Replace Docker Desktop with Rancher Desktop and Docker daemon on Mac in 5 mins

Akshay Jain
2 min readJan 19, 2022

Docker Desktop would no longer remain a free product for large organizations above a certain size. Larger techs with revenue greater than $10 million would be able to afford Docker Desktop’s $5 per user/month starter pricing. This post does in no way discourages organizations from paying and I believe that Docker Inc. has all the rights to monetize its product.

With the disclaimer out of the way, let us, deep-dive, into an easy replacement.


A. uninstall Docker Desktop

B. install Rancher Desktop and choose dockerd as container runtime

C. install docker utilities

Let’s start

A. To uninstall Docker Desktop from your Mac:

  1. From the Docker menu, select Troubleshoot and then select Uninstall.
  2. Click Uninstall to confirm your selection.

B. Installing Rancher Desktop

Visit the installation page and choose the application as per your mac’s processor

For intel, chip select the app with the name:

For the m1 chip, select the app with name: Rancher.Desktop-1.0.0-beta.1.aarch64.dmg

While installing it will ask you to select the container run time

rancher-desktop dashboard

Choose dockerd (moby) as your container runtime. This is the same as docker cli we have been using with Docker Desktop

After you have installed Rancher Desktop it will ask for folder access permission and it will automatically install kubernetes

You can increase the memory and CPU in the Kubernetes Settings section depending on the number of containers you need to run, or if there is a failure while running your containers, you may check by increasing resources and restarting the system.

C. Installing Docker Utilities

We had uninstalled Docker Desktop, so it uninstalled docker utility as well, we need to install it back, we will use homebrew

>> brew install docker
>> brew install docker-compose

Now we are good to use docker cli, go to your project with docker-compose file and run docker-compose up

In case you face credential error related to docker-credentials-desktop

we need to modify a file in the home folder as below to skip that error

>> cd ~
>> cat .docker/config.json
credsStore: "desktop"
# we need to change credsStore to --> credStore, i.e remove 's', it should look like below
>> cat .docker/config.json
credStore: "desktop"

Let me know any roadblocks you face in your transition from Docker Desktop to Rancher Desktop, I would be happy to respond.