Docker Desktop for Mac vs Docker Toolbox

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There are many tools available for Docker. Docker-Toolbox and Docker-Desktop-for-Mac are 2 methods to install Docker tool on your macOS.

Docker Toolbox

Docker toolbox installs Docker Machine and Virtualbox so you can run containers inside a Linux VM run by the Virtualbox hypervisor. The Virtualbox VM has a separate IP address so you have to tell the Docker command line tools to talk to the VM using the docker-machine env command. There is no GUI, just docker-machine commands.

Docker Desktop for Mac

Docker Desktop for Mac runs containers inside a Linux VM run using Mac OS X’s built in hypervisor, xhyve. It also shares the Mac’s network interface with the VM in a clever way so that networking is much simpler. There is no need to run docker-machine commands any more. It also has a nice GUI for managing Docker for Mac, and it’s much easier to mount Mac file systems inside containers.

Docker Desktop for Mac is much simpler, higher performance option for running Linux containers on macOS. Virtualbox is a pretty poor hypervisor and xhyve is much more efficient. You can have both Docker Toolbox and Docker for Mac installed on the same Mac and both will work, I just prefer Docker Desktop for Mac because it’s really simple to use!

Note: Docker Toolbox is a legacy desktop solution for older MacOS and Windows systems that do not meet the requirements of Docker for Mac and Docker for Windows.


Install Docker Desktop for Mac

Install Docker Toolbox on Mac

Install Docker Desktop for Windows

Install Docker Toolbox on Windows