How to Run Homebrew & x86 Terminal Apps on M1 Macs

Nov 18, 2020 - 5 Comments

Mac Terminal icon

If you’re one of the early adopters who acquired an M1 Apple Silicon Mac and find that Homebrew and many other x86 terminal apps don’t yet have support for the new Arm architecture, you’ll be happy to know there’s a fairly simple workaround.

The trick is to run a parallel Terminal application through Rosetta. And yes that means you’ll need to install Rosetta on the Apple Silicon Mac first, if you haven’t done so already.

How to Run x86 Homebrew & Terminal Apps on Apple Silicon Macs

Here’s the workaround until native support arrives:

  1. Locate the Terminal application within the Utilities folder (Finder > Go menu > Utilities)
  2. Select and right-click on it, then choose “Duplicate”
  3. Rename the duplicated Terminal app something obvious and distinct, like ‘Rosetta Terminal’
  4. Now select the freshly renamed ‘Rosetta Terminal’ app and right-click and choose “Get Info” (or hit Command+i)
  5. Check the box for “Open using Rosetta”, then close the Get Info window
  6. Run the “Rosetta Terminal” as usual, which will fully support Homebrew and other x86 command line apps

You’ll want to do this even if you’re installing Homebrew onto the M1 Mac, at least until a native version of Homebrew is available.

Homebrew is a fantastic utility with a variety of great packages for more advanced Mac users and those accustomed to the command line.

Presumably in the not distant future, Homebrew will be updated to support ARM and Apple Silicon natively, but for the time being, use this workaround to get your x86 and Homebrew terminal apps working just fine on your new M1 Apple Silicon Mac, be it a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or Mac mini.

This handy workaround was detailed by, so thanks to them for the discovery.

Do you know of another approach to get x86 terminal apps running on a new Apple Silicon Mac? Share with us in the comments below!


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Command Line, Mac OS, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


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  1. David Garratt says:

    If I have .sh build script which runs some x86 command line tools and some Apple Silicon arm native tools – how would I switch between rosetta 2 mode and regular mode depending on what I am executing ?

    Thanks in advance


    • Otey says:

      Terminal should figure it out on it’s own without any involvement

      FWIW it may be ported to ARM native with Homebrew, update the packages there

  2. Caris says:

    Thank you @Guin. That worked for me. Although I did not need to install Rosetta. When I tried I actually got an error saying “Installing Rosetta 2 on this system is not supported”.

  3. Tom says:

    Thanks for the tip! I actually had to do this just to get terminal to work properly. I found that attempting to do tab completion on the command line or certain keystrokes when using vi would cause all my terminals to lock up.

  4. Guin Evere says:

    You can also first install Rosetta

    Then install homebrew with arch

    arch -x86_64 /bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

    Then to install packages use arch again like so

    arch -x86_64 brew install packagename

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