How to to Run Oracle Database 23c FREE on M1 / M2 Apple Mac

I have previously shared how to run the Oracle Database 23c FREE database on an X86 Mac using PodMan, you can find that blog post here.

But what about the newer M1/M2 Macs I here you ask ?

Well, I have just got myself and new 2023 MacBook Pro with the Apple M2 Pro ARM based chipset, so it’s time to look into running Oracle Database 23c Free on Apple M2.


Start by installing Homebrew package manager.

brew update

Now, install Colima container runtime and Docker if not already installed on your Mac.

brew install colima docker

If we now try docker ps to check for processes, we see a docker daemon error message.

Colima Container Runtime

Start Colima container runtime using the colima start command, we can use colima -help to list all available command line options.

Also, colima defaults can be edited using colima -template or passed on the command line for example.

colima start \
    --arch x86_64 \
    --vm-type=vz \
    --vz-rosetta \
    --mount-type=virtiofs \
    --memory 8

Below is a list of the Colima container runtime parameters specified or left to default.

  • a86_64: Architecture (aarch64, x86_64)
  • vz: Virtual machine type (qemu, vz)
  • vz-rosetta: Enable Rosetta for amd64 emulation
  • disk: Default 60GiB
  • virtiofs: Volume Mount Driver – Default virtiofs (for vz), sshfs (for qemu)
  • memory: Memory default 2G
  • cpu: Default 2

We can confirm the Colima Container Runtime configuration with colima staus and colima list, for example.

Before we try and start our Oracle Database 23c Free container, let’s check for Docker processes using docker ps.

We now no longer see the Docker daemon error message.

We can check for existing docker images with docker images, for example.

The docker context show command should return colima, which means Docker runs under Colima and you can therefore use docker commands as usual.

Oracle Database 23c FREE

The Docker run command will automatically attempt to download the Oracle Database 23c Free image from the Oracle Container Registry.

However it’s also possible to pull the image advance using:

docker pull

As we are using the Oracle Database 23c FREE release there is no need to provide Oracle SSO credentials

Use docker images, docker image ls or docker image list to list available images.

We can confirm source and check other details using docker image inspect, for example.

To start the Oracle Database 23c Container use docker run, for example

docker run -d \
  --name ora23c \
  -p 1522:1521 \
  --mount source=oradata,target=/opt/oracle/oradata \

Example output:

We can see the Docker process using docker ps, for example.

Database Logs

We check check progress of the container startup with docker logs, which shows the Oracle database alert.log output.

Wait until the log shows DATABASE IS READY TO USE!

Database Password

The Oracle 23c FREE database was created with random passwords for SYS, SYSTEM and PDBADMIN, we can reset these using the ./ script provided.

Database Access

If you have an Oracle client installed on your Mac you can use that to connect to the Oracle 23c database.

Confirm the container port for the database listener using docker port, for example.

Using sqlcl with the new password, the mapped listener port and database name we can connect thus.

The FREE database come with a single Pluggable Database (PDB) called FREEPDB1, we can connect to the PDB using the same method.

Alternatively, we can access the 23c database by executing sqlplus within the container.


In this blog post I have shown that it is possible to run the Oracle Database 23c Free version on the newer M1/M2 MacBooks.

There are defintely some performance challenges, but if you can’t wait till Oracle ships a native Oracle Database 23c ARM version to start your Oracle 23c learning journey, it may be just what you need.

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