RStudio installation on macOS

Image credit: Daniel Romero on Unsplash
Table of Contents


Due to the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and its related disease 😷 COVID-19 employees and students at Wageningen University & Research are all working from home. Students taking Statistical Courses taught by Mathematical and Statistical Methods at Wageningen University & Research will most likely use R. Some of these courses (e.g. MAT-20306, MAT-32806, and MAT-50303) mainly use RStudio. Also other courses (e.g. HNH-31506 and BIF-51306) taught at Wageningen University & Research use R via RStudio as well. Therefore, students will need to be able to install RStudio.

This post will show how to install RStudio on a desktop or laptop computer running macOS as operating system.

In the text some symbol combinations are used for shortcuts, the following table explains the meaning of these symbols in relation to specific keys on your keyboard. To use the shortcuts press the keyboard keys simultaneously, e.g. ⇧⌘A means ⇧+⌘+A.

Icon Keyboard Meaning Icon Keyboard Meaning
command caps lock
option (or alt) carriage return (return/enter)
control delete/backspace
fn function forward delete (fn + ⌫)
shift (either left or right) escape


At the time this post was written the latest stable release of RStudio was version 1.2.5033. It has been updated to the current stable release 2021.09.0 Build 351, which will work on macOS High Sierra (version 10.13.x) or later.

Download RStudio using the following link: RStudio 2021.09.0 Build 351 (ca. 196.28 MB)

If you are on a 32 bit system, you can use an older version of RStudio.

RStudio Installation

The screenshots in the installation steps described below have not been updated. However, the procedure is correct even for newer versions of RStudio. Just bear in mind, that what you see during your installation may differ from the screenshots shown.

Prior requirement for the RStudio installation on macOS:

To be able to install RStudio you will need to have R installed and configured first. If you haven’t done so already, please read the (re-)install and configure R on macOS (use the link above to go to that specific post) before continuing with this post.

To install RStudio on macOS perform the following steps:

  1. Open the downloaded RStudio disk image. This file will most likely reside in Finder > Downloads (shortcut: ⌥⌘L). The file can more easily be found by switching into List view (shortcut: ⌘2). To switch to Icon view use the shortcut: ⌘1. The Rstudio disk image will look like the image displayed below in Figure 1 (version number may or will differ).
Icon RStudio Disk Image Application
Icon RStudio Disk Image Application
  1. Opening the RStudio disk image will cause a window labeled ‘RStudio-x.x.xxxx’ to appear (x.x.xxxx represents the version number used), containing the RStudio application (see Figure 2).
RStudio Application Inside Disk Image
RStudio Application Inside Disk Image
  1. Drag the RStudio application and drop it on the Applications folder shown in the same window.
  2. Close the ‘RStudio-x.x.xxxx’ window by clicking on the red ball in the top left corner of the window.
  3. The opened disk image is still mounted as a volume on your desktop and will look like the image shown below in Figure 3. Click this icon on your desktop once to select it and press ⌘E (shortcut for eject) to close it. Now you can discard the downloaded file from Finder > Downloads (shortcut: ⌥⌘L) by clicking it once to select and using the shortcut ⌦ (press: fn + ⌫) to put it in the trashbin. To completely remove the installer disk image remove it from your trashbin.
Mounted RStudio Volume
Mounted RStudio Volume
Congratulations, 😆, you now have successfully installed RStudio on your mac! The icon in your Applications (shortcut: ⇧⌘A) or Launcher will look the same as the R application icon you dragged and dropped in step 3. of the installation steps described above.
Maikel Verouden, Ph.D.
Maikel Verouden, Ph.D.
Researcher | Lecturer | IT & Organization contact person

My research interests include Statistics, Teaching and programmable matter (statistical software).