Do the New Terms of Docker Desktop Apply If You Don’t Use the Docker Desktop UI?

Even if you’re not taking advantage of the user interface that Docker provides with Docker Desktop and are simply using the CLI, you may still need a paid subscription to use Docker Desktop. Much of the value of Docker Desktop comes from making it easy to develop with containers locally on Windows and Mac.

We announced updates to our product subscriptions back in August and as part of that change, Docker Desktop now requires a per-user paid subscription (Pro, Team, or Business) for professional use in larger companies (larger than 250 employees OR greater than $10 million in annual revenue). 

If you meet the criteria above for a large business, and you’ve installed Docker Desktop, you need a paid subscription that starts for as little as $5 per user, per month.  

Docker Desktop remains free for small businesses (fewer than 250 employees AND less than $10 million in annual revenue), personal use, education, and non-commercial open source projects.

There is a grace period until January 31, 2022, for those that require a paid subscription to use Docker Desktop.

Okay, so what do I get with Docker Desktop?  

With Docker Desktop, installation, configuration, and maintenance are as easy as one click. Starting from the top, Docker Desktop comes as one single package for Mac or Windows. There is a single installer that, in one click, sets up everything you need to use Docker in minutes. 

Docker simplifies configuration under Docker Desktop, taking care of port mappings, file system concerns, and other default settings, making it seamless to develop on your local machine. Docker also maintains and regularly updates Docker Desktop with bug fixes and security updates. 

You can learn more about all the magic behind the scenes of Docker Desktop in this blog. Or check out these Twitter threads from @glours and @BretFisher. Bret Fisher, one of our Docker Captains, also has a great rundown on his Youtube show here



Docker Desktop features – many of which are not related to the UI:

Here’s a summarized list of the features you get with Docker Desktop. You can also learn more about the difference between Docker Desktop vs. DIY with Docker Engine here.  

Screen shot 2021 12 08 at 9. 06. 21 am
Screen shot 2021 12 08 at 9. 08. 36 am
Screen shot 2021 12 08 at 9. 10. 09 am
Screen shot 2021 12 08 at 9. 12. 01 am

How can I check if I have Docker Desktop installed?

Checking to see if you are using Docker Desktop is simple. An easy way to determine if Docker Desktop is currently running on your machine is if this icon is present:  

Screen shot 2021 12 08 at 12. 09. 45 pm

You can also check to see if Docker Desktop is installed via the filesystem. 

  • On Mac, look for “/Applications/”
  • On Windows, look for “C:\Program Files\Docker\Docker” 

Picking the Docker Subscription that meets your needs

Check out the Docker pricing page to compare all the features in each subscription. If you’d like some help picking the subscription that best suits your needs, you can also check out the Docker Subscription Cheat Sheet. It highlights some of the key differences between each of the subscriptions: Personal, Pro, Team, and Business. And if you still have questions, you can always check out our FAQ page that has additional details.  

DockerCon Live 2022

Join us for DockerCon Live 2022 on Tuesday, May 10. DockerCon Live is a free, one day virtual event that is a unique experience for developers and development teams who are building the next generation of modern applications. If you want to learn about how to go from code to cloud fast and how to solve your development challenges, DockerCon Live 2022 offers engaging live content to help you build, share and run your applications. Register today at


0 thoughts on "Do the New Terms of Docker Desktop Apply If You Don’t Use the Docker Desktop UI?"