Setting up QGIS 2.8 on MacOS X 10.10 Yosemite

The wait is finally over: the new QGIS 2.8 “Wien” has finally been released for MacOS as well! Following the (kind of) tradition of my articles showing how to install QGIS 2.6 2.4, and 2.0 on MacOS, I now sat down to write a brief walkthrough for the latest version as well.

Considering the tiny problems with the Java SE 6 runtime I ran into last time with my first QGIS installation on MacOS X 10.10 Yosemite (see here), this installation was probably the easiest and most straight-forward ever. Thanks go out to William Kyngesburye, a.k.a. KyngChaos for this great release! The process follows these easy steps:

If you don’t have it installed already you should start with the GDAL 1.11.2. The installation is as easy as downloading the DMG and installing GDAL from the respective PKG therein. The NumPy package also contained in the GDAL disk image is still the old 1.6.2-1 version from mid-2012, so it’s safe to ignore it for now and install the latest version in the next step.

2. NumPy
NumPy 1.8.0-1, which is the latest version from December 2013, is next, and again it’s as simple as downloading the DMG and installing NumPy from the respective PKG therein.

3. matplotlib
Next we can install matplotlib 1.3.1-2 by, you guessed it, downloading the DMG and installing matplotlib from the respective PKG therein.

Last but not least, the behemoth itself: QGIS 2.8.1-1. Although, to be fair, this release comes in rather petite at a slick 176 MB. As in the other cases we open the DMG file. Therein is a warning by KyngChaos to remove any existing files from your Applications folder, as this might otherwise cause problems for QGIS 2.8. Then we can go on to install from the PKG file. That’s it, we’re done!

That’s the kind of tutorials I myself like the most: blink and you missed that you’re finished. The only annoying thing is still the fact that MacOS’ Gatekeeper refuses to open applications by unidentified developers if you just double-click them – you need to right-click it and select Open instead.

One last word of advice: If you plan on upgrading from QGIS 2.6 to 2.8 two of the three above-mentioned prerequisite packages should already be installed in their latest versions (NumPy 1.8.0-1, and matplotlib 1.3.1-2). But if you skipped a version or only recently upgraded to MacOS X 10.10 Yosemite it can’t hurt to re-install them. The story is a bit different with GDAL 1.11, whose package name doesn’t immediately reveal that there has been an update to from version 1.11.1 to 1.11.2 – so be careful there!

Please let me know in the comments if the installation worked as smoothly for you as it did for me, or whether you ran into any issues.

Also, since you’re still reading, may I point you to a recently started project of mine: it’s called The Spatial Mac, and it’s a news aggregator service for all things spatial on the Mac. Since you’re apparently trying to install QGIS on MacOS I guess it’s safe to assume you’re in the target audience, so it might be worthwhile for you to check by and see if there’s anything interesting for you! Or, even better, you can choose to have your own blog content syndicated by The Spatial Mac to make it known to a broader audience!

But for now, enjoy the new QGIS 2.8 Wien: Alles Walzer!


  1. Thanks for the excellent instruction, but I have problem when opening QGIS.

    Firstly, this message popping up:
     [ERROR] Can not make qgis.db private copy

    Then Python error window comes up:
     Couldn’t load qgis.user.
     Python support will be disabled.
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “”, line 1, in
    File “/Applications/”, line 478, in _import
    mod = _builtin_import(name, globals, locals, fromlist, level)
    File “/Applications/”, line 33, in
    File “/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/”, line 150, in makedirs
    makedirs(head, mode)
    File “/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/”, line 150, in makedirs
    makedirs(head, mode)
    File “/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/”, line 157, in makedirs
    mkdir(name, mode)
    OSError: [Errno 13] Permission denied: ‘/Users/(username)/.qgis2’

    Python version:
    2.7.6 (default, Sep 9 2014, 15:04:36)
    [GCC 4.2.1 Compatible Apple LLVM 6.0 (clang-600.0.39)]

    QGIS version:
    2.8.1-Wien ‘Wien’,

    Python path:
    [‘/Applications/’, u’/Users/(username)/.qgis2/python’, u’/Users/(username)/.qgis2/python/plugins’, ‘/Applications/’, ‘/Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/numpy-override’, ‘/Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/matplotlib-override’, ‘/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/’, ‘/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7’, ‘/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/plat-darwin’, ‘/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/plat-mac’, ‘/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/plat-mac/lib-scriptpackages’, ‘/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/Extras/lib/python’, ‘/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/lib-tk’, ‘/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/lib-old’, ‘/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/lib-dynload’, ‘/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/Extras/lib/python/PyObjC’, ‘/Library/Python/2.7/site-packages’, u’/Users/(username)/.qgis2//python’]

    I deleted all QGIS-related files before installing, and followed the steps you outlined. I use MacBook Pro OS X Yosemite 10.10.2.

    Any idea how to fix this?



    1. kiitoさん

      This might be due to the fact that the QGIS installer creates the .qgis2 folder as root. You could either try deleting (e.g. by sudo rm -rf .qgis2) and recreating it as your local user, or assign it to your local user (e.g. by sudo chown -R yourusername:yourusername .qgis2).



      1. I just had the “Couldn’t load qgis.user. Python support will be disabled.” error, which disallowed me from opening QGIS.

        I want to confirm Konstantin Greger’s solution.
        Entering “sudo rm -rf .qgis2” into my terminal solved the issue.

        For the thread’s information, I have QGIS 2.8.2 Wien installed on my mid-2012 Macbook Air i7 4gb ram laptop. QGIS is now working again!


  2. Thank you for the prompt reply.

    I’ve tried that several times, but still cannot open. I’m not a techie, so I might do something wrong.



    1. Hi Bruce,

      that should be in ~/.qgis. It’s a hidden folder, so you will not be able to see it in Finder. You can either go there by pressing Cmd + Shift + G and enter the path or by using the console. In case you want to delete it you will have to do so as root.

      Let us know how it went.


  3. Hi
    first thanks for this amazing simple instructions.
    Some questions. Right now I have “Wien” version installed on Maverick. If I want to upgrade to Yosemite, Do I have to install all over again including GDAL, numpy… ? Do you, in your experience, recommended OS update?

    Thanks for your time and help.


    1. I’m glad I could help. As for your questions:
      – I do indeed recommend software updates, including OS updates. That said, I myself never upgrade my productive systems to .0 releases but instead always wait for the first bugfix releases. As an example I only recently upgraded to OS X 10.11 El Capitan after release 10.11.1 came out.
      – I can’t really say if an upgrade of OS X will affect your installations of GDAL, numpy, matplotlib etc. I would say there’s a good chance it does, though. But just give it a try, I guess you’ll find out. There’s no harm in doing so, as you can always reinstall said packages again after doing the upgrade.


  4. I have exactly same problem as Kiito. I opened hidden files in terminal
    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
    killall Finder

    I don’t have qgis-folder in my user account (user_jyri) althoug errorcode appears:
    OSError: [Errno 13] Permission denied: ‘/Users/user_jyri/.qgis2’

    And I don’t find qgis-folder anywhere.

    I’m really in trouble, because Python support is disabled. I’ve been studing qgis and working with maps of my 500 km paddling route for couple of weeks and now I should merge tens of layers. And I’m sure, that I will need many other python plugins before my map project is done.

    I would be very appreciative if someone could solve this question.


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