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nix-darwin is an opionated set of modules for managing configuration of macOS. It provides a centralized nix file for declaring system state.



nix-build -A installer

The installer will ask if you want to edit the default configuration. At the time of this writing, it was necessary to add the following:

  nix.extraOptions = ''
    extra-platforms = aarch64-darwin x86_64-darwin
    experimental-features = nix-command flakes

After installing, the configuration will be located at ~/.nixpkgs/darwin-configuration.nix.

On a fresh install, it was necessary to perform the following:

sudo mv /etc/nix/nix.conf /etc/nix/nix.conf.backup

This allows nix-darwin to manage the above file and will remove a warning that's produced every time the environment is built. See this issue.


nix-build -A uninstaller


Update configuration

The configuration is managed by Chezmoi, to edit it:

chezmoi edit ~/.nixpkgs/darwin-configuration.nix && chezmoi apply

The changes will automatically be applied by a Chezmoi trigger.

Update channel

To update the underlying channel:

nix-channel --update darwin
darwin-rebuild changelog



To migrate from an existing installation that depends mainly on brew, the following notes are helpful:

  1. List the currently installed packages: brew list
  2. Search for an equivalent package: nix-env -qaP | grep -i <package>
  3. Add the package to ~/.nixpkgs/darwin-configuration.nix.
  4. Rebuild the environment: darwin-rebuild switch.
  5. Uninstall the package from homebrew: brew uninstall <package> --force

Searching packages using nix-env can be slow, an alternative is to use the web interface.