Running Tor on Mac OS X

These are advanced installation instructions for running Tor in a command line. The recommended way to use Tor is to simply download the Tor Browser Bundle and you are done.

Even though the Tor Browser Bundle comes with a regular Tor, and you could use the graphical interface to configure Tor as a relay and bridge easily, it will only run as long as you keep the Tor Browser open. The following instructions will set up Tor without graphical interface or a browser. Many people prefer this over TBB when they host hidden services or relay traffic for other Tor users.

Step One: Install Homebrew

The advanced Tor without any graphical user interface can be installed using the Homebrew package manager. It is most suitable if you want to use Tor as a SOCKS proxy for applications other than web browsing, or run a Tor relay/bridge to help other Tor users. If you use the command-line Tor, you might be interested in arm, a command-line Tor monitor and alternative to the Vidalia GUI.

If you don't have Homebrew installed, open a terminal window and run:

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSkL"

Step Two: Install Tor

In a terminal window, run:

brew install tor

You will find the Tor configuration file at /usr/local/etc/tor/torrc.

Step Three: Verify your download

As with any application, you should make sure it came unmodified from the orginal source. Unfortunately, Homebrew does not come with integrated verification for downloads, and anyone could submit a modified Tor! Currently, we don't have good instructions on how to verify the Tor download on Mac OSX. If you think you do, please let us know!

Step Four: Configure your application to use Tor

If you want to use Tor for anonymous web browsing, please use the Tor Browser Bundle. It comes with readily configured Tor and a browser patched for better anonymity. To use SOCKS directly (for instant messaging, Jabber, IRC, etc), you can point your application directly at Tor (localhost port 9050), but see this FAQ entry for why this may be dangerous. For applications that support neither SOCKS nor HTTP, take a look at socat.

For information on how to Torify other applications, check out the Torify HOWTO.

If you have a personal firewall that limits your computer's ability to connect to itself, be sure to allow connections from your local applications to local port 9050. If your firewall blocks outgoing connections, punch a hole so it can connect to at least TCP ports 80 and 443, and then see this FAQ entry.

If it's still not working, look at this FAQ entry for hints.

Once it's working, learn more about what Tor does and does not offer.

Configure Tor as a relay

The Tor network relies on volunteers to donate bandwidth. The more people who run relays, the faster the Tor network will be. If you have at least 50 kilobytes/s each way, please help out Tor by configuring your Tor to be a relay too. We have many features that make Tor relays easy and convenient, including rate limiting for bandwidth, exit policies so you can limit your exposure to abuse complaints, and support for dynamic IP addresses.

Having relays in many different places on the Internet is what makes Tor users secure. You may also get stronger anonymity yourself, since remote sites can't know whether connections originated at your computer or were relayed from others.

Read more at our Configuring a relay guide.

How To Uninstall Tor

Change your application proxy settings back to their original values. If you just want to stop using Tor, you can end at this point.

If you want to completely remove Tor, and your account has Admin Privileges, then proceed as follows:

  1. Open Finder and click on Applications.
  2. Drag /Applications/TorBrowser to the Trash.
  3. Remove /Library/Torbutton from your system.
  4. In your User or home directory, go to Library, remove the Vidalia directory

Tor Browser is now completely removed from your system.

If you have suggestions for improving this document, please send them to us. Thanks!