How do I install "R" on macOS? Ideally using Homebrew?

There seems to be very little information online.


7 Answers 7


Install Homebrew (if needed)

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"

Install R

brew tap homebrew/science
brew install r
  • 7
    Indeed, Homebrew should automatically install all required dependencies.
    – grg
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 12:21
  • 1
    With this method are you able to install packages from CRAN? I was unable to get packages from CRAN to install correctly when I installed R using brew. When I switched to a copy of R downloaded directly from CRAN, my problems went away. Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 21:41
  • 1
    Warning: r installed this way may not cooperate with RStudio. Commented Dec 26, 2014 at 16:49
  • 3
    @PiotrMigdal Currently (April 2017) it works with RStudio again.
    – xji
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 14:43
  • 4
    I got Error: homebrew/science was deprecated. This tap is now empty as all its formulae were migrated. while trying out brew tap homebrew/science
    – Daniel
    Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 12:10

Assuming you just want to install “R” on OS X and are not interested in homebrew:

Just download the binary from CRAN https://cloud.r-project.org/

  1. Go to http://www.r-project.org/
  2. Click CRAN
  3. Select a mirror
  4. Click "download R for (Mac) OS X"
  5. Download and install the latest pkg binary

See also the R for Mac OSX FAQ that includes information on installation.

Note also the comments below suggesting that homebrew is often not the best option.

  • 7
    Installing Yosemite (re)moved my old R, and I wanted it back. I initially thought to install R using brew, but after following the instructions on this page I ended up with a trainwreck that didn't work correctly and took a while to remove. Not to mention that it ran for hours overnight installing gcc and lots of other things I didn't need or want. After clearing up and hoping "brew doctor" was right, I when to CRAN and downloaded the installer and within 5 minutes had a fully working R with no fuss at all. All I had to do was re-source my terminal. I should have used CRAN first.
    – Fran K.
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 12:33
  • Was your old R under Yosemite installed using brew as well?
    – jfoo
    Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 21:25
  • 15
    +25: Just install via r-project.org package. I am a brew fan, but it was NOT the right way to install R in my case because of gcc dependency catastrophe; save yourself.
    – hoc_age
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 15:48
  • 2
    +1 for your "+25" -- if you're going to get serious with R and take advantage of all it has to offer, choose this answer.
    – jbnunn
    Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 15:25
  • 1
    If only there were a brew cask for this!
    – Dennis
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 9:22

After following Matt Burns' answer, you can also install the R.app GUI via brew cask:

$ brew tap caskroom/cask
$ brew cask install r-app
$ open /Applications/R.app
  • 3
    Thanks. One thing, though: You might want to edit the last line in your script so that it reads brew linkapps r-gui instead of merely brew linkapps.
    – Steve S
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 18:45
  • this failed miserably for me. Ended up just following this tutorial on youtube youtube.com/watch?v=Tnhp65hxtZc
    – A Person
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 15:26
  • 1
    I get the following error, if I try to execute brew install r-gui: Error: No available formula with the name "r-gui". It was migrated from homebrew/science to caskroom/cask/r-app. You can access it again by running: "brew tap caskroom/cask"..
    – user90775
    Commented Feb 26, 2018 at 11:28
  • 1
    As of 2019/04/14: Jasons-MacBook-Pro:20190402_Tuesday_PM_captures harrison$ brew cask install r-app Error: Cask 'r-app' is unavailable: No Cask with this name exists. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 4:08

You can download R for Mac OS X simply from here : http://cran.cnr.berkeley.edu

Hit the button : Download R for (Mac) OS X

Install the PKG file that came in the download.

This website might help to go ahead and download home-brew / install home brew as well.



I'm a fan of RStudio. It's an IDE that wraps R, makes visualization, organization, debugging, and other tasks much easier. Or, you can just use it as if it were a simple install of R. There's a Mac binary available from that website.

  • 2
    To use Rstudio, you first have to install R…
    – Jemus42
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 7:44
  • 1
    I'm pretty sure RStudio ships with a version of R, but it may not be the most recent version. When I did it it was several versions behind the current one. You then need a separate installation of R to be current.
    – BondedDust
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 14:41
  • Beginners should definitely use RStudio. Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 19:47

I stumbled onto this trying to install R in general and I ended up using MacPorts. If your using MacPorts, try

sudo port install R

Taken from http://johnlaudun.org/20140721-install-r-with-macports/


1.- http://cran.r-project.org/bin/macosx/ and download in Mac-GUI-1.62.tar.gz. 2.- INSTALL

You need R built and installed as a framework: see the 'R Installation and Administration Manual'. A CRAN binary install of R suffices.

Building R.app

Only Mac OS X 10.6 and higher are supported, and only 64-bit R. The project is called "R.xcodeproj" and requires Xcode 3.2 or higher.

The project can be built by selecting "R" target and "Build" inside the XCode GUI.

Supported configurations are: SnowLeopard64 (release, current OS X, default) Lion64 (release, OS X 10.7+, Xcode 4.5+) MLion64 (release, OS X 10.8+, Xcode 4.5+) Debug (with debugging output, current OS X)

The configurations differ mainly in the SDK selected (recent versions of Xcode only support the current and immediately previous SDKs, so for example in Mar 2013 the default would build for 10.8, but configuration Lion64 allows building for >= 10.7).

To build the project from the command line in the Mac-GUI directory use something like: xcodebuild -target R -configuration SnowLeopard64

To build the R for Mac OS X FAQ use either xcodebuild -target Docs or manually in docs folder makeinfo -D UseExternalXrefs --html --force --no-split RMacOSX-FAQ.texi

The resulting html FAQ file will be found in Mac-GUI/docs directory.

Note about binary compatibility:

The general rules for R apply, that is binary compatibility is given only if the major and minor version numbers match - only the patch level may differ. When using the X.Y.Z version form it means that X.Y must match. For example R-GUIs linked to 3.0.x and 3.1.x are NOT binary compatible.

The compiled R.app is usually bound to a specific version, such as 3.0.1. If you upgrade R removing the older version, let's say using R.app built for 3.0.0 and updating R to 3.0.1, you may need to fix the absolute path to libR.dylib. The nightly builds use a generic path /Library/Frameworks/R.framework/Resources/lib/libR.dylib which points to the latest version of R, but this is done by an additional call to install_name_tool in the building script. Release versions of the GUI use a fixed-version path as they come with a specific R version (in fact the default behavior doesn't depends on the GUI, but on libR.dylib - changing its own reference entry changes the way R.app is linked).

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