So apparently the MAC install needs various stuff besides QGIS itself. The QGIS website sends you to an outside source for GDAL and for even the QGIS download itself. So I got a disk image from that source that has some stuff in it although there are no instructions. There is no "installer" that will boot in what was delivered and there are readme's that say you may need different python.

How do I parse how to install this and what additional resources I need?

5 Answers 5


It it is one of the solutions, that of KyngChaos (William Kyngsburie), but there are others (remember that Mac OS X is an Unix system). I shall try to be as as complete as possible.

The KyngChaos solution (the most popular and the solution proposed by Joseph)

It uses Frameworks and the Apple Python pre-installed (2.7.x, symbolic link in /usr/bin).


1) go to KyngChaos: QGIS
2) download QGIS-2.14.xx.dmg (last version). All the required items (.pkg files) are included in the disk image (.dmg).
3) As explained by numbers install from the dmg:
1: GDAL Complete.pkg (libraries installed in /Library/Frameworks/ )

enter image description here

2: NumPy.pkg (Python module, installed in /Library/Python/2.7/site-packages)
3: matplotlib.pkg (Python module, installed in /Library/Python/2.7/site-packages)
4: and QGIS.pkg (Application bundle, installed in /Applications/QGIS.app)

The scripts (outside QGIS)
If you want to use the GDAL(and GEOS, SQLite,...) scripts independently of QGIS, use the full path:


or put in your ./bash_profile file (hidden Unix file)

export PATH=/Library/Frameworks/GDAL.framework/Versions/1.11/Programs:$PATH
export PATH=/Library/Frameworks/UnixImageIO.framework/Programs:$PATH
export PATH=/Library/Frameworks/PROJ.framework/Programs:$PATH
export PATH=/Library/Frameworks/GEOS.framework/Versions/3/unix:$PATH
export PATH=/Library/Frameworks/GEOS.framework/Programs:$PATH
export PATH=/Library/Frameworks/SQLite3.framework/Programs:$PATH

You can use in Python the KyngChaos version of Numpy, matplotlib and osgeo (GDAL/OGR) or pyspatialite (if they are not previously installed), but with a little problem, if the matplotlib KyngChaos version is not installed (3), 4) fails: it checks the presence of a /Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/matplotlib-override folder.

enter image description here

The applications

The content of the Application bundle QGIS.app

enter image description here

GRASS GIS 6.4, SAGA GIS, Orfeo Toolbox, Taudem and others are integrated in the Application bundle (for the Processing Toolbox)

And you can launch QGIS from the command line (Terminal.app) with:




and Saga GIS, for example, with


The Boundless QGIS from Boundless Suite solution

Similar to the KyngChaos version, but without frameworks (all is in the QGIS.app bundle) Update: Boundless Desktop offers an installation for Mac with pgadmin, Qt designer, and QGIS.

The Homebrew solution.

Homebrew is an Unix package manager and everything is done with a command-line (Terminal.app) interface. It uses the Homebrew Python version. Therefore you need first to install the Homebrew Python, the Homebrew GDAL/OGR versions and ... (installed in /usr/local/Cellar with symbolic links in /usr/local/bin)

Fortunately, there is a Homebrew osgeo4mac (Larry Shaffer) which allows to install everything:

 brew install osgeo/osgeo4mac/<formula> (gdal-20 or qgis-214 for example)

The MacPorts solution.

Similar to Homebrew, all is installed in /opt

Which to choose ?

If you are not very familiar with an Unix System, choose the KyngChaos solution. Otherwise you can try the Homebrew version, very interesting (with GDAL 2.x for example)

If you want you can install all the versions together because the respective paths are different. But they use all the ~/.qgis2 (/Users/.../.qgis2) folder to store the plugins and other things.

  • the GDAL installer would not allow me to choose the location for installation. when i tried it backed up a step in the installer rather than finder window to choose/check install location. continued anyway. it said successfully installed but i find no /Frameworks folder in Library after showing hidden. don't know if there is separate library for "all users". finder search is hopeless for this stuff. can't even find "GDAL" on the disk image. should I assume success without confirmation and keep going? glad to leave this black box but instructions were so careful was trying to follow to letter. Apr 16, 2016 at 12:30
  • OK - got "find any file" utility and the stuff is all there. don't know why i can't see it because i'm showing hidden but installation seems to have completed and QGIS boots. Apr 17, 2016 at 11:38

You can try the following guide:

which describes a step-by-step guide on how to install QGIS on Mac along with various other essential packages such as:

  • GDAL
  • NumPy
  • Matplotlib

Boundless offers a MAC installer for Boundless Desktop that is powered by QGIS. It has a clean install interface and includes additional packages needed. There is a community version and can be found at. connect.boundlessgeo.com. Documentation can be found here.


NextGIS has QGIS installer for Mac OS X. It's lightweight version (no grass, saga and other yet) but with update/upgrade ability (no need to install/reinstall).


Installing QGis 2 with Homebrew, tested on macOS High Sierra:

  • brew tap osgeo/osgeo4mac
  • brew cask install xquartz
  • brew install qgis2
  • ln -Fs $(find $(brew --prefix) -name "QGIS.app") /Applications/QGIS.app

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