If you want to get into Forex trading on your Mac or just want to be a better trader, we’ve taken a closer look at the best Forex trading platform for Mac. When it comes to the cut and thrust of Forex trading and the FX market in 2016 and 2017, you need a Forex focused platform and software to trade successfully. Although the market for Mac Forex software is still quite limited, there are some Forex trading platforms out there which have Mac clients or that work really well on OS X ranging from the incredibly easy to use “social trading” platform eToro to the professional NinjaTrader platform. Here we’ve done the hard work and looked at the best Forex trading software for Mac users. After reading this, we also recommend reading our guide to The Best Stock Trading Software For Mac which covers multi-asset trading platforms, some of which also support FX trading on Mac. Note that these Forex trading platforms are suitable for all recent versions of OS X including El Capitan and Sierra.
- 1 Before You Start Trading
- 2 Best Forex Trading Platform For Mac
- 3 Best Forex Trading Software For Mac
- 4 How To Run Forex Software For Windows On Mac
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 Further Reading
Before You Start Trading
The Forex (Foreign Exchange Market) is the most popular and liquid trading asset with an estimated global trading volume of around $5.3 trillion daily. Unlike stock market trading, there is no central exchange so you can trade on it 24 hours a day which makes it ideal for traders at home. There are significant gains to be made from currency volatility but the demands of the fast-moving FX market mean you really need software that specializes in Forex trading to make intelligent trades.
The best Forex trading platform for beginners on Mac will differ from those with more experience in the Forex business. If you’re a beginner, many Forex trading platforms such as MetaTrader and cTrader will appear intimidating and overwhelm you with charts, data and technical analysis tools that won’t help you if you’re starting out. Don’t think that just because a Forex trading software is packed with hundreds of different charts and features, it’s necessarily the best Forex software for Mac. It can soon become counter productive to your trading efforts when you have several charts, indicators and analysis tools open at once. Especially if you’re new to trading, don’t be afraid to keep it simple.
Most Forex platforms assume a certain level of familiarity with trading but there are some that are designed with beginners in mind. In these reviews, we’ve covered a range of trading platforms for all abilities and indicated which are the best Forex trading platforms for beginners on Mac.
Before making your decision however, it’s useful to understand the difference between Forex Platforms for Mac and Forex Software for Mac.
Forex Platforms For Mac v Forex Software For Mac
There’s an important difference between Forex Platforms for Mac and Forex Software For Mac although in the world of Forex trading, this can be very blurred. In a nutshell, you need to sign-up with a Forex Platform i.e. a Forex broker in order to buy and sell currencies. All major Forex brokers such as eToro, NinjaTrader and FXCM Trade Station also offer their own Forex trading platform.
However, they aren’t always the best Forex trading software choice for Mac users since they either don’t play well or look good on OS X in which case, you can opt to download a specific Forex trading software for Mac instead that’s integrated with a major broker. Forex software includes services such as MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) which do not actually allow you to trade on markets – they merely allow you to perform technical analysis of Forex markets. The good thing is that the best Forex trading software for Mac like MetaTrader allow you to integrate your broker account so you don’t have to constantly switch between your Forex broker and Forex trading software.
So for example the FXCM Trade Station looks great on Mac but its own trading platform isn’t very advanced. However, it can also integrate the powerful NinjaTrader or MetaTrader trading software within it if you choose instead so you get the best of both worlds – the Forex technical analysis power of NinjaTrader or MetaTrader and the Mac OS X style interface of FXCM Trade Station.
There are far more Forex brokers than there is Forex software so it usually makes sense to choose a broker you like first and then see whether it supports third-party Forex software for Mac. However, you could also choose to do this the other way round if a Mac client or desktop software is more important to you than the broker you trade with.
Choosing a good Forex broker however isn’t always straightforward though. There are literally hundreds of Forex platforms out there but there a few things you should always bear in mind to ensure you pick a good one.
Check For Instant Forex Trade Execution
One thing you should always check is how the Forex platform you’ve chosen executes Forex trades. Believe it or not, some brokers don’t actually execute Forex trades immediately the moment you buy or sell. Rather, once you’ve made your trade, it is sent to an Execution Desk or Dealing Desk (DD) for processing. This creates delays and therefore potential losses in the time between trade and execution which in the fast-moving world of currencies, can be significant. Fortunately, most brokers now offer instant trade execution but it’s always worth making sure before signing-up as there’s nothing worse than finding out your trades aren’t in real-time.
Margin and Leverage
One of the good things about Forex is that most brokers don’t charge commission on trades like they do with stock market trading. Most Forex brokers make money by capturing part of the spread i.e. the difference between what you can buy and sell currency on each trade although some brokers have specific revenue models that differ from this. The attractive thing about Forex trading and the international currency market is that you can buy and sell with far more than you have in your account. This is called your Margin or Leverage and differs from broker to broker. So for example, with just a small deposit of $100 and a broker offering leverage of 1:100, you can make currency transactions up to $10,000 even if you don’t have that much in your account. However, it’s very important to be aware that the reverse is also true – your losses can also be equal to any potential gains and brokers require a deposit to cover any potential losses based on their leverage rate. Many Forex brokers offer a rate of leverage or margin which is typically 1:50 although it can be much more than this depending on the broker.
Forex Demo Accounts
All the best Forex platforms for Mac offer free demo accounts, usually with several thousand dollars worth of pretend currency. This is a great way to get familiar with Forex trading in general if you’re new to it. However, it’s very easy to get a false sense of security with demo Forex accounts and there’s a few things to be aware of when using them.
- Demo accounts operate in a simulated market environment and therefore don’t always reflect real-time market liquidity. Although they are based on current market conditions, in some demo accounts, there may be a delay between live and simulated pricing.
- In a real world trading environment, you may sometimes experience rejected orders and slippage with Forex trades. This usually doesn’t happen with demo accounts so be prepared for such things if you open a live account.
- The margin requirements may not be the same in demo accounts as they are in live accounts as brokers often update live margins but demo accounts may not always coincide with those of real accounts.
- Don’t underestimate the psychological difference between trading pretend currency and real currency. The pressure when trading large volumes of hard cash can be significant and a simulated environment can’t replicate this.
- Some products or features may not be available on demo accounts so you may not be getting the full platform experience.
Other things to consider when choosing a Forex platform on Mac are:
- Customer Support: Does the broker respond quickly to questions, problems or issues with the trading platform? Does the broker offer a toll-free number in case of major issues or problems?
- Profit Withdrawal Speed: How long does it take to withdraw trade profits. This is usually a few business days but all brokers have their own policy on withdrawals.
- PAMM Services: PAMM (Percentage Allocation Money Management) is when traders pool money together to trade. You’re basically taking advantage of more experienced brokers to trade money for you. Not all Forex platforms offer this feature but eToro is the most notable as the entire service is based around PAMM.
The same applies for Forex software on Mac as for other types of stock trading software for Mac – avoid any Forex trading platforms or software that use Java. Fortunately, there are very few in Forex trading that do although there are a few more when it comes to stock market trading on Mac. There are many reasons for avoiding Java on Mac, not least that it suffers from continual security issues and is impossible to completely uninstall Java from Mac once installed. It’s also slow, unresponsive and generally just a pain to use on OS X. Apple is increasingly distancing OS X from the Java platform due to the various problems that come with it and our advice is stay way.
Trade With Caution
Finally, it should go without saying that you should trade with caution. Forex trading in particular is high risk due to leveraged trading which allows you to risk far more than you actually trade with. The most important rule in trading is you must only trade using your risk capital. Chasing losses or risking other capital is extremely risky and can end in financial ruin if left unchecked. Fortunately, all Forex brokers allow you to set a minimum margin requirement so that a margin closeout will occur if the market turns suddenly. For more on the risks of Forex Trading and some sound advice, check Oanda’s guide to Risks in Forex Trading.
Best Forex Trading Platform For Mac
First we start with our selection of the best Forex trading platforms for Mac, then we look at the best Forex trading software for Mac. You can find out more information, download or sign-up for a demo account in most cases by clicking on the names. Note that because of the general lack of dedicated Forex software for Mac, you’ll find that the best currency trading platforms for Mac are usually web-based but as you’ll see in the section on the best Forex software for Mac afterwards, there are Forex apps for Mac that integrate with many of these online brokers.
eToro is one of the biggest stock trading platforms out there with an estimated 5 million users and covers just about every major trading asset including Forex. What makes eToro different to most Forex trading platforms is that it focuses on connecting traders in order to harness collective experiences and knowledge in stock trading. eToro could be described as a “social network stock trading tool” which aims to pool the experience of traders so that everyone wins. If you imagine what would happen if you mixed Facebook with a stock trading platform, then you get a good idea of what eToro is like.
The main way it does this is through the eToro OpenBook application which employs a “CopyTrader” system that copies the trades of expert traders. This is not only potentially very profitable for you, but also an excellent way for beginners to learn the ropes of Forex trading. You can even copy the entire portfolio of the most successful traders, or just their Forex portfolio if they have one. Note that you can only use a maximum of 40% of your capital on copy trades but you can set limits on when to stop copying if losses exceed a certain amount.
Be very careful when selecting a trader to copy however as some may appear more successful than they actually are or are using very little capital in the hope that others will copy them and they’ll earn commission off it. Many of the traders on eToro appear to be quite high risk traders which carries with it high potential returns but obvious risks too. Also look for “verified traders” as those traders use their real identities ad verified by eToro and therefore you reduce the risk of following “fake” profiles.
If you’re a successful Forex trader, you can even earn commission on traders that copy you through the Popular Investor Program. Apart from Forex, you can also trade Indices and Commodities (CFDs) using eToro and traders on eToro tend to be focused on one particular asset. Since most Forex platforms for Mac are based in the US, eToro may also be a more appealing option for European users too as it is based in Cyprus and is regulated under European law with all funds kept in European banks.
eToro is certainly one of the best Forex trading software for beginners on Mac and the social trading element is ideal for trading novices. eToro is also very fast being completely based on HTML5 with no laggy Flash or Java to slow it down. Trading fees for eToro vary on a daily basis and you can check the latest Spreads and Fees here although in general, you may get better spread rates from other brokers as eToro is generally on the top side of spread rates. You can open an account with as little as $50 although this can vary from region to region. You can also get a sign-up welcome bonus of up to $4000 depending on how much you open an account with.
For a more detailed look at eToro, we recommend reading our full eToro review. You can also watch an overview of eToro’s CopyTrader system below:
NinjaTrader used to be one of the most popular Forex platforms out there due to its algorithmic trading and ease of use but increased competition and monthly subscription model have seen it fall behind somewhat. NinjaTrader is now less user-friendly than many Forex trading platforms and also does not support trading of binary options. Although you can use the platform for free with a Direct Education license, you need to pay a subscription to trade with it. It does however offer very powerful algorithmic trading and charting and accounts starting at $55 per month. If you don’t like to use NinjaTrader’s own broker services, you can integrate it with other brokers too. Although you pay a subscription to use NinjaTrader’s own broker services promises no hidden, unspecified markups to spreads and no delayed Dealing Desk Executions.
NinjaTrader is definitely the most customizable Forex trading platforms for Mac with thousands of different third-party apps and add ons although note that most of these cost extra. NinjaTrader also has some useful straight talking information on how Forex trading works for beginners.
FXCM Trading Station is a user-friendly but powerful dedicated Forex trading platform that offers lower commissions the more you trade. FXCM Trading Station also guarantees do Dealing Desks – all trades are executed instantly. FXCM Trading Station also offers a handy Smart Margin Watcher which monitors your positions and alerts you if your account equity drops below a certain limit or if the market moves against you. You can open a basic FXCM account with just $50 and you can also open a practice account first to get familiar with it.
FXCM Trading Station also integrates with MetaTrader and NinjaTrader both with $50,000 practice accounts and there’s also a native FXCM app for iPhone and iPad. In the absence of a native MetaTrader client for Mac, FXCM is therefore a great way to effectively get MetaTrader for Mac.
FXCM Trading Station is straight talking, with clear and easy to understand advice on Forex trading. If you’re looking for something powerful but user-friendly, FXCM Trading Station is a great choice.
Sirix is a fast, web-based HTML5 optimized trading platform that’s for Forex and CFD brokers. Sirix isn’t one of the most popular trading platforms out there but it looks great on Mac and features a simplified eToro style community driven model of Forex trading. You can copy trades of the most successful traders and receive alerts when they open a new position. Although the Forex trading community is smaller on Sirix than eToro, the actual interface looks great on OS X and is cleaner and less complicated than other community driven trading platforms. Although there are no apps for Sirix yet, it plans to introduce them soon.
MahiFX is one of the few Oceania based trading platforms which supports Forex trading. MahiFX is based in New Zealand and provides a trading platform to Forex traders based mainly in New Zealand and Australia. However, users from other countries can sign-up and use it but must ensure that all trading follows the rules and regulation of their residence. What’s interesting for Mac users is that MahiFX probably has the most OS X style interface of any Forex trading platform out there. MahiFX is entirely web-based but the interface is one of the slickest we’ve seen. It also offers a few other enticing features such as no minimum deposit, no commissions and generous leverage of 100:1. You can open a practice account with MahiFX to judge for yourself.
Trading 212 is another very slick UK-based trading platform that looks great on Mac and is very user-friendly. If you’re just starting out in Forex trading, Trading 212 provides a clear and a non-intimidating Forex platform on your Mac desktop. Trading 212 also has a native iOS app for iPhone and iPad that allows you to trade on the move without needing a browser. Trading 212 is accessible for newbies to Forex trading with some useful video tutorials which show you how to take advantage of the latest Forex trading news and how to get the best out of Trading 212. If you’re looking for an accessible, professional looking, non-community driven Forex trading platform then Trading 212 is an excellent starting point.
You can also see Trading 212 in action below:
Oanda (formerly known as Currensee) is an award-winning currency trading platform with no minimum trade size and no minimum deposit. You can trade on over 100 different instruments including currency pairs (Forex), indices, commodities, bonds and metals. Oanda is also one of the few Forex trading platforms to offer a Mac desktop app, although all it effectively does is retrieve the web version without using the browser.
One of the ways Oanda sells itself on its pricing transparency meaning there are no added commissions on your trades and unlike many Forex trading platforms, no minimum trading amounts. There are some useful tools in Oanda such as the Currency Strength Heatmap and Historical Forex Position Ratios. Oanda doesn’t offer much in the way of advice when it comes to Forex trading but it does have a some very good free Forex training tutorials via the Oanda Academy.
Oanda puts a strong emphasis on being transparent with customers and adhering to regulations specific to each global area. We recommend trying a few paper trades first via an Oanda demo account to get a feel for it.
Forex on the Go also offers a Forex app for Mac, although it only delivers an adapted version of MetaTrader to your Mac. Forex on the Go looks uncluttered on OS X although that’s party because the number of tools available is quite limited. There’s no customized data when you open the app as you don’t even need to sign-up to use it – you can start viewing market data immediately. However if you want to trade using MetaTrader (MT4), you need to sign up for a Forex on the Go account. There’s also an iPad app and even extensions for Chrome and Safari although you don’t need these if you use the Mac app.
Best Forex Trading Software For Mac
The following is our selection of the best Forex trading software for Mac. Note that these are not brokers – they merely provide Forex technical analysis services to help you trade better. As you can see from the review above, many of them are integrated into Forex platforms so in most cases, you’re better off signing up with a broker and using them via them instead of downloading them, especially in the case of MetaTrader which doesn’t have an official Mac client but can be installed on Mac with a workaround.
No review of Forex trading software on Mac would be complete without looking at MetaTrader 4, more commonly known as MT4 and the most recent version being MT5. MetaTrader is not a trading broker, it’s a trading software that’s incredibly popular and therefore offered as an extra service by many major brokers. However, although MT4 is probably the most popular trading software for Windows and PC users although there’s no version for Mac, it can be adapted for use on OS X. However, unfortunately we can’t recommend MT4 to Mac users because it requires Wine emulation software which can be tricky to setup, especially for beginners, and it doesn’t offer the full functionality of MT4 anyway. All of the things that make it so popular on Windows, such as the native client, stability and access to extra features via the Market, simply don’t apply on Mac. If this doesn’t put you off, you can find full instructions how to install Metatrader on Mac here. However, the good news is that Mac users can enjoy most of what MT4 has to offer by signing up with a Forex trading platform that supports MetaTrader integration such as Forex On The Go which has a dedicated Mac client.
MT4 is one of the most popular trading platforms in Forex for experienced traders. MetaTrader is a very powerful Forex trading platform featuring tools such as instant execution from charts, stop orders and trailing stops, tick charts, trading history and more. The analytical tools in MetaTrader are particularly detailed with 9 different time-frames, 30 technical indicators and 23 analytical objects to drill deep down into data. For those new to Forex trading, MT4 also allows you to automatically copy other Traders trades based on the signals of your choice. You can even add trading platforms to MetaTrader or rent Expert Advisors through the MetaTrader Market but note that this doesn’t work on Mac using the Wine installation method which is another reason we don’t recommend installing it.
TradingView is another incredibly popular community driven web-based stock charting software that offers an easy to use way of tracking Forex currency markets. TradingView is an accessible mix of social networking and stock trading which makes it extremely accessible for beginners to Forex trading on Mac. The amazing thing about TradingView is that most of its features are completely free to use. The TradingView Forex page for example provides a clear overview of the most important global developments in the currency markets with the real-time value of major currencies such as USD, Euro, JPY and GBP immediately visible with a convenient Economic Calendar of important events and News feed for the latest currency news. You will also see commentary from top traders giving advice and tips on currency movements and potential trades.
TradingView is so good that many other stock trading resources such as Tradeable and Investopedia integrate it into their own service for Forex trading analysis on Mac and PC. TradingView has rapidly risen from just a few thousand users in 2012 to over one million users today, mainly thanks to its wide array of charts and community driven content. If you want to harness the knowledge and experience of thousands of other Forex traders, TradingView is a remarkably effective tool to keep ahead of Forex market trends and developments.
TradingView is free to sign-up for and although most features are free, there are also Pro, Pro+ and Premium plans starting at $9.95 per month which remove all ads and provide faster data, more real-time stats, more intraday reports and allow you to have more charts per tab open. Feeds for NASDAQ, NYSE and NYMEX also cost a bit extra per month although most Forex traders won’t necessarily need these.
cTrader has rapidly developed to become one of the major Forex trading rivals to MT4. cTrader only has a desktop client for Windows but Mac users can now use the cTrader web client which offers all the functionality of the desktop client. The cTrader platform looks and feels a bit slicker than MT4, it’s easier to navigate and it supports more order types. However, in terms of overall features, there’s not much to choose between them, especially for beginners. The same features such as charts, trade logging, account management tools, back testing and technical indicators are all available in both.
Trade Interceptor is a professional currency trading app for Mac with advanced trading and technical analysis tools. You can use Trade Interceptor to trade with brokers FXCM, SWISSQUOTE, OANDA and 24Option. If you don’t like the platforms of these brokers, then using Trade Interceptor on Mac is an excellent option because it has its own desktop app for Mac. Using Trade Interceptor to trade with these brokers is free and all are fully integrated with the native platform of each broker. You can even trade with multiple accounts and multiple brokers in one window.
The Trade Interceptor app for Mac basically brings all the benefits of the Trade Interceptor web trading platform to your Mac desktop without having to use your browser. Trade Interceptor provides live quotes and charts of more than 60 Forex currencies as well as Gold, Oil and Silver. You can activate a useful News feed down the left hand margin to provide news in real-time for the Asian, European and American markets. There are lots of technical analysis indicators, trend alerts and graphical tools to help you make trading decisions. You can set alarms for price drops and spikes and choose from multiple chart layouts and templates.
There’s also a useful “Traders Gym” which allows you to simulate trades – also known as Paper Trading – in real-time without risking real currency. The smart thing about the Paper Trade feature is that you can pick any previous time frame or currency, and trade as if it were happening now in real-time which is a great way to learn now to trade better and see what works and what doesn’t in the currency markets.
Trade Interceptor is updated regularly, including with new features which is important for Mac users to ensure that the software continues to work with new releases of OS X. The Mac app syncs your trading with the web platform and Trade Interceptor iOS app so that you can continue trading on the move.
You can watch Trade Interceptor in action on Mac below:
Latinum is a new professional trading and technical analysis software for Mac and PC which is focused on trading Forex and CFDs (Contract for Difference). Latinum is designed for discretionary (non-automated) traders and quickly enables you to determine risk, make orders quickly via a Mini Order Ticket feature and more easily manage order and positions with a Mini Blotter.
Latinum supports a wide range of chart types including Candlestick, HLC (High-Low-Close), Heiken-Ashi, OHLC (Open-High-Low-Close), Step, Dot, Line, Histogram, Area, Candlestick Trend, Invisible, Hollow Candlestick, HL (High-Low), Colored Line and Real Body.
Latinum is also very good at helping you quickly ascertain risk, execute orders and manage your positions. You can quickly determine risk with useful indicators displayed on the ticket such as Risk/Reward, pip value, stop-loss distance in pips and price. There’s a Mini Order Ticket to enter orders faster with single click entry and essentials such as stop-loss and take-profit included. For quick order management, there’s a Mini Blotter which displays opened trades and pending orders. You can conveniently right-click on a trade to allow scaling of trades (such as partial close), two-click stop-loss and take profit editing. This makes it easier to manage, cancel or close orders and trades than on a lot of Mac Forex software.
Since it’s quite a new Forex trading app for Mac, Latinum only works with FXCM Trading Station/Marketscope accounts and OANDA fxTrade Practice accounts although this will probably be expanded in the future. There is also a Latinum trading simulator to practice trading on and get a feel for it. Although Latinum costs $99 for the full version from the Mac App Store, a tip is that you can download the Latinum beta version for free. You can use the Beta version to connect to FXCM, OANDA or just use the Forex trading simulator to decide whether Latinum is for you before buying the App Store version.
Overall, Latinum is a very promising professional Forex trading tool which doesn’t complicate things with unnecessary features or extra assets and focuses on making it easier to trade Forex quicker and more efficiently.
How To Run Forex Software For Windows On Mac
Finally, if you really want to use a Windows only Forex trading platform on Mac, your best bet is to install Windows on your Mac using Parallels. Parallels allows you to run Windows alongside OS X and is a very convenient solution if you can’t live without your Windows Forex trading platform.
The best Forex trading platform for Mac really depends on your level of expertise when it comes to Forex. Some of the software featured here will be way to lightweight for experienced traders while others will get lost in the complexity of platforms such as Metatrader and NinjaTrader. However, what you can be sure of is that all of these platforms look and work great on Mac OS X. If we had to pick one, eToro’s strong community driven Forex trading is an excellent way to get into Forex trading for beginners. However, if you want something a little more professional, we like both Oanda’s interface, ethical principles on transparency and lack of minimum trade size or deposit. The fact it’s one of the few platforms that has a dedicated Forex app for Mac is great too.
If you found this guide to the best Forex platforms and software for Mac useful, you may also be interested in:
- The Best Stock Trading Software For Mac
- The Best Alternatives To Quicken For Mac
- The Best Tax Software For Mac
If you have any questions, issues or suggestions regarding Forex platforms on Mac, let us know in the comments below.