port [-bcdfknNopqRstuvy] [-D portdir|portname] [-F cmdfile] [action] [actionflags]
     [[portname | pseudo-portname | port-expressions | port-url]]
     [[@version] [+/-variant …] … [option=value …]]


port is designed to operate on individual or multiple ports, optionally within a single call, based on the requested action. If no action is specified the port command enters shell mode, in which commands are read via stdin. If no portdir or portname is specified for an action, the current working directory is assumed. Batch commands may be passed via a cmdfile. Port options are passed as key=value pairs and take precedence over individual portname options as specified in its Portfile and system-wide settings.

Port variants can be specified as +name, which indicates the variant is desired, or -name, indicating the contrary. In case of ambiguities, a port can be fully specified with the @version_revision+variants format.

Installed ports can be activated or deactivated without being uninstalled. A port can be installed in multiple versions and variant combinations, but only one of them can be active. See portarchives(7).

When passing portnames to an action, port recognizes various pseudo-portnames that will expand to the specified set of ports from the available port tree(s). These may be used in the same way as a portname.

The pseudo-portnames are:
  • all: all the ports in each ports tree listed in sources.conf

  • current: the port in the current working directory

  • active: set of installed and active ports

  • inactive: set of installed but inactive ports

  • installed: set of all installed ports

  • uninstalled: ports in the ports tree(s) that are not installed

  • outdated: installed ports that are out of date with respect to their current version/revision in the ports tree(s)

  • obsolete: set of ports that are installed but no longer exist in any port tree

  • requested: installed ports that were explicitly asked for

  • unrequested: installed ports that were installed only to satisfy dependencies

  • leaves: installed ports that are unrequested and have no dependents

  • rleaves: installed ports that are unrequested and that no requested ports depend on

Sets of ports can also be specified with pseudo-portname selectors, which expand to the ports in which the value of the Portfile option corresponding to the selector’s name (in either singular or plural form where applicable) matches the given regular expression. Usage is: selector:regex

The pseudo-portname selectors are:
  • name

  • version

  • revision

  • epoch

  • variant or variants

  • category or categories

  • maintainer or maintainers

  • platform or platforms

  • description

  • long_description

  • homepage

  • license

  • portdir

Other pseudo-portname selectors match ports which have a particular relationship to another port. These will match ports that are direct or recursive dependencies or dependents of the given portname:

  • depof

  • rdepof

  • rdepends

  • dependentof

  • rdependentof

Search strings that will expand to a set of matching ports can be constructed based on the "pseudo-portname selector":regex combination used. portnames containing valid UNIX glob patterns will also expand to the set of matching ports. Any action passed to port will be invoked on each of them.

For example:

port info variant:no_ssl
port uninstall name:sql
port echo depof:mysql5
port echo 'apache*'

Logical operators "and", "or", "not", "!", "(" and ")" may be used to combine individual portnames, port glob patterns and/or pseudo-portnames to construct complex port-expressions that expand to the set of matching ports.

For example:

port upgrade outdated and 'py27-*'
port echo maintainer:jberry and uninstalled and \( category:java and not commons* \)
Special shell characters like *, \( or \) need to be escaped in order to be passed correctly to port.


The port command recognizes several global flags and options.

Output control

Verbose mode, generates verbose messages


Debug mode, generate debugging messages, implies -v


Quiet mode, suppress informational messages to a minimum, implies -N


Non-interactive mode, interactive questions are not asked

Installation and upgrade

Don’t follow dependencies in upgrade (affects upgrade and install)


Also upgrade dependents (only for upgrade)


Uninstall inactive ports when upgrading and uninstalling


Perform a dry run. All of the steps to build the ports and their dependencies are computed, but not actually performed. With the verbose flag, every step is reported; otherwise there is just one message per port, which allows you to easily determine the recursive deps of a port (and the order in which they will be built).


Source-only mode, build and install from source; do not attempt to fetch binary archives.


Binary-only mode, build and install from binary archives, ignore source, abort if no archive available.


Autoclean mode, execute clean after install


Keep mode, do not autoclean after install

Exit status

Despite any errors encountered, proceed to process multiple ports and commands.


Honor state files even if the Portfile was modified. This flag is called -o because it used to mean "older".


Enable trace mode debug facilities on platforms that support it, currently only macOS.
This feature is two-folded. It consists in automatically detecting and reporting undeclared dependencies based on what files the port reads or what programs the port executes. In verbose mode, it will also report unused dependencies for each stage of the port installation. It also consists in forbidding and reporting file creation and file writes outside allowed directories (temporary directories and ${workpath}).


Force mode, ignore state file

-D portdir|portname

Specify a directory to which the port command should change before processing any actions. If the specified value does not contain any slashes, the value is used to look up a port and the current working directory is set to the corresponding port directory.

-F cmdfile

Read and process the file of commands specified by the argument. If the argument is -, then read commands from stdin. If the option is given multiple times, then multiple files will be read.


Actions most commonly used by regular MacPorts users are:


Search for an available port whose name or description matches a regular expression.

For example:

port search vim

Displays meta-information available for portname. Specific meta-information may be requested through an option such as --maintainer or --category. Recognized field names are those from the PortIndex, see “port help info” for a complete list. If no specific fields are specified, a useful default collection of fields will be displayed. If the global option -q is in effect, the meta-info fields will not be labeled. If the option --line is provided, all such data will be consolidated into a single line per port, suitable for processing in a pipe of commands. If the option --pretty is provided, the information will be formatted in a somewhat more attractive fashion for human readers. This is the default when no options at all are specified to info. If the option --index is provided, the information will be pulled from the PortIndex rather than from the Portfile. In this case variant information, such as dependencies, will not affect the output.

For example:

port info vim +ruby
port info --category --name apache*
port -q info --category --name --version category:java
port info --line --category --name all
port info --pretty --fullname --depends gtk2
port info --index python27

Displays notes for portname which usually contain useful information concerning setup and use of the port.


Lists the variants available for portname.


Lists the other ports that are required to build and run portname. This is simply an alias for “info --pretty --fullname --depends”.


Recursively lists the other ports that are required to build and run portname. To display the full dependency tree instead of only showing each port once, use --full. To take dependency information from the PortIndex instead of the Portfile (faster, but does not take variant selections into account), use --index. To exclude dependencies that are only needed at build time (i.e. depends_fetch, depends_extract, depends_build), use --no-build.


Lists the installed ports that depend on the port portname.


Recursively lists the installed ports that depend on the port portname. To display the full tree of dependents instead of only showing each port once, use --full.


Install and activate portname.


Deactivate and uninstall portname. To uninstall all installed but inactive ports, use -u. To recursively uninstall all dependents of this port, use --follow-dependents. To uninstall portname and then recursively uninstall all ports it depended on, use --follow-dependencies. This will not uninstall dependencies that are marked as requested or that have other dependents.

For example:

port uninstall vim
port -u uninstall
port uninstall --follow-dependents python27

Reclaims disk space by uninstalling inactive ports and removing unneeded installation files.


For a given group, selects a version to be the default by creating appropriate symbolic links. For instance, python might be linked to python2.6. Available select groups are installed as subdirectories of ${prefix}/etc/select/ and can be listed using --summary. To list the available versions in a group, use --list. To see which version is currently selected for a group, use --show. To change the selected version for a group, use --set.

For example:

port select --summary
port select --show python
port select --list python
port select --set python python34

Activate the installed portname.


Deactivate the installed portname.


Mark portname as requested.


Mark portname as unrequested.


Alias for unsetrequested command.


Show the installed version, variants and activation status for each portname. If no arguments are given, all installed ports are displayed.


Print the install location of a given port.


Lists the files installed by portname.


Determines which port owns a given file and can take either a relative or absolute path.

For example:

port provides /opt/local/etc/irssi.conf
port provides include/tiff.h

Performs a sync operation only on the ports tree of a MacPorts installation, pulling in the latest revision available of the Portfiles from the MacPorts rsync server.

To update you would normally do:

sudo port -d sync

If any of the ports tree(s) uses a file: URL that points to a local subversion working copy, sync will perform an svn update on the working copy with the user set to the owner of the working copy.


Lists the installed ports which need a upgrade.


The upgrade action works on a port and its dependencies. If you want to change this behavior, look at the switches for -n (no dependencies) and -R (dependents) above.

Upgrade all outdated ports:

port upgrade outdated
It is recommended to always upgrade all ports with the command indicated above. Upgrading single ports as indicated in the subsequent examples should only be performed if you know what you are doing, since this might lead to unexpected software errors from ports that have not yet been upgraded.


Upgrade the installed portname. For example:

port upgrade vim

To upgrade portname and the ports that depend on it:

port -R upgrade libiconv

To force a rebuild of portname and all of its dependencies use:

port upgrade --force vim

To upgrade portname without following its dependencies before, use -n.

For example:

port -n upgrade wireshark
By selecting the variants to use in the upgraded build of the port, any variants specified on the command line take highest precedence, then the variants active in the latest installed version of the port, and finally the global variants specified in variants.conf, if any. Note that upgrade will not normally rebuild a port only to change the selected variants; you can either specify --enforce-variants, or deactivate the port and reinstall it with different variants. --enforce-variants will retain the variant merging procedure described previously. Variants will not be reset to the default values.


After the upgrade MacPorts will automatically run rev-upgrade to check for broken ports that need to be rebuilt. If there are known problems with rev-upgrade or other reasons why you would want to avoid running this step, you can disable it by running port upgrade with the --no-rev-upgrade switch:

port upgrade --no-rev-upgrade outdated

Manually check for broken binaries and rebuild ports containing broken binaries. rev-upgrade is usually automatically run after each upgrade, unless you specify the --no-rev-upgrade option.
rev-upgrade can run more checks against a special loadcommand in Mach-O binaries that should always be referencing the file itself. This check is most helpful for maintainers to check whether their ports have been built correctly. It is disabled by default and can be enabled by passing --id-loadcmd-check to rev-upgrade.
See also: macports.conf(5)


Clean the files used for building portname. To just remove the work files, use the --work actionflag. This is the default when no flag is given. To remove the distribution files (fetched tarballs, patches, etc), specify --dist. To remove any archive(s) of a port than remain in the temporary download directory, pass --archive. (This does not remove archives from the installed location.) To remove log files for a port, pass --logs. To remove the work files, distribution files, temporary archives and logs pass --all.

For example:

port clean --dist vim
port clean --archive vim
port clean --logs vim

To remove only certain version(s) of a port’s archives (version is any valid UNIX glob pattern), you can use:

port clean --archive vim 6.2.114


port clean --archive vim '6.*'

Parses and shows log files for portname. To filter log files by some criterions use --phase to specify the phase you want to show and --verbosity to specify message category (msg, info, debug).

For example:

port log --phase configure vim
port log --phase fetch --verbosity debug vim

Displays the path to the log file for portname.


Writes to stdout the arguments passed to port. This follows the expansion of pseudo-portnames, portname glob patterns, pseudo-portname selectors and the evaluation of port-expressions. echo may be used to determine the exact set of ports to which a given string of arguments will expand, without performing any further operations on them.

For example:

port echo category:net
port echo maintainer:jmpp and name:netw
port echo maintainer:jmpp and \( net* or category:text \)

If no argument is given, display a list of the latest version of all available ports. If portname(s) are given as arguments, display a list of the latest version of each port.
Note that virtually all use cases involving the list action with one or more arguments would now be better served by a different action, such as installed, echo, info or outdated.


Create/update a local mirror of distfiles used for ports given on the command line. The filemap database can be reset by using the --new option (though if no database is found, it will be created automatically). If the fetched file does not match the checksum given in the Portfile, it is deleted. This can be used with pseudo-portnames, e.g. all, to mirror everything. Note that if you use all, you’ll most likely want to use -p so port doesn’t quit on the first download failure.


Display the release number of the installed MacPorts infrastructure.


Updates the MacPorts system, ports tree(s) and base tools if needed, from the MacPorts rsync server, installing the newest infrastructure available.

To update you would typically do:

sudo port selfupdate

See sync for more information about updating ports tree(s).


Provides a shortcut to using launchctl to load a port’s daemon (as installed in /Library/LaunchDaemons). It runs:

launchctl load -w /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.macports.${port}.plist

A shortcut to launchctl, like load, but unloads the daemon.


A shortcut to launchctl, like load and unload, but reloads the daemon.


Loads the home page for the given portname in the default web browser.


Displays a condensed usage summary.


Displays a summary of all available actions and port command syntax on stdout.


The actions that are often used by Port developers are intended to provide access to the different phases of a Port’s build process:


Displays the path to the directory containing portname.


Displays the path to the work directory for portname.


Changes the current working directory to the one containing portname. Only useful in shell mode.


Displays the path to the Portfile for portname.


Displays the URL for the path of the given portname, which can be passed as port-url.


Concatenates and prints the contents of Portfile on stdout.


Opens Portfile with your default editor specified in your shell’s environment variable. You can also use the --editor flag on the command line to specify an alternative editor.

For example:

port edit --editor nano apache2

Fetches the distribution files required to build portname.


Compute the checksums of the distribution files for portname, and compare them to the checksums listed in Portfile.


Extracts the distribution files for portname.


Applies any required patches to portname’s extracted distribution files.


Runs any configure process for portname.


Build portname.


Installs portname to a temporary directory.


Tests portname.


Verifies Portfile for portname. To nitpick about whitespace and patchfile names, use --nitpick.


Update portname’s checksums and revision for a new version.


Check if the distfiles haven’t changed and can be fetched.


Display each distfile, its checksums, and the URLs used to fetch it.


Check if the software hasn’t been updated since the Portfile was last modified.


There are also actions for producing installable packages of ports:


Creates a macOS installer package of portname.


Creates a macOS installer metapackage of portname and its dependencies.


Creates an Internet-enabled disk image containing a macOS package of portname.


Creates an Internet-enabled disk image containing a macOS metapackage of portname and its dependencies.


The following demonstrates invoking port with the extract action on portdir “textproc/figlet” and extract.suffix set to “.tgz”:

port extract -D textproc/figlet extract.suffix=.tgz



Global configuration file for the MacPorts system.


Global listing of the ports trees used by MacPorts. This file also enables rsync synchronization.


Global variants used when a port is installed.


User configuration file for the MacPorts system. It overrides the global macports.conf(5) file.


The port utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.



(C) 2002-2003 Apple Inc.
(C) 2004-2018 The MacPorts Project
Landon Fuller <>
James Berry <>
Jordan K. Hubbard <>
Juan Manuel Palacios <>
Kevin Van Vechten <>
Ole Guldberg Jensen <>
Robert Shaw <>
Chris Ridd <>
Matt Anton <>
Joe Auty <>
Rainer Mueller <>