How to Run SQL Server on Your Mac M1: Step-by-Step Guide with Code Examples for Maximum Efficiency

Table of content

  1. Introduction
  2. Setting up your Mac M1 for SQL Server
  3. Installing SQL Server on your Mac M1
  4. Configuring SQL Server for Maximum Efficiency
  5. Creating Databases and Tables in SQL Server
  6. Writing SQL Queries for Data Manipulation
  7. Backing up and Restoring Databases in SQL Server
  8. Troubleshooting SQL Server on your Mac M1


If you're a Mac owner who wants to run SQL Server on your machine, you're in the right place. This guide will walk you through the process step by step so that you can maximize your efficiency and get up and running with SQL Server as quickly as possible.

Before we dive into the details, let's take a moment to go over why you might want to run SQL Server on your Mac. For one thing, it's a great way to develop and test applications locally without having to rely on an external server. It also gives you more control over your data and allows you to experiment with different configurations and settings.

Of course, running SQL Server on a Mac can be a bit tricky, especially if you're not familiar with the process. But don't worry – we're here to help. By the end of this guide, you should have a good understanding of how to set everything up and how to troubleshoot common issues that might arise.

So without further ado, let's get started!

Setting up your Mac M1 for SQL Server

Before you dive into running SQL Server on your Mac M1, there are a few things you need to do to get your system ready. Here are some steps you need to take to set up your Mac M1 for SQL Server:

  1. Install Rosetta 2: SQL Server is designed to run on x64 architecture, while M1 Macs use ARM chips. Rosetta 2 is a translation layer that allows apps designed for x64 architecture to run on an M1 Mac. You can install Rosetta 2 by typing the following command in Terminal:

    softwareupdate --install-rosetta
  2. Install Homebrew: Homebrew is a package manager that makes it easy to install and manage various software packages on your Mac. You can install Homebrew by typing the following command in Terminal:

    /bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"
  3. Install Microsoft's ODBC Driver for SQL Server: The ODBC driver is required to connect to SQL Server from your Mac. You can install the driver by typing the following command in Terminal:

    brew install --cask microsoft-odbc-driver-for-sql-server
  4. Install SQL Server command-line tools: You can use command-line tools to connect to and work with SQL Server from your Mac. You can install the tools by typing the following command in Terminal:

    brew install mssql-tools

That's it! You're now ready to start using SQL Server on your Mac M1. In the next section, we'll walk you through some code examples to help you get started.

Installing SQL Server on your Mac M1


Before you can start running SQL Server on your Mac M1, you need to install it first. Follow these simple steps to get started:

  1. Download the SQL Server macOS installer from the official SQL Server page.
  2. Open the downloaded file and click on “Open” on the prompt asking if you want to install software.
  3. Follow the installer’s instructions to install the SQL Server packages, including the SQL Server command-line tools.
  4. After the installation is complete, you can verify if SQL Server is running by opening the terminal and entering this command: /opt/mssql-tools/bin/sqlcmd -S localhost -U SA -P '<YourPassword>'. Replace <YourPassword> with the password you used during the installation.

Once you’ve successfully installed SQL Server on your Mac M1, you can start using it for your database needs. Just make sure to follow best practices when using SQL Server, such as keeping your server and databases up to date with the latest security patches and backups. With SQL Server installed and running smoothly, you’ll be able to work with your data efficiently and effectively.

Configuring SQL Server for Maximum Efficiency

Now that you have SQL Server running on your Mac M1, it's essential to configure it correctly to ensure optimal performance. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your SQL Server experience.

1. Set the right resource limits

When running SQL Server on your Mac M1, you'll need to allocate the right amount of resources to ensure it runs efficiently. Make sure you have the correct amount of memory, CPU, and storage allocated to SQL Server, or it could slow down your machine. You can do this by going to the "Preferences" screen and configuring the resource settings.

2. Optimize query performance

SQL Server is notorious for slow query performance when not configured correctly. To optimize query performance, make sure you have the right indexes set up, and the query plan is running the most optimized way possible. You can use the SQL Server Management Studio to analyze query performance and adjust your configurations accordingly.

3. Use compression

If you often work with large data sets, you can speed up the process by compressing data. With SQL Server, you can compress data during backup, which reduces the amount of storage and transfer time needed. You can also use data compression when storing data on disk, which helps to reduce I/O operations and boost performance.

4. Adjust memory usage

By default, SQL Server uses a significant amount of physical memory. However, you can adjust the memory configuration to optimize performance. To do this, you'll need to understand the different memory types, such as buffer pool, procedural cache, and query plan cache. Allocate memory based on your workload and the type of queries you're running.

In summary, involves allocating the right resources, optimizing query performance, using compression, and adjusting memory usage. By following these tips and tricks, you'll be able to get the most out of SQL Server running on your Mac M1.

Creating Databases and Tables in SQL Server

To create and manage databases in SQL Server on your Mac M1, you'll need to first set up the SQL Server environment by installing it and choosing the appropriate version. Once you have SQL Server up and running, you can connect to it locally or remotely and start creating your databases.

To create a new database, you can use the "CREATE DATABASE" statement followed by the name of your database. For example, if you want to create a database called "my_db", you can use the following statement:


After creating the database, you'll need to create tables to hold your data. You can do this using the "CREATE TABLE" statement followed by the name of the table and the columns it will contain. For example, if you want to create a table called "users" with columns for their name and email address, you can use the following statement:

  name VARCHAR(50),
  email VARCHAR(50)

You can then insert data into your table using the "INSERT INTO" statement. For example, if you want to add a user named "John Smith" with the email address "" to your "users" table, you can use the following statement:

INSERT INTO users (name, email) VALUES ('John Smith', '');

With these basic steps, you can begin creating and managing databases and tables in SQL Server on your Mac M1. Remember to always test your code and make adjustments as needed to ensure maximum efficiency!

Writing SQL Queries for Data Manipulation

When it comes to , there are a few key principles to keep in mind. First and foremost, always start with a clear understanding of what information you need to extract from the database. This will help you structure your query properly and ensure that you get the results you want.

Next, be sure to use the appropriate SQL statements and operators to filter, sort, and group your data as needed. Common statements include SELECT, WHERE, ORDER BY, and GROUP BY, along with operators like AND, OR, and BETWEEN.

It's also important to pay attention to formatting and syntax, as even small errors can cause your query to fail or return incorrect results. Take advantage of tools like SQL Server Management Studio or VS Code with the SQL Server extension to provide syntax highlighting and other helpful features.

Finally, don't be afraid to experiment and try out different queries to see what works best for your specific use case. With the right approach and a bit of practice, can be a powerful tool for unlocking insights and improving performance in your organization.

Backing up and Restoring Databases in SQL Server

Backing up and restoring databases is an essential aspect of maintaining the health of your SQL Server. It is crucial to have a backup in case of severe errors or data loss. Fortunately, running SQL Server on your Mac M1 offers easy backup and restore mechanisms.

To back up a database, open SQL Server Management Studio, select the database you want to back up, right-click it and navigate through Tasks > Backup Database. In the pop-up window, select the backup type, set a destination for your backup file, and click OK. You've completed your first database backup!

To restore a database from a backup file, right-click the database you wish to restore, select Tasks > Restore > Database, then select From Device as the source of your backup file. Next, choose your backup file(s), and click OK. Finally, in the Options tab, select Overwrite the existing database and click OK. Congratulations, you have restored your database successfully.

It is critical to regularly back up your databases and to keep them in a secure location. You may also consider automating backups with various software or scripts, such as the SQL Server Agent, that allow for timely and consistent backups. By following these simple steps, you can ensure database continuity and safeguard your valuable data.

Troubleshooting SQL Server on your Mac M1

Running SQL Server on your Mac M1 can be a bit tricky at times. Some users have reported issues with installation or configuration. Here are a few troubleshooting tips to help you get past any issues you may encounter:

  1. Check your system requirements: Ensure that your hardware meets the minimum system requirements for SQL Server. The Mac M1 is designed to run on Apple Silicon, so it should be able to handle SQL Server, but it's always a good idea to double-check.

  2. Check your installation: Make sure that you have installed SQL Server correctly. Sometimes, an incorrect installation can cause issues with running the program. Review the installation instructions carefully and follow them step-by-step. If it doesn't work, try uninstalling and reinstalling SQL Server.

  3. Check your network connection: Ensure that you have a stable internet connection. If you are having trouble connecting to SQL Server, it could be due to network issues. Try restarting your router or modem.

  4. Check your firewall settings: Sometimes, the firewall settings on your Mac M1 can interfere with SQL Server connections. Make sure that your firewall is not blocking the SQL Server port. You may need to modify your firewall settings to allow SQL Server traffic.

  5. Update your software: Ensure that all of your software is up-to-date. SQL Server may not function properly if you are running an outdated version of macOS or other software. Check for updates and install them if necessary.

Following these tips should help you troubleshoot and fix any issues you encounter while running SQL Server on your Mac M1. Remember, don't be afraid to experiment and try new things as you learn. With enough practice, you'll be able to navigate these issues with ease.

My passion for coding started with my very first program in Java. The feeling of manipulating code to produce a desired output ignited a deep love for using software to solve practical problems. For me, software engineering is like solving a puzzle, and I am fully engaged in the process. As a Senior Software Engineer at PayPal, I am dedicated to soaking up as much knowledge and experience as possible in order to perfect my craft. I am constantly seeking to improve my skills and to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in the field. I have experience working with a diverse range of programming languages, including Ruby on Rails, Java, Python, Spark, Scala, Javascript, and Typescript. Despite my broad experience, I know there is always more to learn, more problems to solve, and more to build. I am eagerly looking forward to the next challenge and am committed to using my skills to create impactful solutions.

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