Docker for Mac and Windows Beta: the simplest way to use Docker on your laptop

Mar 24 2016
Since June 20th, 2016, Docker for Mac and Windows are now publicly available. You can download them at

To celebrate Docker’s third birthday, today we start a limited availability beta program for Docker for Mac and Docker for Windows, an integrated, easy-to-deploy environment for building, assembling, and shipping applications from Mac or Windows. Docker for Mac and Windows contain many improvements over Docker Toolbox.

  • Faster and more reliable: no more VirtualBox! The Docker engine is running in an Alpine Linux distribution on top of an xhyve Virtual Machine on Mac OS X or on a Hyper-V VM on Windows, and that VM is managed by the Docker application. You don’t need docker-machine to run Docker for Mac and Windows.
  • Tools integration: Docker for Mac is a Mac application and Docker for Windows is a Windows application, including a native user interface and auto-update capability. The Docker tool set comes bundled with it: Docker command line, Docker Compose, and Docker Notary command line.
  • Volume mounting for your code and data: volume data access works correctly, including file change notifications (on Mac inotify now works seamlessly inside containers for volume mounted directories). This enables edit/test cycles for “in container” development.
  • Easy access to running containers on the local host network: Docker for Mac and Windows include a DNS server for containers, and are integrated with the Mac OS X and Windows networking system. On a Mac, Docker can be used even when connected to a very restrictive corporate VPN.
  • Docker for Mac was architected from scratch to be able to fit the OS X sandbox security model and we are working closely with Apple to achieve this.

See Docker for Mac and Docker for Windows in action in this video:

Docker for Mac can be used at the same time as Docker Toolbox on the same machine, allowing developers to continue using Toolbox as they evaluate Docker for Mac. On Windows you need to stop Toolbox before using Docker for Windows.

Docker for Mac and Windows have already been used by a few private beta testers and they have enhanced developers’ daily workflows.

“The Docker for Mac product has addressed all of these issues for us:

  • installation has been significantly smoother thanks to the native Mac application and autoupdater
  • official images now “just work” with the Mac
  • the new development workflow allows engineers to quickly spin up new versions of services and develop software natively on the mac against them, with everything just working.”

Mat Clayton, Co-founder, Mixcloud

You can sign up for Docker for Mac and Docker for Windows private beta today. This is a limited availability private beta and signing up will add you to a waiting list. We will add more people from the waiting list on a rolling basis as we get feedback and improve the product quality.

docker_for_mac_betaDocker for Mac and Docker for Windows are at different stages of development, although they do share a significant code base. Docker for Windows will initially be rolled out to users at a slower pace but will eventually offer all the same functionality as Docker for Mac. Docker for Windows currently only ships on Windows 10 editions that support Hyper-V.

Making things easy to use and functional takes elaborate engineering work: what makes Docker for Mac and Windows feel native are deep integrations with the host system in terms of virtualization, networking, security and file-systems. These integrations leverage the systems and virtualization expertise of Docker’s recently acquired Unikernel Systems team, as well as the Unikernel-related technologies they developed over the past 5 years: for example, the translator between Linux and Mac OS X networking uses the MirageOS TCP/IP implementation. Expect to see more of that kind of work in the future across the Docker line of products. All of the OS-level integration innovations will be open sourced to the Docker community when these products are made generally available later this year.

As usual with software, we’re building on the shoulders of giants: we would like to thank Apple and Microsoft for their assistance integrating their platforms with Docker, Michael Steil for xhyve, and the Docker product development teams in San Francisco, Cambridge, and Paris.


Join us at the next Docker Online Meetup on March 30 to learn more about the Docker for Mac and Windows beta!


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79 thoughts on “Docker for Mac and Windows Beta: the simplest way to use Docker on your laptop

  1. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

    Matthias Goetzke

    at first i thought great, makes things easier.

    then i read hyper-v on windows.

    so back to virtualbox for me since hyper-v was a constant pain for me. it disables power management options on my laptops, it interferes with other virtual machine tech required for e.g android development or demo vms running in vmware player etc…

  2. Hi Paul, we just pushed a fix – can you try refreshing?

  3. Sorry about that Dylan! We just fixed – can you try again?

  4. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

    Francis Ridder

    So damn excited for this. I hope there will be a good way to allow for external clients to hit the docker containers running on a Mac. The current docker toolbox stuff is not nice for that.

    • Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

      Itamar Ostricher

      Francis, what do you mean by “external clients” hitting the containers running on a Mac?

      • Not sure if this is what Francis meant, but I would say the same thing, and what I mean is that containers running on a local docker-machine VM expose a port at the VM, not at the Mac host, and an additional layer of forwarding is required to expose those services at the Mac.

        A form of this shows up in the demo video, where the browser can just hit "docker.local" rather than the result of `$(docker-machine ip $(docker-machine active))`.

    • Has this been released yet?

  5. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

    Vincent Berruchon

    But is there an hope to have Windows 7 supported?
    I’m asking that because of large corporate groups that won’t adopt Windows 10 before years?

  6. Did you try disabling AdBlock or uBlock?

    • Is there a reason (beside the obvious) that we need to disable adblockers? Many of us consider ads not just an annoyance but a threat to safe computing. Why does a download page need adblocking disabled???

  7. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

    Felipe Micaroni Lalli

    Hi! What about OpenBSD? Thank you.

  8. Congrats. Excited for all the improvements over VirtualBox and the support for Hyper-V

  9. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

    Vladimir Varankin

    It sounds like this is exactly what I wanted to have for the local development. Can’t wait to try it!

  10. Which version of OS X are supported?

  11. Try disabling any adblockers/other js blockers you may have

  12. Just signed up for the waiting list. Looking forward to switching over to this from Kitematic.

  13. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

    Paolo Mainardi

    Wow, terrific news, thanks a lot.

    Can you explain how the new volumes management works on osx ? As inotify works, it suggests that you are not using something like NFS.

  14. Great..Just to understand these are still linux containers running on Mac/Windows w/o Virtualbox..Both Mac and Windows are still running a linux distribution of some sort..Is that correct?

  15. Pretty exciting news!

    I had briefly experimented with the docker-machine-xhyve driver recently and noticed that disk IO seemed to be significantly slower than with Virtualbox.

    I was seeing about ~800KB/s in xhyve in a random r/w test -vs- ~47MB/s in Vbox. I also noticed a diskutils-helper userland process that was pretty busy. I assume it’s just a lack of something like virtio interface for xhyve.

    Have you seen this too? Will this be an issue in the new Docker for mac?


  16. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

    Binh Van Nguyen

    Had to hack to mount volume while using Docker Toolbox, hope this will be fixed and can’t wait to use this!

  17. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon


    Docker is being generous .. Thank you docker team !!

  18. That’s huge for Mac Users like me. Thanks so much for pushing this fine technology forward.

  19. Just so I am absolutely clear on this, this is about making interaction with a container native to the Host OS, what is running inside the container still has to be linux based, is that correct? From what I can see it certainly looks like this but I teach docker and someone is bound to ask me this. I just want to make sure my facts are straight.

  20. You finally did it! Even i’m not using Mac and Windows thank you!

  21. Will this be the only supported way to run Docker on OS X? As a developer I’d love to use docker-machine + xhyve + Ansible and have no use for a GUI app at all. I’m also quite happy with simply installing/updating Docker via MacPorts just like before.

  22. When can we expect the final release for Docker for Windows?

  23. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

    Denys Slipetskyy

    This is one of the best recent news from Docker !
    This tool just address most painful parts of Docker based development workflow on non-Linux dev boxes … awesome.

  24. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

    Jarret Peterson

    Does this mean we can now run OSX as a client in a docker container?

  25. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

    Nicholas Stein

    Thank you so much. My Windows 10 pro machine will not allow me to uninstall Hyper-V. It rolls back upon reboot. That means when I run Toolbox, I get the VirtualBox error. With VirtualBox installed, Hyper-V cannot properly install a Virtual Switch. Catch 22!

    So I am trying to get started only using the command line and installing a downloaded version of Linux (Ubuntu) which has more than I want on my Docker machine. Do I really need a full Linux UI just to run a process?

    I am really hopeful that this beta will release me from VirtualBox.

    BTW, I am getting lots of comments on my BDay3 Tee, and the contest materials, along with the help I received at the Irvine CA meetup have been super helpful. Thank you again.

  26. Has the mounted file system performance improved in this Beta. Mounted file system performance was our biggest issue running Docker on OS X.

  27. How to join online meet up

  28. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

    Alexandr Marchenko

    Wondering how volume sharing will work on Windows, will it be something like iSCSI targets/initiators or maybe even DFS like or simple SMB share like Vagrant use on Hyper-V?

  29. If OS X can use xhyve, so, can I use docker without vbox in linux 2.x kernel ?

  30. Hi,

    Firt of all, congratulations for your good job!

    I wannat ask you if you have in mind to support windows 7?

    Thanks in advance

  31. Yeah!! Looking forward to running this on my Mac without VirtualBox. Thank you!
    Happy birthday!!

  32. Awesome news – the VPN compatibility mode works great! Will the same feature appear on windows soon? I guess windows users are even more affected by VPN problems (corporate hell) – so having it here too would be great!

  33. Wonderful! I had been considering switching from osx to linux for my development machine because of the poor performance of volumes when using virtualbox making edit/test so painful!

  34. Awesome!!! Can’t wait to try it. I hope it has Linux-like networking (a native virtual network for each Docker network) in Docker Windows.

  35. News? Desperately seeking lonely container for my Mac 🙂
    happy to be pre-beta tester… 😮

  36. Very nice! Looking forward to working with it

  37. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

    Wellington F Silva

    Where can I talk about the beta app for mac and win.
    Some friends have submitted after then me and they are already testing it. I think someone missed me from queue.

  38. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

    Benjamin Lupton

    Are you meant to receive a confirm email or something? I signed up immediately but haven't heard a thing when this blog came out. Really keen to get started with this.

  39. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

    Andre Pollard

    Is overlay network supported in Docker for MAC? If so, how would I set daemon options of

    • The Beta Version of Mac/Windows

      Does anyone know how to add a private ca or add –insecure-registry for the beta version. Trying to connect to a private registry.

  40. I signed up two month ago on, but haven't heard anything, when can I have access to docker for mac?

    • Hey Richard, can you email me with the email address you used to sign up? adam at docker dot com

      • Same here, I also signed up 2 days ago and still have not heard anything. Also, will it flat out not let me install if I have Windows 7, or it is just that docker is not supporting the beta for Windows 7?

  41. I just experienced that Docker filled my OSX disk by logging extensively. So far 140GB in ~/Library/Containers/com.docker.docker/Data/com.docker.driver.amd64-linux with docker.log holding most of the data, but also some in vsudd.log

    Any plans for rotating/limiting this?

  42. Is there any chance to get that native docker mac-os-version?
    I registered a couple of times (starting in march) but I never got an answer :-(.

    "Soon" on seems to be a very vague timeperiod…

  43. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

    Bjørn Remseth

    Question: I'm using the spotify docker-client to connect to docker and then start containers etc. (an orchestration package we've written). With docker machine I could get the hostname, port, cert location etc. from "docker-machine env <machinename>", where do I get that information now?

  44. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

    Michal Kunikowski

    Hi, what is licence for docker beta windows ? Can I install it for commercial use in my company?

  45. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

    Scott Lessans

    I am really excited for native docker. Have signed up for beta a few times and haven't heard anything! Been waiting for a while now for either the beta or the release. Any info on timelines?

  46. I registered long time ago for the Docker for Mac Beta but haven't heard anything. What can I do to have access?

    • Hi Jordi, sorry about that! You were approved for the beta – I'm going to send you an email with more information now.

      • I Adam, I've also registered quite a while ago and got no response, I then registered 2 more times, but still nothing, can you please check my account as well?

  47. Avatar for Patrick Chanezon

    Peter Hvidgaard

    I tried to sign up for the beta, but I get a, an error.

    Forbidden (403)
    CSRF verification failed. Request aborted.

  48. I was hoping to receive an invite for the windows & mac betas, but haven't yet received any news – Is there information on when the next wave of invites might be going out?

  49. My colleagues are already waiting for quite a long time to get invited.
    Today i signed up, too. Is there any way to speed up the process and get an Beta-Invite for our Team soon?

  50. How can I forward usb connected android device from host in Beta?

  51. I just installed docker for windows and discovered it broke up virtualbox (VT-x is not available (VERR_VMX_NO_VMX)). Can't the two products coexist? I need to run VMs in VBox for my day to day work, and also wanted to test docker under windows

  52. Hmmm. Well, I tried the docker-machine stuff and that is just too much of a pain to use when it comes to networking if I remember rightly. I had my docker 'user' inside my virtual-machine inside my mac and that extra layer of VM was just a pain. Which user am I now?? which network is it??

    So I moved to docker for mac. That would be better; just one level of 'which user am I ?'. I am running into blow out problems though. I have a mac with 16gb and docker 1.12.0-a
    I am using the standard Jenkins 2.7.x in docker image. my mac starts up running about 3.8gb. I start jenkins and it goes to 7.9gb I start building 2 jobs and it was hitting about 14gb and sometimes 15gb. problem: 2 or 3 times it just blew out; docker container stopped and it did not release system memory. maybe I need more memory, but right now with 1 job running top says it is at 8.7gb. maybe it does not release memory too well?

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