Podman on macOS

Podman logo

It’s time to replace Docker Desktop with Podman on macOS.

Why doing this change?

I don’t need a GUI for running a simple container and I won’t continue to use soemthing that needs root permission during it’s install/upgrade process.

Also with the big change: Docker Desktop no longer free for large companies: New ‘Business’ subscription is here

In addition, I use podman to run containers on my workstation, servers and orchestrator (Nomad) so it’s more logic to uniformize the stack.


The easy way is using Homebrew

brew install podman

Now, we need to setup the machine

In my case, I’ve to customize it:

  • cpu: 2 cores (default: 1)
  • memory: 4 GB (1024 * 4) (default: 2 GB = 2048)
  • Disk: 50 GB (default: 10 GB)
podman machine init --cpus 2 --memory 4096 --disk-size 50

Default values are sufficient if you’re not doing hard work.

I haven’t added a custom name so it’ll use the default podman-machine-default

How to start and stop

I use aliases in my ~/.zshrc

alias docker="podman"
alias podmanstart="podman machine start podman-machine-default"
alias podmanstop="podman machine stop podman-machine-default"

Quick fix

Do I need it?

After starting using podmanstart, we’ll try to use port forwarding:

podman pull docker.io/library/nginx
podman run --rm -d --name nginx -p 8888:80 nginx

If curl fails with this meesage

curl: (7) Failed to connect to port 8888 after 6 ms: Connection refused

You need to apply the fix after doing this clean stop

podman stop nginx
podman rmi  nginx


The fix for port forwarding is adding this lien in ~/.config/containers/containers.conf

rootless_networking = "cni"

All done, you can work correctly and you can replace docker-compose with podman-compose