktop in large organizations (more than 250 employees or more than $10 million in annual revenue) requires users to have a paid Docker subscription. While the effective date of these terms is August 31, 2021, there is a grace period until January 31, 2022 for those that require a paid subscription. For more information, see Docker Desktop License Agreement.

Docker Desktop is an easy-to-install application for your Mac or Windows environment that enables you to build and share containerized applications and microservices. Docker Desktop includes Docker Engine, Docker CLI client, Docker Compose, Docker Content Trust, Kubernetes, and Credential Helper.

Docker Desktop works with your choice of development tools and languages and gives you access to a vast library of certified images and templates in Docker Hub. This enables development teams to extend their environment to rapidly auto-build, continuously integrate, and collaborate using a secure repository.

Some of the key features of Docker Desktop include:

  • Ability to containerize and share any application on any cloud platform, in multiple languages and frameworks
  • Easy installation and setup of a complete Docker development environment
  • Includes the latest version of Kubernetes
  • Automatic updates to keep you up to date and secure
  • On Windows, the ability to toggle between Linux and Windows Server environments to build applications
  • Fast and reliable performance with native Windows Hyper-V virtualization
  • Ability to work natively on Linux through WSL 2 on Windows machines
  • Volume mounting for code and data, including file change notifications and easy access to running containers on the localhost network
  • In-container development and debugging with supported IDEs

Download and install

Docker Desktop is available for Mac and Windows. For download information, system requirements, and installation instructions, see:

For information about Docker Desktop licensing, see Docker Desktop License Agreement.

Sign in to Docker Desktop

After you’ve successfully installed and started Docker Desktop, we recommend that you authenticate using the Sign in/Create ID option from the Docker menu.

Authenticated users get a higher pull rate limit compared to anonymous users. For example, if you are authenticated, you get 200 pulls per 6 hour period, compared to 100 pulls per 6 hour period per IP address for anonymous users. For more information, see Download rate limit.

Authenticating through Docker Desktop also allows administrators to configure Docker Desktop and set up guardrails using the Image Access Management feature to allow team members to:

  • Only have access to Trusted Content on Docker Hub
  • Pull only from the specified categories of images

To authenticate using Docker Desktop, click the Sign in/Create ID option on the Docker menu and follow the on-screen instructions.

Configure Docker Desktop

To learn about the various UI options and their usage, see:

Release notes

For information about new features, improvements, and bug fixes in Docker Desktop releases, see:

Desktop, Docker, GUI, run, docker, local, machine