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XQuartz: How to Download and Install the Latest Version for macOS

How to Download XQuartz for macOS

If you want to run some cross-platform applications that use the X Window System (X11) for their graphical user interface (GUI) on your Mac, you will need to install XQuartz. In this article, we will explain what XQuartz is, why you need it, and how to download and install it on your macOS device.

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What is XQuartz and why do you need it?

XQuartz is an open-source version of the X.Org X server

XQuartz is a project that provides an open-source implementation of the X.Org X server, a component of the X Window System, for macOS. The X Window System is a standard framework for displaying graphical applications on Unix-like operating systems. It consists of a server (X.Org) that communicates with the hardware and a client (X11) that displays the graphics on the screen.

XQuartz allows you to run X11 applications on macOS

XQuartz enables you to run applications that use the X11 protocol for their GUI on your Mac. These applications are not specifically designed for macOS, but they can run on it with the help of XQuartz. Some examples of such applications are GIMP, Inkscape, Wireshark, and many scientific and academic software projects.

How to download and install XQuartz

Visit the official website of XQuartz

The first step to download XQuartz is to visit its official website at There you will find information about the project, its features, its license, and its releases.

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Choose the latest stable version of XQuartz

The next step is to choose the latest stable version of XQuartz that is compatible with your macOS version. As of June 2023, the latest stable version is 2.8.5, which requires macOS 10.9 or later. You can find the download link on the homepage or on the releases page.

Download the .pkg file and run it

Once you have chosen the version of XQuartz that suits your needs, you can download it as a .pkg file, which is a package installer for macOS. The file size is about 100 MB, so it may take some time depending on your internet speed. After downloading the file, double-click on it to run it.

Follow the installation instructions and restart your computer

The installation process of XQuartz is straightforward and similar to any other macOS application. You will need to agree to the license agreement, enter your administrator password, and choose the destination folder. The installation may take a few minutes, and once it is done, you will be prompted to restart your computer.

How to use XQuartz

Launch XQuartz from the Applications folder or Spotlight

After restarting your computer, you can launch XQuartz from the Applications folder or by using Spotlight search. You will see an icon of an "X" in a white circle in your Dock. This indicates that XQuartz is running in the background and ready to handle any X11 requests.

Configure XQuartz preferences and security settings

Before you start using XQuartz, you may want to configure some of its preferences and security settings. To do so, click on the XQuartz icon in the menu bar and select Preferences. You will see a window with several tabs, such as Input, Output, Pasteboard, Security, and Fullscreen. Here you can customize various aspects of XQuartz, such as keyboard shortcuts, mouse behavior, clipboard synchronization, network access, and display mode.

Run X11 applications from the terminal or the Applications menu

Now that you have installed and configured XQuartz, you can run any X11 application on your Mac. There are two main ways to do so: from the terminal or from the Applications menu.

If you want to run an X11 application from the terminal, you need to open a new terminal window (either the default Terminal app or the XTerm app that comes with XQuartz) and type the name of the application followed by any arguments or options. For example, to run GIMP, you would type gimp and press Enter. The application will launch in a new window and use XQuartz as its server.

If you want to run an X11 application from the Applications menu, you need to open the Applications folder in Finder and look for a subfolder called Utilities. There you will find a shortcut called, which is a launcher for XQuartz. Double-click on it and you will see a list of available X11 applications that you can choose from. For example, to run Inkscape, you would click on and it will launch in a new window and use XQuartz as its server.


XQuartz is a useful tool that allows you to run X11 applications on your Mac. It is easy to download and install, and it offers many options to customize your experience. With XQuartz, you can enjoy the benefits of cross-platform software without compromising your macOS environment.


What are the system requirements for XQuartz?

XQuartz requires macOS 10.9 or later and at least 100 MB of disk space. It also requires an internet connection for downloading and updating.

How do I update XQuartz?

XQuartz has an automatic update feature that checks for new versions periodically. You can also manually check for updates by clicking on the XQuartz icon in the menu bar and selecting Check for Updates. If there is a new version available, you will be prompted to download and install it.

How do I uninstall XQuartz?

If you want to uninstall XQuartz, you need to run the uninstall script that comes with the package installer. You can find it in /opt/X11/lib/ You will need to enter your administrator password and confirm your choice. The script will remove all files and folders related to XQuartz from your system.

How do I troubleshoot XQuartz?

If you encounter any problems with XQuartz, you can try some of the following steps:

  • Restart your computer and try again.

  • Check if your macOS version is compatible with your XQuartz version.

  • Check if your network settings allow X11 connections.

  • Check if your firewall or antivirus software is blocking X11 traffic.

  • Check if your X11 application is compatible with your XQuartz version.

  • Check the official website of XQuartz for more information and support.

Where can I find more X11 applications for macOS?

There are many sources of X11 applications for macOS, such as:

  • The official website of each application.

  • The MacPorts project, which provides a system for installing open-source software on macOS.

  • The Homebrew project, which provides a system for installing open-source software on macOS.

  • The Fink project, which provides a system for installing open-source software on macOS.


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