Install Docker Desktop on Mac
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Docker Desktop for Mac is the Community version of Docker for Mac. You can download Docker Desktop for Mac from Docker Hub.
What to know before you install
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
Your Mac must meet the following requirements to successfully install Docker Desktop:
Mac hardware must be a 2010 or a 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:
If your Mac supports the Hypervisor framework, the command prints
macOS must be version 10.14 or newer. That is, Mojave or Catalina. 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. Docker Desktop currently supports macOS Mojave and macOS Catalina.
As new major versions of macOS are made generally available, Docker stops supporting the oldest version and support the newest version of macOS.
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.
What’s included in the installer
Install and run Docker Desktop on Mac
Docker.dmgto open the installer, then drag the Docker icon to the Applications folder.
Docker.appin the Applications folder to start Docker. (In the example below, the Applications folder is in “grid” view mode.)
The Docker menu in the top status bar indicates that Docker Desktop is running, and accessible from a terminal.
If you’ve just installed the app, Docker Desktop launches the onboarding tutorial. The tutorial includes a simple exercise to build an example Docker image, run it as a container, push and save the image to Docker Hub.
Click the Docker menu () to see Preferences and other options.
Select About Docker to verify that you have the latest version.
Congratulations! You are now successfully running Docker Desktop.
If you would like to rerun the tutorial, go to the Docker Desktop menu and select Learn.
Uninstall Docker Desktop
To unistall Docker Desktop from your Mac:
- From the Docker menu, select Troubleshoot and then select Uninstall.
- 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.
Experimental features are turned on by default on Edge releases. However, when you switch from a Stable to an Edge release, you must turn on the experimental features flag to access experimental features. From the Docker Desktop menu, click Preferences > Command Line and then turn on the Enable experimental features toggle. Click Apply & Restart for the changes to take effect.
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:
docker save -o images.tar image1 [image2 ...]to save any images you want to keep. See save in the Docker Engine command line reference.
docker export -o myContainner1.tar container1to export containers you want to keep. See export in the Docker Engine command line reference.
Uninstall the current version of Docker Desktop and install a different version (Stable or Edge), or reset your VM disk.
docker load -i images.tarto reload previously saved images. See load in the Docker Engine.
docker import -i myContainer1.tarto 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.