Welcome to our guide on how to install and Run Docker Desktop on macOS. Docker is a platform used for containerization, it is open source and developers can utilize it when it comes to deployment, updating, running and managing containers. On the other hand, Docker Desktop is an application that is easy to install either on Mac or a Windows environment. With it, you can share, build any other containerized applications as well as microservices and is used to manage many Docker components. Docker comes with various components and they include, Docker CLI, Containers, Docker Engine, Docker compose and Kubernetes. Below are some of the Docker Desktop features;

  • Comes with Docker extensions that helps you to get the pre-built developer tools needed for debugging, security, networking and testing
  • DockerCon 2022, gets you updated on the developer news and trends
  • You can easily tack and know which files are taking up your space and you can as well get rid of them
  • With close integration with Azure Container Instances (ACI), code to cloud has been simplified
  • Docker Desktop is secure from the beginning
  • Image Access is secure in that you can restrict the images that can be accessed on Docker Hub by certain developers

Below are some of the System Requirements needed. For Mac users with Intel Chip, consider the following requirements;

  • macOS must be version 10.15 or newer, if not you need to upgrade to newer versions
  • Minimum of 4GB RAM
  • You must not install VirtualBox prior to version 4.3.30

For Mac users with Apple Silicon Chip, ensure;

  • Starting with Docker Desktop 4.3, ensure to install Rosetta 2 to get the best experience, to do it on the command line, run the commands below;
softwareupdate --install-rosetta

Install and Run Docker Desktop on macOS

Below is a step by step process on how to install and run Docker Desktop on macOS users with Intel Chip. Having looked at the brief description above about Docker, we can then proceed to do an installation on macOS system.

Step 1. Download Docker Desktop for Mac

Visit the Docker Desktop downloads page and get the Docker Desktop that fits your Mac. Could be the Intel or Apple Silicon type, depending on the chip that your Mac uses. To check the type of chip your Mac uses, tap on the Apple icon at the top left of your screen then tap on the option about this Mac. For our case, we will download the Intel type, by tapping on where it has been indicated below;

Navigate to the downloads section where the .dmg file has successfully been downloaded. Then double tap on the file, proceed to drag it to the Applications section. Wait for Docker to be copied to Applications.

Step 2. Open Docker on Applications Folder

Navigate to Applications folder, locate Docker and double tap on it to open. Wait for verification to be done, tap on open when asked whether you are sure to open. Provide Docker with privileged access when asked to, this is done by putting in your password when needed to. Proceed to check the box for, I accept Terms, the continue to tap on Accept, just like as shown below.

Once you tap on Accept above, Docker Desktop will be launched on your macOS system. Just like as shown below;

Step 3. Use Docker Desktop on macOS

Once the installation is complete and Docker Desktop successfully launched. It is about time we showed you how to use Docker Desktop on macOS system. First we will need to check the versions of what has been installed, see image below;

$ docker compose version
Docker Compose version v2.5.1

$ docker --version
Docker version 20.10.16, build aa7e414

$ docker version
 Cloud integration: v1.0.25
 Version:           20.10.16
 API version:       1.41
 Go version:        go1.17.10
 Git commit:        aa7e414
 Built:             Thu May 12 09:20:34 2022
 OS/Arch:           darwin/amd64
 Context:           default
 Experimental:      true

Server: Docker Desktop 4.9.1 (81317)
  Version:          20.10.16
  API version:      1.41 (minimum version 1.12)
  Go version:       go1.17.10
  Git commit:       f756502
  Built:            Thu May 12 09:15:42 2022
  OS/Arch:          linux/amd64
  Experimental:     false
  Version:          1.6.4
  GitCommit:        212e8b6fa2f44b9c21b2798135fc6fb7c53efc16
  Version:          1.1.1
  GitCommit:        v1.1.1-0-g52de29d
  Version:          0.19.0
  GitCommit:        de40ad0

We have both the Docker Engine and Docker Desktop, to use one of them, another one has be stopped so that you do not run into errors. To stop Docker Engine, utilize the commands below;

sudo launchctl stop docker docker.socket containerd
sudo launchctl disable docker docker.socket containerd

Check the available Contexts using the command;

$ docker context ls
NAME                TYPE                DESCRIPTION                               DOCKER ENDPOINT                                     KUBERNETES ENDPOINT                ORCHESTRATOR
default *           moby                Current DOCKER_HOST based configuration   unix:///var/run/docker.sock                (default)   swarm
desktop-linux       moby                                                          unix:///Users/annalianie/.docker/run/docker.sock

If you want to use the default context, run the command;

docker context use default

To use the Docker Desktop run the command;

docker context use desktop-linux

Step 4. Configure Docker Desktop on macOS

At the top right corner of the Docker Desktop window, you will see a settings icon, tap on it, so that you can proceed with the configurations process. The window below will appear when you tap on the settings icon;

The above window shows the changes you can make in the general section alone. They are described above. Our next window focuses on the changes that can be made on the resource section, (Advanced, File Sharing, Proxies, Network), go through all these and make your preferred changes;

The above two images represents only a fraction of the configurations that can be done. Scroll down and see other sections which include;

  • Docker Engine
  • Experimental Features
  • Kubernetes
  • Software Updates
  • Extensions

Step 5. Run a Container

On this example, we will run a sample container that is NGINX. To do so, go back to Home on Docker Desktop, tap on NGINX, the add path and tap on Run. Just like as shown below;

Once you tap on Run, the image below appears;

On the left side of the window above, you will see containers, tap on it so that you can see and access container CLI where containers can be managed, check below;

Method 2. Install and Run Docker on macOS from the command Line

This method is short and easy to follow, once you are done downloading the .dmg file, proceed to the terminal and run the following commands;

sudo hdiutil attach Docker.dmg
sudo /Volumes/Docker/Docker.app/Contents/MacOS/install
sudo hdiutil detach /Volumes/Docker


On the above process, we have successfully managed to install and Run Docker Desktop on macOS, whether from the command line or via the GUI, both methods have been covered above. We have also looked at some of the basic commands on how to use Docker Desktop and Engine. Furthermore, we have shown you how to configure Docker Desktop on macOS to your preferred form. On the above tutorial, we also touched on how to run and manage containers on the Docker Desktop. Below are some of our other articles on Docker;


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