I am an IT guy in an all Mac school and our SIS has provided a backup of our data but it is a MS SQL backup file. All I want to do is read it. Are there any good apps for reading MS SQL backup files on mac? Thanks!

You can see that I selected the correct answer below, but for the future reader, it was this step by step article that walked me through it and made the whole things easy:


  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Also, answers shouldn’t be in comments. Make them answers. Even wrong or partial answers help us all get to a solution - please and thanks.
    – bmike
    Mar 30, 2020 at 22:28

2 Answers 2


If you have or install Docker on your Mac, you can install Microsoft SQL Server in Docker from:


When you have the server running locally, you can install the free Azure Data Studio for macOS from here:


That is a graphical tool that will let you for example restore the backup file you have received. You can then export the data in the format you need to continue working with it with other tools.

  • I have never used Docker but I am happy to give it a go. Is the Docker Desktop for Mac what I need? docs.docker.com/docker-for-mac/install
    – zeeple
    Mar 30, 2020 at 21:45
  • Yes, that will do!
    – jksoegaard
    Mar 30, 2020 at 21:46
  • This answer was just what I needed. Thanks!!
    – zeeple
    Mar 31, 2020 at 2:32

No. Beg, borrow or rent a MS SQL and next time have them export in SQL text or work with you on a better format.

Since they want you to read the data, I would see if you can use this awesome Mac app to just connect and run your report, look or export to a better format using Mac native tools.

If that fails, the fastest and cheapest avenue to MS SQL is a $200 free trial in azure. https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/free/

Also, you can manage sql directly from Mac with Code. This might help reading the dumps or csv

Hopefully someone will have a better recommendation, but Azure is super cost effective as you can power off the VM as soon as you’re done and the storage costs are very reasonable once you export the data to a storage bucket. Hopefully your time budget is high even though your funds budget is low.

  • Question: can they, as owners and operators of an MS SQL db, export my data into a format that is readable on a mac? Do they have the option to dump all the tables to CSV, for example?
    – zeeple
    Mar 30, 2020 at 16:40
  • @zeeple yes. There is even a wizard to help (if you’re into that sort of thing) docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/integration-services/… you should install VS code on Mac as well.
    – bmike
    Mar 30, 2020 at 20:50
  • SQL ProStudio only allows you to connect to remote databases, not reading .bak files from MSSQL. Dec 20, 2022 at 20:02

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