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Install Apt-get on Mac: Possibilities & Best Equivalent

Updated on Sunday, October 8, 2023

iBoysoft author Jenny Zeng

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Jenny Zeng
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Can you install Apt-get on Mac? Fix 'apt-get install command not found'

Summary: Getting "sudo apt-get: command not found" in Terminal? This article from iBoysoft explains what apt-get is, whether you can install apt-get on Mac, and the best equivalent of apt-get on Mac.

Install apt get on Mac

If you're a Linux user familiar with apt-get, you may tend to use it on macOS as well. Unfortunately, apt-get is not available on macOS, and running it in Terminal will only return errors.

For instance, if you execute "apt-get install python-setuptools" to install Python on Mac, you'll receive the error "apt-get: command not found."

The error that reads apt get command not found on Mac

But that doesn't mean you can't revel in the convenience of easy software management on macOS. Here, we'll explore the best equivalent to apt-get on macOS and help you install it.

Table of Contents:

What is apt-get?

Apt-get is a powerful command-line tool used for package management in the Debian Linux distribution. It's part of the APT (Advanced Package Tool) system, which handles the installation, removal, and updating of software packages from specific online databases.

what is apt get

Its primary strength is that it can automatically detect and install software dependencies that are necessary to the software you want to install. In more recent versions of Debian and its derivatives, the apt command has replaced apt-get as a more user-friendly alternative.


How to install apt-get on Mac? Best equivalent!

As we explained before, apt-get is exclusive to Debian-based Linux distributions. Therefore, you can't install it on a Mac unless you're running a Linux distribution based on Debian.

If the software you want to work with is Linux-specific, you can take some time to install a Debian-based Linux distribution on your Mac with a virtual machine tool.

Otherwise, it's highly recommended to use a package manager for macOS instead. With such a supported package management tool, you can resolve the "apt-get command not found" issue as well.

The most popular equivalent of apt-get on a Mac is Homebrew. Its repository shares a significant amount of software with apt-get's, including Python, Git, wget, Vim, Node.js, CMake, GCC, GDB, SQLite, OpenSSL, etc. That being said, you can use Homebrew to install the software on macOS as you would otherwise with apt-get on a Linux machine.

The equivalent of apt gpt install on Mac

To install (the equivalent of apt-get) Homebrew on your Mac, continue reading this tutorial: How to Install Homebrew on Mac: A Comprehensive Guide

Once Homebrew is installed, you can use the following commands to manage the software you need but Apple doesn't offer.

apt-get CommandDescriptionHomebrew Equivalent
apt-get updateFetch and update the package lists from repositoriesbrew update
apt-get install <package-name>Install a specific packagebrew install <package-name>
apt-get remove <package-name>Remove a specific package without removing its configuration filesbrew uninstall <package-name>
apt-get purge <package-name>Remove a specific package and its configuration filesbrew uninstall <package-name>
apt-get upgradeUpgrade all packages to the newest available versionbrew upgrade
apt-get autoremoveRemove packages that were automatically installed to satisfy dependencies and are no longer neededbrew cleanup
apt-get cleanClear downloaded archive filesbrew cleanup
dpkg -lList all installed packagesbrew list
apt-cache search <term>Search for a package by its name or descriptionbrew search <term>

Now that you know the alternative to install apt-get on Mac, don't forget to share it with other users!


FAQs about apt-get


No, apt is only available on Debian-based Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu or Pop!_OS.


The equivalent of apt-get install on Mac is brew install.


You can't install apt in Terminal but you can use its macOS equivalent, Homebrew.


Apt should be pre-installed on your Linux computer, as it's a fundamental part of the system's package management. However, if you're using an RPM-based Linux distribution like Fedora, or CentOS, you should use yum or dnf instead.