Installing a Binary Distribution

The easiest way to install Nix is to run the following command:

$ curl -L | sh

This will run the installer interactively (causing it to explain what it is doing more explicitly), and perform the default "type" of install for your platform:

  • single-user on Linux

  • multi-user on macOS

    Notes on read-only filesystem root in macOS 10.15 Catalina +

    • It took some time to support this cleanly. You may see posts, examples, and tutorials using obsolete workarounds.
    • Supporting it cleanly made macOS installs too complex to qualify as single-user, so this type is no longer supported on macOS.

We recommend the multi-user install if it supports your platform and you can authenticate with sudo.

Single User Installation

To explicitly select a single-user installation on your system:

$ curl -L | sh -s -- --no-daemon

This will perform a single-user installation of Nix, meaning that /nix is owned by the invoking user. You can run this under your usual user account or root. The script will invoke sudo to create /nix if it doesn’t already exist. If you don’t have sudo, you should manually create /nix first as root, e.g.:

$ mkdir /nix
$ chown alice /nix

The install script will modify the first writable file from amongst .bash_profile, .bash_login and .profile to source ~/.nix-profile/etc/profile.d/ You can set the NIX_INSTALLER_NO_MODIFY_PROFILE environment variable before executing the install script to disable this behaviour.

Multi User Installation

The multi-user Nix installation creates system users, and a system service for the Nix daemon.

Supported Systems

  • Linux running systemd, with SELinux disabled
  • macOS

You can instruct the installer to perform a multi-user installation on your system:

$ curl -L | sh -s -- --daemon

The multi-user installation of Nix will create build users between the user IDs 30001 and 30032, and a group with the group ID 30000. You can run this under your usual user account or root. The script will invoke sudo as needed.


If you need Nix to use a different group ID or user ID set, you will have to download the tarball manually and edit the install script.

The installer will modify /etc/bashrc, and /etc/zshrc if they exist. The installer will first back up these files with a .backup-before-nix extension. The installer will also create /etc/profile.d/

macOS Installation

We believe we have ironed out how to cleanly support the read-only root on modern macOS. New installs will do this automatically.

This section previously detailed the situation, options, and trade-offs, but it now only outlines what the installer does. You don't need to know this to run the installer, but it may help if you run into trouble:

  • create a new APFS volume for your Nix store
  • update /etc/synthetic.conf to direct macOS to create a "synthetic" empty root directory to mount your volume
  • specify mount options for the volume in /etc/fstab
    • rw: read-write
    • noauto: prevent the system from auto-mounting the volume (so the LaunchDaemon mentioned below can control mounting it, and to avoid masking problems with that mounting service).
    • nobrowse: prevent the Nix Store volume from showing up on your desktop; also keeps Spotlight from spending resources to index this volume
  • if you have FileVault enabled
    • generate an encryption password
    • put it in your system Keychain
    • use it to encrypt the volume
  • create a system LaunchDaemon to mount this volume early enough in the boot process to avoid problems loading or restoring any programs that need access to your Nix store

Installing a pinned Nix version from a URL

Version-specific installation URLs for all Nix versions since 1.11.16 can be found at The corresponding SHA-256 hash can be found in the directory for the given version.

These install scripts can be used the same as usual:

$ curl -L<version>/install | sh

Installing from a binary tarball

You can also download a binary tarball that contains Nix and all its dependencies. (This is what the install script at does automatically.) You should unpack it somewhere (e.g. in /tmp), and then run the script named install inside the binary tarball:

$ cd /tmp
$ tar xfj nix-1.8-x86_64-darwin.tar.bz2
$ cd nix-1.8-x86_64-darwin
$ ./install

If you need to edit the multi-user installation script to use different group ID or a different user ID range, modify the variables set in the file named install-multi-user.