Run an Oracle Database with Docker Desktop on ARM (M1, M2, M3) MacOS

Starting a containerized Oracle database on an Apple Silicon Mac.


March 14, 2024

I recently sunk a few days into getting an Oracle database deployed on MacOS with an M1 chip in a docker container via Docker Desktop. The few solutions that I found recommended using the Docker Desktop alternative Colima and/or using publicly available, community-contributed images; I had various troubles getting these solutions to work, and found myself missing the bells and whistles of Docker Desktop along the way. This morning, I finally got this database deployed by building the image myself from the official Oracle source, in Docker Desktop rather than Colima, and thought it’d be worth writing up how I did so, especially given the countless GitHub issue comments, StackOverflow posts, and forum discussion I came across from others in my situation.

What ended up sending me down the right path was this FAQ answer on the official Oracle source repository:

Can I run Oracle Database containers on Apple M1 (Arm) devices?

Oracle Database 19c Enterprise Edition is now supported on ARM64 platforms. You will have to provide the installation binaries of Oracle Database 19c and put them into the dockerfiles/19.3.0 folder before running the script.

If this is enough information to get you going, then off you go! It took me a couple hours to iron out the details, and I documented my steps as I went.

Download Oracle Database

Download Oracle Database 19c, listed as Oracle Database 19c (19.19) for LINUX ARM (aarch64). No need to unzip the result .zip file. You’ll need a (free) Oracle account to do so.

From what I understand, this is the only version of Oracle Database supported on Apple Silicon chips.

Clone Oracle’s docker image source

Then, clone the oracle/docker-images repository. The repository contains Dockerfiles and samples to build Docker images for a bunch of Oracle’s products, but we’re specifically interested in Oracle Database.

If you’re an R user, you can run the following to do so:


In your favorite IDE, navigate to your cloned repository. (In RStudio, usethis will do this automatically.)

In the repository folder, navigate to OracleDatabase/SingleInstance/dockerfiles/19.3.0 and paste the .zip file you just downloaded there. The install script expects that .zip file to be named, as it should be by default.

Build the image

Change your working directory to OracleDatabase/SingleInstance/dockerfiles/, using cd OracleDatabase/SingleInstance/dockerfiles/ if you have the docker-images repository as your current working directory. Then, run the following in Terminal:

./ -v 19.3.0 -e
  • -v 19.3.0 specifies that we’re building the image for version 19.3.0, the version of Oracle Database we’ve downloaded.
  • -e specifies that we want to build the image for the Enterprise Edition, which is the only release that’s currently supported.

If you encounter errors, you can check logs in the Builds tab of Docker Desktop. A relatively thorough FAQ on debugging this build can be found here.

Once the build script completes, you should see something like the following in your terminal:

  Oracle Database container image for 'ee' version 19.3.0 is ready to be extended: 
    --> oracle/database:19.3.0-ee

  Build completed in 127 seconds.

Running the image

You can run the built image by navigating to Images in Docker Desktop and clicking the run button on the oracle/database entry. Set the ORACLE_PWD environmental variable to any value to set the default SYS, SYSTEM, and PDBADMIN passwords. To do so using docker run, write:

docker run -d --name oracle -e ORACLE_PWD=YourPass321 oracle/database:19.3.0-ee
  • -d indicates that you’ll run in detached mode so that you have access to your terminal.
  • --name indicates that the container will be named oracle.
  • -e indicates that the following key=value will be set as an environmental variable.
  • oracle/database:19.3.0-ee is the name of your image. If you see a pull access denied for ... error, check the output of docker images in Shell to find the correct ID for your image.

The container will then be visible in the Containers tab of Docker Desktop. After a few minutes, you should see the following in your container’s logs:


At this point, you’re ready to go. :)


At the time of writing, you will not be able to connect to this database through ODBC, as Oracle Instant Client does not support macOS aarch64.

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