I've installed Emacs via Homebrew. The version that got installed is 25.3.1. It was installed as the file whose full path is /usr/local/bin/emacs. When I execute


at a Terminal window, Emacs starts inside the self-same window as a console application. How can I cause it to start as a GUI application?

The answer given here won't work, because the version of Emacs installed as /Applications/Emacs is 25.1.1 .

macOS Sierra Version 10.12.6

  • If you don't like the end result of what other answers posted, you can just try xemacs instead :) – Sridhar Sarnobat Dec 18 '19 at 23:22

Did you follow the install instructions in the wiki?


Basically, you need to install it with cocoa, it adds the GUI support.

$ brew install emacs --with-cocoa

If you are willing to use spacemacs, then they recommend installing emacs-plus. https://github.com/syl20bnr/spacemacs

$ brew tap d12frosted/emacs-plus
$ brew install emacs-plus
$ brew linkapps emacs-plus
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  • Thank you so much! Where is it recommended to install emacs-plus? – Evan Aad Oct 14 '17 at 15:23
  • 1
    If you use Spacemacs on OSX, the documentation suggest you install emacs-plus. – NoamStolero Oct 14 '17 at 15:26

According to Emacswiki "Homebrew has Emacs 26.1 as of January 2019" and "Homebrew now recommends to use the cask version".

The message that Homebrew gives is "Please try the Cask for a better-supported Cocoa version".

I tried --with-cocoa myself in February 2019 and is not supported any more.

linkapps also doesn't work any more.

Use this command to install Emacs with Cocoa.

brew cask install emacs

This works for Emacs 26.1 upwards.

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  • Thanks. What is your answer based on? Could you link to a source, please? – Evan Aad Feb 12 '19 at 19:06
  • Added some sources :) – ayckoster Feb 13 '19 at 8:29
  • Great. Thanks. +1 – Evan Aad Feb 13 '19 at 12:11
  • Same experience as ayckoster. Confirming that it worked for me a/o Apr 30. 2019. – tomilchik Apr 30 '19 at 15:06

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