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2.5. Installing MySQL on Mac OS X

You can install MySQL on Mac OS X 10.2.x (“Jaguar”) or newer using a Mac OS X binary package in PKG format instead of the binary tarball distribution. Please note that older versions of Mac OS X (for example, 10.1.x) are not supported by this package.

The package is located inside a disk image (.dmg) file that you first need to mount by double-clicking its icon in the Finder. It should then mount the image and display its contents.

To obtain MySQL, see Section 2.1.3, “How to Get MySQL”.

Note: Before proceeding with the installation, be sure to shut down all running MySQL server instances by either using the MySQL Manager Application (on Mac OS X Server) or via mysqladmin shutdown on the command line.

To actually install the MySQL PKG file, double-click on the package icon. This launches the Mac OS X Package Installer, which guides you through the installation of MySQL.

Due to a bug in the Mac OS X package installer, you may see this error message in the destination disk selection dialog:

You cannot install this software on this disk. (null)

If this error occurs, simply click the Go Back button once to return to the previous screen. Then click Continue to advance to the destination disk selection again, and you should be able to choose the destination disk correctly. We have reported this bug to Apple and it is investigating this problem.

The Mac OS X PKG of MySQL installs itself into /usr/local/mysql-VERSION and also installs a symbolic link, /usr/local/mysql, that points to the new location. If a directory named /usr/local/mysql exists, it is renamed to /usr/local/mysql.bak first. Additionally, the installer creates the grant tables in the mysql database by executing mysql_install_db.

The installation layout is similar to that of a tar file binary distribution; all MySQL binaries are located in the directory /usr/local/mysql/bin. The MySQL socket file is created as /tmp/mysql.sock by default. See Section 2.1.5, “Installation Layouts”.

MySQL installation requires a Mac OS X user account named mysql. A user account with this name should exist by default on Mac OS X 10.2 and up.

If you are running Mac OS X Server, a version of MySQL should already be installed. The following table shows the versions of MySQL that ship with Mac OS X Server versions.

Mac OS X Server Version MySQL Version
10.2-10.2.2 3.23.51
10.2.3-10.2.6 3.23.53
10.3 4.0.14
10.3.2 4.0.16
10.4.0 4.1.10a

This manual section covers the installation of the official MySQL Mac OS X PKG only. Make sure to read Apple's help information about installing MySQL: Run the “Help View” application, select “Mac OS X Server” help, do a search for “MySQL,” and read the item entitled “Installing MySQL.

If you previously used Marc Liyanage's MySQL packages for Mac OS X from, you can simply follow the update instructions for packages using the binary installation layout as given on his pages.

If you are upgrading from Marc's 3.23.xx versions or from the Mac OS X Server version of MySQL to the official MySQL PKG, you also need to convert the existing MySQL privilege tables to the current format, because some new security privileges have been added. See Section 5.5.2, “mysql_upgrade — Check Tables for MySQL Upgrade”.

If you want MySQL to start automatically during system startup, you also need to install the MySQL Startup Item. It is part of the Mac OS X installation disk images as a separate installation package. Simply double-click the MySQLStartupItem.pkg icon and follow the instructions to install it.

Note that the Startup Item need be installed only once! There is no need to install it each time you upgrade the MySQL package later.

The Startup Item for MySQL is installed into /Library/StartupItems/MySQLCOM. (Before MySQL 4.1.2, the location was /Library/StartupItems/MySQL, but that collided with the MySQL Startup Item installed by Mac OS X Server.) Startup Item installation adds a variable MYSQLCOM=-YES- to the system configuration file /etc/hostconfig. If you want to disable the automatic startup of MySQL, simply change this variable to MYSQLCOM=-NO-.

On Mac OS X Server, the default MySQL installation uses the variable MYSQL in the /etc/hostconfig file. The MySQL AB Startup Item installer disables this variable by setting it to MYSQL=-NO-. This avoids boot time conflicts with the MYSQLCOM variable used by the MySQL AB Startup Item. However, it does not shut down a running MySQL server. You should do that yourself.

After the installation, you can start up MySQL by running the following commands in a terminal window. You must have administrator privileges to perform this task.

If you have installed the Startup Item use this command:

shell> sudo /Library/StartupItems/MySQLCOM/MySQLCOM start
(Enter your password, if necessary)
(Press Control-D or enter "exit" to exit the shell)

If you don't use the Startup Item, enter the following command sequence:

shell> cd /usr/local/mysql
shell> sudo ./bin/mysqld_safe
(Enter your password, if necessary)
(Press Control-Z)
shell> bg
(Press Control-D or enter "exit" to exit the shell)

You should be able to connect to the MySQL server, for example, by running /usr/local/mysql/bin/mysql.

Note: The accounts that are listed in the MySQL grant tables initially have no passwords. After starting the server, you should set up passwords for them using the instructions in Section 2.9, “Post-Installation Setup and Testing”.

You might want to add aliases to your shell's resource file to make it easier to access commonly used programs such as mysql and mysqladmin from the command line. The syntax for bash is:

alias mysql=/usr/local/mysql/bin/mysql
alias mysqladmin=/usr/local/mysql/bin/mysqladmin

For tcsh, use:

alias mysql /usr/local/mysql/bin/mysql
alias mysqladmin /usr/local/mysql/bin/mysqladmin

Even better, add /usr/local/mysql/bin to your PATH environment variable. For example, add the following line to your $HOME/.bashrc file if your shell is bash:


Add the following line to your $HOME/.tcshrc file if your shell is tcsh:

setenv PATH ${PATH}:/usr/local/mysql/bin

If no .bashrc or .tcshrc file exists in your home directory, create it with a text editor.

If you are upgrading an existing installation, note that installing a new MySQL PKG does not remove the directory of an older installation. Unfortunately, the Mac OS X Installer does not yet offer the functionality required to properly upgrade previously installed packages.

To use your existing databases with the new installation, you'll need to copy the contents of the old data directory to the new data directory. Make sure that neither the old server nor the new one is running when you do this. After you have copied over the MySQL database files from the previous installation and have successfully started the new server, you should consider removing the old installation files to save disk space. Additionally, you should also remove older versions of the Package Receipt directories located in /Library/Receipts/mysql-VERSION.pkg.

  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire