How to download R on Mac

R is a programming language and open-source, cross-platform software environment for graphics and computing. Developed in 1995, it has become one of the main languages used for data science and machine learning today.

As of April 2020, R ranks 10th in the TIOBE and 7th in PYPL indexes. These are lists of most in-demand programming languages. R is popular not only among academics but global tech giants like Google and Microsoft as well.

In this article, you’ll find the easiest way to download R for Mac. We’ll also dig into everything you need to know to install RStudio, which is an integrated development environment (IDE). It makes using R much easier because of its user-friendly interface and a bunch of customization options. Let's get started!

Did you know?

R language is named after the first names of its developers — Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman.

How to prepare your Mac for R installation

The latest release R 3.6.3 runs smoothly on OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) and higher. Apple also notarizes this version, so it's fully compatible with Catalina.

Before installation, make sure you have at least 500 MB of free storage space on your Mac. To check it, go to the Apple menu in the top-left corner and choose About This Mac. Then, head over to the Storage tab.

prepare your Mac for R installation

If your space is a bit cluttered with files and data, you should consider clearing your hard drive before installing R.

All the junk files you have on your computer not only occupy gigabytes of space but also overload the CPU a lot. Heavy junk clusters can hide deeply in your system, so getting a little help with cleanup is the way to go.

CleanMyMac X by MacPaw is one of my favorite tools as it helps you manage your storage, maintain your Mac’s performance, and protect it from malware, all at once. Here's how to use it:

  1. Download and install CleanMyMac X — get your trial version here.
  2. Launch it and run the Smart Scan by pressing Scan.
  3. Once you see results, press Run to clear the junk.
run the Smart Scan

You can also check out the Large & Old Files tab to remove the heaviest files that have been piling up on your Mac way too long. Now, your Mac is ready for installing R.

Installing R on your Mac step-by-step

The easiest way is to install R through the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN). Note that CRAN doesn’t have Mac OS X systems and can’t check these binaries for viruses. So they recommend using standard security precautions.

Even though severe malware attacks are not so frequent on macOS, regular checkups are essential. Luckily, CleanMyMac X includes a Malware Removal tool to protect your Mac from hazards.

CleanMyMac X includes a Malware Removal tool

To check your Mac for malicious programs, including viruses and worms:

  1. Launch CleanMyMac X.
  2. Navigate to Malware Removal.
  3. Hit Scan to let the app analyze your system.
  4. If it finds something malicious, press Remove to get rid of it.

Now that your Mac is protected, it’s time to visit the CRAN download page and grab your copy of R. It’s totally free. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Open your browser and go to
  2. Click Download R for (Mac) OS X.
    Download R for Mac OS X

  3. Click on the first link under the Latest Release. As for April 2020, the newest version is R-3.6.3.pkg.

    Click on the Latest Release
  4. Double-click the .PKG file from the Downloads folder to open the package installer.
    open the package installer

  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to proceed with the installation. Accept the default settings.
  6. Once done, move the installer to the Bin.move the installer to the Bin

  7. Finally, click Close. Congratulations! Now you have R on your Mac.

How to download RStudio for Mac


To run RStudio on your Mac, you should install R first. RStudio will show you a warning message if it detects that R hasn’t been installed yet.

  1. Visit and go to Products.
  2. Choose RStudio, and press Download RStudio Desktop.
  3. Press Download RStudio for Mac.
    download RStudio for Mac

  4. Open the .DMG file from your Downloads folder.
  5. Drag and drop the RStudio icon to the Applications folder.

Done! RStudio is now installed on your computer.

R and RStudio are great tools to explore and analyze the data. I hope this detailed guide helped you dive into the world of R programming on your Mac. Keep your machine in good shape to make the most of it. Declutter and optimize your Mac performance once in a while. CleanMyMac X can help you with that in a few clicks. Thanks for reading!

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