How to install GIMP on your Mac

To run GIMP on your Mac you need to have

  1. *the latest version of Mac OS X for your system. (Tiger: 10.4.11, Leopard: 10.5.8, Snow Leopard: 10.6.4 or higher, Lion: 10.7.0 or higher, Mountain Lion: 10.8.0)

  2. *XQuartz installed

Install GIMP by simply dragging it out of the *.dmg file you‘ve downloaded and drop it into your Applications folder. And, I strongly recommend that you read the file ,Important notes.rft‘, which is included in the *.dmg.

And one more thing ...

GIMP 2.8.0 now requires XQuartz

GIMP 2.8.0 for SnowLeopard, Lion and Mountain Lion systems now depends on XQuartz.

GIMP will detect if you have XQuartz installed, and if not, it will offer you a choice to download and install it.

If you want to install XQuartz on your own, download at least version 2.7.2 from . After installing, please log out and log in again to activate XQuartz.

For Leopard and Tiger systems, please make sure that you have X11 installed.

Most problems, not to say all problems, about GIMP not starting, are because you don‘t have X11 installed on your Mac.

On Leopard systems, X11 is installed by default on every system. It‘s located in the „/Applications/Utilities“ folder. If you don't have X11 installed, then you (or the person who installed Leoaprd on your system) has explicitly deselected it during the installation of Leopard. If so, then just install X11. It's on your Installation DVD in the "Optional Installs" folder. On Tiger systems, you always need to install X11 separately. Again, it‘s on your Installation DVD.

After you've installed X11, run a Software Update to get the latest X11 version. This is  2.1.6 for Leopard and 1.1.3 for Tiger systems. After you've installed X11 and ran a Software Update, GIMP will launch as expected.

First time launching GIMP

The first time you launch GIMP, it will take some time, because GIMP searches for fonts, so please be patient.



There‘s much information out there about GIMP, it‘s usage, plugins and many tutorials.

For Mac OS X specific details, a good starting point may be the varous forums about GIMP on OS X.


For Developers

If you want to help to improve our build system or contribute in any other way to GIMP on OS X, feel free to contact me either via the sourceforge forums or drop me a line to < skl at lisanet dot de >

There are currently some basic informations and tools which are used to manage the build process of GIMP. You find them in the Developer section of this site.

Bug reports, patches and feature requests

Besides the varoius forums, for bug reports, patches and feature requests of GIMP on OS X please use the

Bug Tracking system on Sourceforge.


Simone ( skl at lisanet dot de )


Sourceforge Forums

The Sourceforge project page hosts various forums for GIMP on OS X, covering topics about Help, Open Discussion and Development. forums is the home of the wilber-loves-apple forum, where you can find many useful information about GIMP on Macs.

Support Forums

This project‘s files are hosted on Sourceforge


SourceForge Project

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