College of Science

Geospatial Resources

Installing ArcGIS Desktop on a Mac

To run ArcGIS on an Apple Macintosh computer, the Mac must be set up to run Windows. There are severals ways to do this, but they require one of two installation options.

For ArcGIS Pro, see Esri's Run ArcGIS Pro on a Mac page.

For ArcMap, see below.

Option One: Create a dual-boot setup on your Mac, which allows you to boot into either Mac OS or Windows OS. The typical method for this is to use the free software BootCamp.

The following Mac models will support the 64-bit version of Windows 10 Home or Pro edition installed with Boot Camp:

  • MacBook Pro (2012 and later)
  • MacBook Air (2012 and later)
  • MacBook (2015 and later)
  • iMac Pro (2017)
  • iMac (2012 and later)*
  • Mac mini (2012 and later)
  • Mac mini Server (Late 2012)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013)

You will need enough free disk space to create a Boot Camp disk partition with a minimum size of 64GB. 128GB is recommended for the best experience.

Using BootCamp:

Option Two: Create a virtual machine on your Mac, which allows you to run an installation of Windows OS in parallel with your existing Mac OS, and to switch from one to the other without booting into either one separately. Typical choices for the virtualization option are the licensed software Parallels or VMware. This option requires more resources (RAM & CPU) to run both OSes at the same time, as well as plenty of hard drive space (see the virtual machine options below for details).

Using Parallels:

Using VMware:

The ESRI GeoNet Forum has more information on these options (search for "mac"). When configuring Windows with any of these options, it is important the configuration meets the minimum system requirements for installing ArcGIS.

Keep in mind that ESRI does NOT support ArcGIS for Mac, and that you can only use ArcGIS within one of the Windows OS installation options described above.