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Downloading MacTeX 2015

WARNING: MacTeX is released once a year. El Capitan was released four months after MacTeX-2015 was completed, so if you are installing on El Capitan, you must update the GUI applications we install.

After installing MacTeX, go to /Applications/TeX. Run TeXShop. In the "TeXShop" menu, select "Check for Updates..." Follow the instructions to update TeXShop to the latest version. Repeat this process for BibDesk, LaTeXiT, and TeX Live Utility.

To obtain the distribution, click the link below.


[ approximately 2.5G - 14 June 2015 ]
The md5 sum is bf579a512d31253d828591fdb3644dca
Download with Safari strongly recommended
MacTeX-2015 is also available via the torrent network.

After downloading, move the file MacTeX.pkg to the desktop or another convenient spot, and double click it to install. MacTeX completely configures TeX, so after installation it is ready to use. Go to /Applications/TeX and read the short document "READ ME FIRST" to get started. This document explains how to use LaTeX to write and typeset a short document. The location /Applications/TeX also contains "What is installed", which lists all the components of MacTeX and their installation locations.

MacTeX installs TeX Live, which contains TeX, LaTeX, AMS-TeX, and virtually every TeX-related style file and font. TeX Live is maintained by TeX User Groups across the world. TeX Live is compiled from the same sources for all platforms: Macintosh, Windows, Linux, Unix.

MacTeX also installs Ghostscript, an open source version of Postscript, and it installs the GUI programs TeXShop, LaTeXiT, TeX Live Utility, and BibDesk.

El Capitan

The Apple Developer Conference WWDC was held during the week that TeX Live 2015 was released. On Monday, June 8, Apple released to developers a beta version of their next operating system, El Capitan. We discovered that due to a single change, MacTeX-2015 failed on that system. This was fixed by the next morning. That is why the original releases of MacTeX-2015 and BasicTeX-2015 have release dates June 9.

MacTeX installs the link /usr/texbin, pointing indirectly to the binaries of TeX Live. In El Capitan, users cannot write to the location /usr, even if they have Administrator permission. Consequently, MacTeX-2015 and BasicTeX-2015 install two symbolic links on all systems earlier than El Capitan: /usr/texbin and /Library/TeX/texbin. Only the second link is installed on future systems.

MacTeX installs four GUI apps: BibDesk, LaTeXiT, TeX Live Utility, and TeXShop. Many users have other GUI front ends and utilities. All of these programs currently are configured to find binaries in /usr/texbin. Over the summer, users should reconfigure their GUI apps to use /Library/TeX/texbin. They will notice no change. This reconfiguration will be mandatory once El Capitan is released.

The TeX Dist Pref Pane works with either link. The shell PATH variable is configured to work with either link. Consequently, MacTeX and BasicTeX work on El Capitan once GUI apps are reconfigured.

Herbert Schulz wrote a document explaining exactly how to reconfigure the four applications. To read it, click Updating For El Capitan.

Updating from an Earlier MacTeX Installation

If you previously installed MacTeX, you may already have your own favorite front ends and GUI programs. Perhaps, in addition, you have Ghostscript from another source such as MacPorts or HomeBrew. In these cases, it is easy to install just the pieces you need. Download MacTeX using the earlier link. Double click to install. Several pages of information will be displayed; below is one of the last. Click the "Customize" button to obtain a page allowing you to select one or more of "TeX Live", "Ghostscript", "GUI Applications."


It is not necessary to remove the earlier TeX Live installation before installing a new one, and indeed we don't recommend that because MacTeX makes it easy to revert to the older version if the new version has a flaw. If you really need the extra space, other sections of these web pages explain how to remove older versions of MacTeX.

Installation Errors

At the end of installation, the installer will report "Success." But sometimes it reports ominously: "The installation failed The Installer encountered an error that caused the installation to fail. Contact the software manufacturer for assistance."

In almost all cases, this error is caused by a faulty download. There is an easy way to check this. Go to /Applications/Utilities and run Terminal. Type

and a space. Then drag the install package icon "MacTeX-2015.pkg" and drop it on the Terminal window. Push RETURN. Terminal will print a message and then a long item with letters and numbers. Compare this number to the md5 sum at the top of this page just under the MacTeX.pkg link. If the two numbers are different, your download was defective and you must download again. If you downloaded with a third party browser, we recommend trying Safari for the new download.

The md5 number is very long to make the odds infinitesimal that an authentic version and a defective copy will produce the same number. Md5 numbers are used systematically through TUG and CTAN. MacTeX is created on a single machine and uploaded to TUG, but then the md5 number of the original is compared with the md5 number of the upload. Later MacTeX is moved from the TUG server to a large number of CTAN servers across the world, but after each of these moves, the md5 numbers are checked. Thus it is essentially impossible that a particular server has a defective copy of MacTeX. In case of trouble, it is essential to check md5, since MacTeX support staff will ask about it before any troubleshooting.

Some users with download problems report success with the torrent network listed just below the download link at the top of this page, so if this method is familiar to you, give it a try.

The download link points to a "multiplexer" site which parcels out requests to various up-to-date CTAN mirrors. Occasionally users have trouble getting the package from this multiplexer. In that case, choose a specific mirror on this mirror page.

MacTeX is a very large package. If your network is noisy, you might want to try downloading and installing BasicTeX. See Smaller Download. BasicTeX is very much smaller, and yet has most files, fonts, and programs to process TeX, so this is a rapid way to get a working TeX. BasicTeX need not be uninstalled before installing MacTeX, so once you convince yourself that our packages work, you can return to the main task of installing MacTeX.

So far, we've given alternatives for bad downloads. But if your download has the correct md5 sum, and you still get a message that installation failed, it is time to click "MacTeX Installer Support" at the bottom of this page and ask for help.

If all of these suggestions fail, there are yet more ways to obtain TeX Live. For these, go to Alternate Installation Procedures.

TeX Live DVD

Free copies of TeX Live are available over the internet, but this can be problematic if your internet connection is unstable. Members of the TeX User Group (TUG) receive a free DVD containing the full TeX Live for all common platforms. TUG also sells this DVD to others. For details, click on the TUG icon at top right.

Acknowledgments ...

Happy TeXing on Mac OS X !

MacTeX Installer Support
TUG home page; (via Google)