Install Docker Desktop on Mac

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

To download Docker Desktop, go to Docker Hub and sign in with your Docker ID.

Download from Docker Hub

What to know before you install

README FIRST for Docker Toolbox and Docker Machine users

If you are already running Docker on your machine, first read Docker Desktop for Mac vs. Docker Toolbox to understand the impact of this installation on your existing setup, how to set your environment for Docker Desktop on Mac, and how the two products can coexist.

Relationship to Docker Machine: Installing Docker Desktop on Mac does not affect machines you created with Docker Machine. You have the option to copy containers and images from your local default machine (if one exists) to the Docker Desktop HyperKit VM. When you are running Docker Desktop, you do not need Docker Machine nodes running locally (or anywhere else). With Docker Desktop, you have a new, native virtualization system running (HyperKit) which takes the place of the VirtualBox system. To learn more, see Docker Desktop for Mac vs. Docker Toolbox.

System requirements

Your Mac must meet the following requirements to successfully install Docker Desktop:

  • Mac hardware must be a 2010 or newer model, with Intel’s hardware support for memory management unit (MMU) virtualization, including Extended Page Tables (EPT) and Unrestricted Mode. You can check to see if your machine has this support by running the following command in a terminal: sysctl kern.hv_support

  • macOS must be version 10.13 or newer. We recommend upgrading to the latest version of macOS.

    If you experience any issues after upgrading your macOS to version 10.15, you must install the latest version of Docker Desktop to be compatible with this version of macOS.

    Note: Docker supports Docker Desktop on the most recent versions of macOS. That is, the current release of macOS and the previous two releases. As new major versions of macOS are made generally available, Docker will stop supporting the oldest version and support the newest version of macOS (in addition to the previous two releases).

  • At least 4 GB of RAM.

  • VirtualBox prior to version 4.3.30 must not be installed as it is not compatible with Docker Desktop.

Note: If your system does not satisfy these requirements, you can install Docker Toolbox, which uses Oracle VirtualBox instead of HyperKit.

What’s included in the installer

The Docker Desktop installation includes Docker Engine, Docker CLI client, Docker Compose, Docker Machine, and Kitematic.

Install and run Docker Desktop on Mac

  1. Double-click Docker.dmg to open the installer, then drag the Docker icon to the Applications folder.

    Install Docker app

  2. Double-click Docker.app in the Applications folder to start Docker. (In the example below, the Applications folder is in “grid” view mode.)

    Docker app in Hockeyapp

    You are prompted to authorize Docker.app with your system password after you launch it. Privileged access is needed to install networking components and links to the Docker apps.

    The Docker menu in the top status bar indicates that Docker Desktop is running, and accessible from a terminal.

    Whale in menu bar

    If you just installed the app, you also get a message with suggested next steps and a link to the documentation. Click the Docker menu (whale
 menu) in the status bar to dismiss this pop-up notification.

    Startup information

  3. Click the Docker menu (whale menu) to see Preferences and other options.

  4. Select About Docker to verify that you have the latest version.

Congratulations! You are now successfully running Docker Desktop.

Uninstall Docker Desktop

To unistall Docker Desktop from your Mac:

  1. From the Docker menu, select Troubleshoot and then select Uninstall.
  2. Click Uninstall to confirm your selection.

Note: Uninstalling Docker Desktop will destroy Docker containers and images local to the machine and remove the files generated by the application.

Switch between Stable and Edge versions

Docker Desktop allows you to switch between Stable and Edge releases. However, you can only have one version of Docker Desktop installed at a time. Switching between Stable and Edge versions can destabilize your development environment, particularly in cases where you switch from a newer (Edge) channel to an older (Stable) channel.

For example, containers created with a newer Edge version of Docker Desktop may not work after you switch back to Stable because they may have been created using Edge features that aren’t in Stable yet. Keep this in mind as you create and work with Edge containers, perhaps in the spirit of a playground space where you are prepared to troubleshoot or start over.

To safely switch between Edge and Stable versions, ensure you save images and export the containers you need, then uninstall the current version before installing another. For more information, see the section Save and Restore data below.

Save and restore data

You can use the following procedure to save and restore images and container data. For example, if you want to switch between Edge and Stable, or to reset your VM disk:

  1. Use docker save -o images.tar image1 [image2 ...] to save any images you want to keep. See save in the Docker Engine command line reference.

  2. Use docker export -o myContainner1.tar container1 to export containers you want to keep. See export in the Docker Engine command line reference.

  3. Uninstall the current version of Docker Desktop and install a different version (Stable or Edge), or reset your VM disk.

  4. Use docker load -i images.tar to reload previously saved images. See load in the Docker Engine.

  5. Use docker import -i myContainer1.tar to create a filesystem image corresponding to the previously exported containers. See import in the Docker Engine.

For information on how to back up and restore data volumes, see Backup, restore, or migrate data volumes.

Where to go next

  • Getting started provides an overview of Docker Desktop on Mac, basic Docker command examples, how to get help or give feedback, and links to other topics about Docker Desktop on Mac.
  • Troubleshooting describes common problems, workarounds, how to run and submit diagnostics, and submit issues.
  • FAQs provide answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Release notes lists component updates, new features, and improvements associated with Stable releases. For information about Edge releases, see Edge release notes.
  • Get started with Docker provides a general Docker tutorial.
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