The easiest way to get started with PostgreSQL on the Mac


To install, just drag it to your Applications folder and double click.

You can also start from other locations, but some features may not work.

To use command line tools (like psql) from your Terminal, add’s bin folder to your $PATH:

You can do this with the following command:

sudo mkdir -p /etc/paths.d && echo /Applications/ | sudo tee /etc/paths.d/postgresapp

For more details, see the section on Command Line Tools.

Initializing a PostgreSQL server

By default, configures a server (cluster) with the latest supported version of PostgreSQL. All you need to do is click the “Initialize” button.

A PostgreSQL server (cluster) can have multiple databases. By default, creates a database with the same name as your user name. You can create more databases using the createdb command line tool, or using the CREATE DATABASE SQL command. allows running multiple PostgreSQL servers (clusters) on your Mac. This is especially useful if you want to run multiple versions of PostgreSQL simultaneously.

To add a cluster, click the “+” icon in the sidebar.

Protecting PostgreSQL with a password

The default settings for PostgreSQL allow any app on your computer to connect without a password (“trust” authentication).

To improve security, we recommend protecting all PostgreSQL servers with a password by enabling “scram-sha-256” authentication.

  1. Stop the server
  2. Change the authentication method
    1. Click the “Server Settings…” button
    2. Look for the HBA file and click “Show”
    3. Open the file in a text editor
    4. Replace trust with scram-sha-256
  3. Change passwords (repeat for each user)
    1. Click the “Server Settings…” button
    2. Click the “Change Password…” button
    3. Pick a new password. Don’t use your computer password.
  4. Start the server again

(On PostgreSQL servers before version 14, use md5 instead of scram-sha-256.)

After setting a password, the databases will no longer be shown in

Allowing Network Access

By default, PostgreSQL only allows connections from apps on your computer. Follow these instructions to allow other computers on your network to connect.

  1. Stop the server
  2. Make sure you have a password configured (see above)
  3. Change the listen address
    1. Click the “Server Settings…” button
    2. Find the config file and click “Show”
    3. Open the file in a text editor
    4. Find the listen_addresses setting, remove the leading #, and change the value from 'localhost' to '*'.
  4. Update the HBA file
    1. Click the “Server Settings…” button
    2. Look for the HBA file and click “Show”
    3. Open the file in a text editor
    4. At the bottom, add this line: host all all scram-sha-256 (allow secure authentication with a password for all databases and all users from all IPv4 addresses)
  5. Start the server again

Installing PostgreSQL extensions includes a number of useful extensions. Before you can use them, you need to install them in each database using the CREATE EXTENSION SQL command. includes the following extensions:

For the full list, execute the SQL query select * from pg_available_extensions;

Building custom PostgreSQL extensions

It is also possible to build custom PostgreSQL extensions for

Typically, you just need to make sure the $PATH is configured correctly and that pg_config works, then you can build most extensions with make && make install.

The first time you do this, macOS will show that “Terminal tried to modify an application”. This setting can be changed in System settings / Security.

However, this is an advanced topic and requires some familiarity with Unix build systems.

Installing custom extensions will break the code signature of Currently, macOS verifies the code signature only the first time you launch an application, so as long as you launch before building custom extensions it should work. However, this may change in a future version of macOS.

Custom extensions will be removed when updating, so build them again afterwards.

Important Directories

  • Binaries: /Applications/
  • Headers: /Applications/
  • Libraries: /Applications/
  • Default data directory: ~/Library/Application Support/Postgres/var-XX (XX is the major version of PostgreSQL)


  1. Quit & drag it to the Trash
  2. (Optional) Delete the data directories (default location: ~/Library/Application Support/Postgres)
  3. (Optional) Delete preferences for by executing the following command:
    defaults delete com.postgresapp.Postgres2
  4. (Optional) Remove the $PATH config for the command line tools:
    sudo rm /etc/paths.d/postgresapp