Is anyone successfully running a windowed emacs, (not terminal emacs), on one of the new Mac M1s?

Does this port work? https://emacsformacosx.com

Is there another?

  • emacsformacosx.com is a reliable distribution and has been around for several years, and there are also bleeding edge builds available from that maintainer. If you want to build Emacs yourself (with some help), then most people seem to gravitate towards homebrew ... there is lots of information on Google about how to install Emacs using the latter, including some threads in this forum. Go ahead and give emacsformacosx.com a try. If you don't like it after trying it, then just move it to the trash folder. I personally prefer to build Emacs from source (assembly required). – lawlist Nov 25 '20 at 21:12

Yes. The Emacs from macsformacosx.com works in GUI mode on the Mac M1. It is running in x86 emulation mode, not native ARM mode, but it works.

I plan to try some of the other versions later (Mitsuharu's version, homebrew version, nativecomp version) but since this one works I'm going to use it for now.

  • Thank you. That’s what I wanted to know. – Rich Pixley Nov 26 '20 at 22:56
  • I've run into issues with vterm, which wants to compile C code into a dynamically linked module. It doesn't know about arm vs x86 and has compile errors. I haven't used emacs yet much on this machine so I may run into other issues as I start using it for real work. – amitp Nov 27 '20 at 21:28
  • Also good news: the Mitsuharu version of emacs does compile for ARM, with a few minor patches (see the work branch). However I can't get dynamically loaded modules like vterm to work in it. – amitp Nov 29 '20 at 1:46
  • 1
    Update: the Mitsuharu version does work with modules like vterm. I have switched to it because the emacsformacosx.com version was flickering when I used lsp-mode, and the Mitsuharu version didn't flicker. – amitp Jan 8 at 17:39

Yes, https://emacsformacosx.com works on the M1 Macs. However, it does also require that you override the security preferences regarding app identity when you have downloaded and installed the package, immediately after running it.

  1. Run the application.
  2. When you get the error about the app not being signed by an identified developer, immediately open System Preferences, Security & Privacy, and say you wish to open the application.

Mac OS Security & Privacy preferences picture

Editorial note: because I don't have 50 reputation, I am not allowed to comment on the answer, which I believe already answered the question. I think it would have been more appropriate to comment with a clarification, rather than having to enter a completely new answer.


I have this working as well, from both the dock UI and commandline entry points. To get the commandline entry point to work, I had to run emacs from a rosetta-enabled terminal, e.g.

Setup a rosetta2 terminal profile


In that terminal, start up emacs like this:



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