Download Sql Server Management Studio (ssms) Mac

Here I’ll show you how to install SQL Server on a Mac with VirtualBox running Windows (a free trial edition).

  1. Sql Server Management Studio Download 2012
  2. Download Sql Server Management Studio
  3. Download Sql Server Management Studio (ssms) Mac Os

Countless developers are using SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) to develop & design databases at work. Without any benefit of the doubt – SSMS IDE bundles with several amazing features and tools for developers. Alas, few of us really know valuable features and hidden tips and tricks within SSMS. Definitely, learning these SSMS productivity. I am on Windows so SQL server management studio works fine for me. However, my application is hosted and my client needs to make some entries in DB and he has Mac.

The result of this is that you’ll have both Windows and SQL Server running on your Mac. And because you’re using VirtualBox, switching between macOS and Windows is as easy as switching between any other application.

As mentioned, this method involves Windows. If that scares you, then you might be better off installing SQL Server on your Mac via a Docker container. That method doesn’t involve Windows in any shape or form.

But if you don’t mind using Windows (or if you need to), here are the main steps for installing SQL Server for Windows on your Mac using VirtualBox:

  1. Download and Install VirtualBox
  2. Create a New Virtual Machine (VM)
  3. Download the Windows ISO image
  4. Install Windows
  5. Download and Install SQL Server

Below are more detailed instructions for each of these steps.

Download and Install VirtualBox

  1. The first step is to download VirtualBox from the VirtualBox download page.
  2. Install VirtualBox just as you’d install any other software. Once the .dmg file has downloaded, open it up and double click on the VirtualBox.pkg icon. This opens the installer. Follow the prompts and close the installer once it’s installed.

VirtualBox is virtualization software by Oracle. It allows you to create virtual machines on your computer. This allows you to install other operating systems onto your Mac (or other computer). The benefit of this is that, once you’ve installed another operating system on your Mac, you can run any software that runs on that operating system.

Create a New Virtual Machine (VM)

This is where you create a new virtual machine that you will install Windows on.

  1. Open VirtualBox (via the Applications folder)
  2. Click New
  3. Follow the prompts to the end. Call the virtual machine Windows or Windows 10 or something descriptive. The default settings on each screen should be fine, although it might pay to bump up the memory to around 4GB (or more if you can afford it) when you get to the Memory Size screen. Just be sure to leave enough memory for your host machine.

Once you’ve finished, your new virtual machine will appear in the VirtualBox side panel.

Download the Windows ISO image

Now that we’ve created a virtual machine, we can go ahead and install Windows on that. But first we need to download it.

If you already have access to a fully licensed edition of Windows by all means use that.

Sql Server Management Studio Download 2012

If you intend to keep using Windows (i.e. pay for it), download an ISO file from the Microsoft download page.

Otherwise, you can install a free Windows evaluation trial from the Microsoft Evaluation Center. This allows you to install Windows for free, and trial it for 90 days. If you prefer this option, go to the Evaluation Center and select an edition of Windows to download. Note that the Evaluation Center usually only has the Enterprise Edition and Windows Server.


Once downloaded, move the file to the VirtualBox VMs folder. For example /Users/Bob/VirtualBox VMs/. Or even better, just download the file directly to that folder). This isn’t essential though – if you have another place for the file, go ahead and use that instead.

Install Windows

  1. Double click on your virtual machine in the VirtualBox side panel (like the one with the arrow pointing to it in the above screenshot).
  2. Use the interface to browse to the Windows ISO file that you downloaded, and click Start.
  3. Follow the prompts to install Windows.

Once Windows is installed, the Windows desktop will be displayed.

Download and Install SQL Server


These steps are done using Windows inside the virtual machine you just created (not with your macOS).

  1. Using the Windows VM that you just installed, open up Edge (Microsoft’s web browser) and download the SQL Server installation file from Microsoft’s SQL Server download page (seeing as you’ll be doing this from within the VM, it’s probably easiest to do a web search for “download sql server” or similar, and choosing the official Microsoft website from the results). The Developer edition is fine, but use whichever edition suits you best.
  2. Run the installer file and follow the prompts. This downloads and installs SQL Server.

Once SQL Server has been installed, a screen will appear with Installation has completed successfully! Keep this screen open for now – this screen has a button to install SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). See below for how to install SSMS.

Download and Install SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)

SQL Server Management Studio is a GUI tool from Microsoft that helps you manage SQL Server. SSMS is one of many tools that you can use with SQL Server, so this step is optional. However, if you’re learning how to use SQL Server, you should definitely learn how to use SSMS.

  1. While still on the previous screen (i.e. the one that reads Installation has completed successfully!), click Install SSMS to download SQL Server Management Studio. This opens the SSMS download page in a web browser. Find the download link (it will read Download SQL Server Management Studio 17.6 or similar, depending on the version at the time of download) and click it to download SSMS.
  2. Once downloaded, run the installation file and follow the prompts.

Once SSMS has been installed, you can open it via the Windows Start menu.

When you open SQL Server Management Studio, a connection will need to be established to SQL Server. A connection box will pop up, allowing you to enter your details or confirm the ones that have been pre-populated. Go ahead and click Connect to start using SQL Server.

Optional Extra: Install the VirtualBox Guest Additions

Guest Additions is a free optional extra that can make your life easier when working with your virtual machine. Guest Additions provides closer integration between the virtual machine and the host machine. Guest Additions provides features such as shared folders, time synchronization, mouse pointer integration, and more.

The VirtualBox Guest Additions are installed inside the virtual machine after you’ve installed Windows (or other operating system).

For more information about the Guest Additions, as well as installation instructions, see this Guest Additions help article on the VirtualBox website.

Here I’ll show you how to get SQL Server up and running on your Mac in less than half an hour. And the best part is, you’ll have SQL Server running locally without needing any virtualization software.

Prior to SQL Server 2017, if you wanted to run SQL Server on your Mac, you first had to create a virtual machine (using VirtualBox, Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion, or Bootcamp), then install Windows onto that VM, then finally SQL Server. This is still a valid option depending on your requirements (here’s how to install SQL Server on a Mac with VirtualBox if you’d like to try that method).

Starting with SQL Server 2017, you can now install SQL Server directly on to a Linux machine. And because macOS is Unix based (and Linux is Unix based), you can run SQL Server for Linux on your Mac. The way to do this is to run SQL Server on Docker.

So let’s go ahead and install Docker. Then we’ll download and install SQL Server.


Download Sql Server Management Studio

  1. Install Docker

    Download the (free) Docker Community Edition for Mac (unless you’ve already got it installed on your system). This will enable you to run SQL Server from within a Docker container.

    To download, visit the Docker CE for Mac download page and click Get Docker.

    To install, double-click on the .dmg file and then drag the icon to your Application folder.

    What is Docker?

    Docker is a platform that enables software to run in its own isolated environment. SQL Server (from 2017) can be run on Docker in its own isolated container. Once Docker is installed, you simply download — or “pull” — the SQL Server on Linux Docker Image to your Mac, then run it as a Docker container. This container is an isolated environment that contains everything SQL Server needs to run.

  2. Launch Docker

    Launch Docker the same way you’d launch any other application (eg, via the Applications folder, the Launchpad, etc).

    When you open Docker, you might be prompted for your password so that Docker can install its networking components and links to the Docker apps. Go ahead and provide your password, as Docker needs this to run.

  3. Increase the Memory (optional)

    By default, Docker will have 2GB of memory allocated to it. SQL Server needs at least 2GB. However, it won’t hurt to increase it if you can.

    In my case, I increased it to 4GB.

    To do this, select Preferences from the little Docker icon in the top menu:

    Then finish off by clicking Apply & Restart

  4. Download SQL Server

    Now that Docker is installed, we can download and install SQL Server for Linux.

    Open a Terminal window and run the following command.

    This downloads the latest SQL Server 2019 for Linux Docker image to your computer.

    You can also check for the latest container version on the Docker website if you wish.

  5. Launch the Docker Image

    Run the following command to launch an instance of the Docker image you just downloaded:

    But of course, use your own name and password. Also, if you downloaded a different Docker image, replace with the one you downloaded.

    Here’s an explanation of the parameters:

    -dThis optional parameter launches the Docker container in daemon mode. This means that it runs in the background and doesn’t need its own Terminal window open. You can omit this parameter to have the container run in its own Terminal window.
    --name sql_server_demoAnother optional parameter. This parameter allows you to name the container. This can be handy when stopping and starting your container from the Terminal.
    -e 'ACCEPT_EULA=Y'The Y shows that you agree with the EULA (End User Licence Agreement). This is required in order to have SQL Server for Linux run on your Mac.
    -e 'SA_PASSWORD=reallyStrongPwd123'Required parameter that sets the sa database password.
    -p 1433:1433This maps the local port 1433 to port 1433 on the container. This is the default TCP port that SQL Server uses to listen for connections. tells Docker which image to use. If you downloaded a different one, use it instead.

    Password Strength

    If you get the following error at this step, try again, but with a stronger password.

    I received this error when using reallyStrongPwd as the password (but of course, it’s not a really strong password!). I was able to overcome this by adding some numbers to the end. However, if it wasn’t just a demo I’d definitely make it stronger than a few dictionary words and numbers.

  6. Check the Docker container (optional)

    You can type the following command to check that the Docker container is running.

    If it’s up and running, it should return something like this:

  7. Install sql-cli (unless already installed)

    Run the following command to install the sql-cli command line tool. This tool allows you to run queries and other commands against your SQL Server instance.

    This assumes you have NodeJs installed. If you don’t, download it from first. Installing NodeJs will automatically install npm which is what we use in this command to install sql-cli.

    Permissions Error?

    If you get an error, and part of it reads something like Please try running this command again as root/Administrator, try again, but this time prepend sudo to your command:

  8. Connect to SQL Server

    Now that sql-cli is installed, we can start working with SQL Server via the Terminal window on our Mac.

    Connect to SQL Server using the mssql command, followed by the username and password parameters.

    You should see something like this:

    This means you’ve successfully connected to your instance of SQL Server.

  9. Run a Quick Test

    Run a quick test to check that SQL Server is up and running and you can query it.

    For example, you can run the following command to see which version of SQL Server your running:

    If it’s running, you should see something like this (but of course, this will depend on which version you’re running):

    If you see a message like this, congratulations — SQL Server is now up and running on your Mac!

A SQL Server GUI for your Mac – Azure Data Studio

Azure Data Studio (formerly SQL Operations Studio) is a free GUI management tool that you can use to manage SQL Server on your Mac. You can use it to create and manage databases, write queries, backup and restore databases, and more.

Azure Data Studio is available on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Here are some articles/tutorials I’ve written for Azure Data Studio:

Another Free SQL Server GUI – DBeaver

Another SQL Server GUI tool that you can use on your Mac (and Windows/Linux/Solaris) is DBeaver.

DBeaver is a free, open source database management tool that can be used on most database management systems (such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, SQLite, Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, Sybase, Microsoft Access, Teradata, Firebird, Derby, and more).

Download sql server management studio (ssms) mac os

I wrote a little introduction to DBeaver, or you can go straight to the DBeaver download page and try it out with your new SQL Server installation.

Limitations of SQL Server for Linux/Mac

SQL Server for Linux does have some limitations when compared to the Windows editions (although this could change over time). The Linux release doesn’t include many of the extra services that are available in the Windows release, such as Analysis Services, Reporting Services, etc. Here’s a list of what’s available and what’s not on SQL Server 2017 for Linux and here’s Microsoft’s list of Editions and supported features of SQL Server 2019 on Linux.

Another limitation is that SQL Server Management Studio is not available on Mac or Linux. SSMS a full-blown GUI management for SQL Server, and it provides many more features than Azure Data Studio and DBeaver (at least at the time of writing). You can still use SSMS on a Windows machine to connect to SQL Server on a Linux or Mac machine, but you just can’t install it locally on the Linux or Mac machine.

Download Sql Server Management Studio (ssms) Mac Os

If you need any of the features not supported in SQL Server for Linux, you’ll need SQL Server for Windows. However, you can still run SQL Server for Windows on your Mac by using virtualization software. Here’s how to install SQL Server for Windows on a Mac using VirtualBox.