If you’re looking into stock trading software for Mac, you may be confused as to whether MT4 for Mac or MT5 for Mac (better known as MetaTrader for Mac) is available or not. MetaTrader is one of the most popular technical analysis software for forex trading but it’s never been released on Mac. By far the easiest thing to do is sign up for a service like the XM platform which has adapted MetaTrader so that it works on Mac. However, you can install it manually yourself although be warned that it’s a lot more time consuming and complex.
There are essentially 3 different ways to install MetaTrader on Mac:
- Install Windows on Mac for free using a virtual environment such as Parallels or in a partition using Boot Camp.
- Use a “Windows wrapper software” such as Wine or PlayOnMac.
- Download it “ready wrapped” in Wine from an online stock trading platform.
Here’s a little more detail on each option.
- Run MT4 on Mac by installing Windows on Mac
In our opinion, installing Windows on Mac is definitely the best way to run MetaTrader on Mac because it gives you the best of both worlds – the ability to run the full version of MetaTrader in Windows but also use macOS at the same time. An application like Parallels makes it extremely easy to run Windows within macOS at the same time so that you can switch between the Windows version of MetaTrader and your preferred Mac trading platform easily.
Running MetaTrader on Mac this way gives you all the benefits of the Windows version of MetaTrader, including add-ons such as MetaTrader Market. The other benefit of this is that if you encounter any problems installing MetaTrader this way, you’ll get support from Parallels but with Wine and PlayOnMac, you’ll have to rely on the support of forum members and fixing problems can be quite complex and technical. Additionally, installing Windows on Mac this way is a good investment as it allows you to play many Windows only games and use other Windows only programs such as Visio on Mac.
Installing Windows on Mac is very east nowadays and you can find full instructions how to do so here. You can also install Windows on Mac using Boot Camp but the disadvantage of this is that you can’t switch between macOS and Windows simultaneously – you must boot your Mac in one or the other. That’s why Parallels is so much more convenient.
- Run MT4 on Mac using a Windows wrapper software
This is actually the method recommended by MetaTrader but is actually an inferior and far more problematic solution for Mac users compared to installing Windows on your Mac. MetaTrader suggest using either Wine or PlayOnMac (basically an adaptation of Wine) which basically emulate a Windows environment for the purposes of installing a Windows application on Mac.
However, there are several problems trying to run MetaTrader on Mac this way:
a) It can be very tricky and time-consuming to set up properly
b) It doesn’t always work properly when setup – sudden crashes, freezes, startup problems etc
c) There is no developer support in case of problems
d) Some features will not work running MetaTrader on Mac this way such as MetaTrader Market
Even the developer of MetaTrader warns users that using Wine based software to run its software can be problematic:
Note that Wine is not a fully stable application. Thus, some functions in the applications you start under it may work improperly or not work at all.
- Download a wrapped version of MT4 from an online stock platform
You’ll find several stock trading platforms and forex trading platforms for Mac that claim to allow you to download MT4 on your Mac to use their trading platform. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that these are native Mac MetaTrader clients. The trading platforms have merely “ready wrapped” (usually with Wine) the downloads so you don’t have to go through the hassle of trying to install and wrap it yourself. Examples include online brokers XM, Admiral Markets and Pepperstone.
Although these are a better option than trying to set up and run MetaTrader on Mac yourself using Wine or PlayOnMac, they are subject to the same problems and limitations i.e. instability, incompatibility with future releases of macOS, no developer support and lack of certain features such as MetaTrader Market. Since they’re emulating a Windows environment within macOS, they can also be quite slow to use and don’t exactly look good on Mac with a very dated Windows style interface. Here’s how Pepperstone’s version of MetaTrader looks on macOS for example.
As you can see, if you go to the File Menu, like most online stock trading platforms, they use Wineskin (an adaptation of Wine) to run MT4 on Mac.
We hope this has cleared up some of the confusion regarding the availability of MetaTrader on Mac but if you have any questions, let us know in the comments below.