Install neurodesktop on MacOS

Minimum System Requirements

  1. At least 3GB free space for neurodesktop base image
  2. An Intel Mac. M1/ARM Macs are not yet supported.
  3. Docker requirements. Details found under


1. Install Docker

Install Docker from here:

Docker for MacOS by default runs with 2GB Memory. For actual workloads, 4GB Memory minimum for docker is highly recommended

  1. Open the Docker Desktop and Navigate to the Resources tab. Instructions found at

  2. Increase the Memory slider from 2.00 GB to 4.00 GB (or greater)

  3. Increase Swap slider from 1GB to 2GB (or greater)

2. Run Neurodesktop

Create a local folder where the downloaded applications will be stored, e.g. ~/neurodesktop-storage

  1. Open a terminal, and type the folowing command to automatically download the neurodesktop container and run it
docker run --shm-size=1gb -it --privileged --name neurodesktop -v ~/neurodesktop-storage:/neurodesktop-storage -p 8080:8080 -h neurodesktop-20221216 vnmd/neurodesktop:20221216

if you get errors in neurodesktop then check if the ~/neurodesktop-storage directory is writable to all users, otherwise run chmod a+rwx ~/neurodesktop-storage

  1. Once neurodesktop is downloaded i.e. guacd[77]: INFO: Listening on host, port 4822 is displayed in terminal, leave the terminal open and neurodesktop running (i.e., do not press CTRL+C)

  2. Open a browser and go to:

  1. Press on “Desktop Auto-Resolution” under “ALL CONNECTIONS”

  2. If it is the first time you use Neruodesktop, wait until the desktop appears (it may take a few seconds). Otherwise, it should appear instantaneously.

  3. Neurodesk is ready to use! Click “What’s next?” on the left of this page for further instructions.

Deleting neurodesktop:

When done processing your data it is important to stop and remove the container - otherwise the next start or container update will give an error ("… The container name “/neurodesktop” is already in use…")

  1. Click on the terminal from which you ran neurodesktop

  2. Press control-C

  3. Type:

docker stop neurodesktop
  1. Type:
docker rm neurodesktop

Using an RDP Client

Startup Neurodesktop using the following command:

docker run --shm-size=1gb -it --privileged --name neurodesktop -v ~/neurodesktop-storage:/neurodesktop-storage -p 3390:3389 -p 8080:8080 -h neurodesktop-20221216 vnmd/neurodesktop:20221216

Open your RDP client and connect to Computer localhost:3390

Use the following details to login if prompted

username: user
password: password

Using VNC

To enable VNC and disable RDP, startup Neurodesktop using the following command:

docker run --shm-size=1gb -it --privileged --name neurodesktop -v ~/neurodesktop-storage:/neurodesktop-storage -e VNC_ENABLE=true -p 8080:8080 -h neurodesktop-20221216 vnmd/neurodesktop:20221216

Using a VNC Client

Startup Neurodesktop using the following command:

docker run --shm-size=1gb -it --privileged --name neurodesktop -v ~/neurodesktop-storage:/neurodesktop-storage -e VNC_ENABLE=true -p 5901:5901 -p 8080:8080 -h neurodesktop-20221216 vnmd/neurodesktop:20221216

Open a VNC Client and connect to port 5901