Octave for macOS

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Revision as of 07:57, 20 July 2023 by Niemand0 (talk | contribs) (Added comment to advise readers that the "--gui" option to start Octave that was installed via the Anaconda package will fail. According to conda-forge Octave's contributor ngam, they do not support gui on MacOS.)
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On macOS systems GNU Octave can be installed by:

  1. macOS App Bundles "Octave.app" (a single dmg-file)
  2. macOS package managers.
Info icon.svg
GNU Octave 8.3.0 is the current stable release.

macOS App Bundles[edit]

The Octave.app project provides an unofficial ready-to-use, drag-and-drop macOS App installer based on Homebrew (see below).

A very old installer is hosted on SourceForge.

Package Managers[edit]

All package managers below are given in alphabetical order. The Octave developers do not recommend a certain package manager.


Link to Octave package there.

Follow the Anaconda installation instructions.

In the Terminal App type:

 conda create --name octave
 conda activate octave
 conda install -c conda-forge octave
 octave --gui

Note that the use of the option --gui shown above is actually unsupported in the context shown (as of 2023 March 31). Expect failure:

 octave: GUI features missing or disabled in this build

Please refer to Octave contributor ngam's response to issue #102 at conda-forge/octave-feedstock. This note is put here to prevent further user frustration. The original author of this wiki page seems to be unaware of this problem and cannot be located to address this discrepant instruction.


Link to Octave package there.

Install GNU Octave using Homebrew:

Follow the Homebrew installation instructions.

In the Terminal App type:

 brew update
 brew upgrade
 brew install octave
 octave --gui

In case of trouble try brew doctor, see the Homebrew Troubleshooting Guide.


Link to Octave package there.

Follow the MacPorts installation instructions.

In the Terminal App type:

 sudo port selfupdate
 sudo port upgrade outdated
 sudo port install octave
 octave --gui


Link to Octave package there.

To install the Command Line Tools type in the Terminal App:

 sudo xcode-select --install

Follow the Spack tutorial and type in the Terminal App:

 spack install octave
 spack load octave
 octave --gui
Info icon.svg
The entire installation process can take up to a few hours. Octave has many dependencies which will be downloaded and installed prior to Octave.

In case of trouble, please visit the Spack repo issues list, and browse through Octave related issues by writing is:issue octave in the filters box.

Create a launcher app with the Script Editor[edit]

For example Homebrew installs Octave to /usr/local/bin/octave by default. From the Terminal application you can enter the command which octave to find out the exact location.

If you know the installation location, open the Script Editor application and write the following text in the editor window:

do shell script "/usr/local/bin/octave --gui"

if you wish to start the Octave GUI by default. If you want to start the Octave command-line interface (CLI), enter instead:

tell application "Terminal"
 do script "/usr/local/bin/octave; exit"
end tell

or if Octave is in your default path:

tell application "Terminal"
 do script "`which octave`; exit"
end tell


  • With a script open in the Script Editor app on your Mac, choose "File > Export".
  • In the menu that appears, select "Application" from the "File format" menu, then navigate to the "Applications" folder and save your script there as "Octave.app"

To change the application icon:

  • Open this link in a web browser, right-click and select "copy image".
  • Select "Octave.app" in the Finder, then press command-i to bring up the file info dialog.
  • In the file info dialog, select the icon (in the top left) and press command-v to paste the Octave icon over it.

See also[edit]