I am super new to the mac.

So I have a brand new Mac (Big Sur) and I have downloaded Helm. Extracting this archive file is enough to install this kind of applications but I don't know where to put it in my folder structure. Is it /etc or /usr or /var or home folder? I am curious about the best practice on this one. I checked the internet but couldn't find a satisfactory answer. Thanks in advance and sorry if this is too dummy of a question.


In general self-installed UI applications should go to /Applications, unix-level binaries/applications to /usr/local (see Where should shell tools be installed? and I downloaded a shell executable and man pages from a source I trust. Where should I put them?). But can spare yourself a lot of hassle by using a package manager for this, mainly Homebrew or MacPorts (using both at once is possible but requires additional configuration steps).


Helm seems to available on Homebrew already, so

  • Install Homebrew as described on the site
  • Install Helm with brew install helm
  • To get older versions of Helm follow the instructions in this discussion

This will install Helm (and any other installation you do via Homebrew) beneath /usr/local (for Intel) or /opt/homebrew (for Apple Silicon). /usr/local/bin most probably is already in your path, /opt/homebrew/bin needs to be added manually.


Macports has several versions of helm available port search helm and a helm select port to switch between them.

  • Install Macports Get the dmg Disk Image for your version of MacOS and run the installer from that.

Part of the installer can update your path in your shell startup files i.e. adding /opt/local/bin to your $PATH

To build things you will also need Xcode (now from the App Store) and install command line tools xcode-select --install and for current OS Agree to Xcode license in Terminal: sudo xcodebuild -license . However macports does download binaries in most cases so how much of this is needed could differ.

  • install port e.g. For Helm 3.3 sudo port install helm-3.3

Add the select port sudo port install helm-select This will allow you to choose which version of helm that will appear on your path.

  • Thanks a lot for the detailed answer. In my case, I had to install an older version of Helm which is why I didn't want to go for Homebrew. I don't if it is possible with Homebrew or not? – leventunver Jan 11 at 11:03
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    @leventunver AFAIK you can use Homebrew to install older versions. I've never done this, but github.com/Homebrew/discussions/discussions/… gives an idea. There may be other Q&As on this on github.com/Homebrew as well. – nohillside Jan 11 at 11:07
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    Macports has several versions of helm and also a helm_select to allow you to switch between them – mmmmmm Jan 11 at 12:48
  • @mmmmmm I have no experience with MacPorts, but feel free to provide a separate answer or edit mine. – nohillside Jan 11 at 12:56
  • @nohillside done - but I think we would be much better if we just said install macports or homebrew or fink and did not give the full details each time as this just repeats a lot of text each time - a link to the installation instructions should suffice. It gets complex to list all the alternatives of installation for each version of OSX going back to Tiger as they do differ. Also doesn't Homebrew also need Xcode? – mmmmmm Jan 11 at 13:11

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