DDEV on Intel... on Apple Silicon

August 23, 2023 3 min read

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Intel and Apple on Apple Silicon

From time to time, Apple Silicon DDEV users encounter an image or a Node.js package that is not available for the Mac’s native architecture (variously called ARM64 or aarch64). These result in errors like: “Could not open ‘/lib64/ld-linux-x86-64.so.2’: No such file or directory”.

Emulation of Docker images has been pretty scary and unreliable since the Apple Silicon macs came out, but there is some hope.

To be clear: If you do not absolutely have to have a project that can run AMD64 Docker images or applications, don’t do any of this. I always recommend running native ARM64 Docker images and applications on Apple Silicon Macs. Your life will be bettter.

But if you have to run something like the puppeteer or node-sass Node.js packages, which are only available for AMD64, you might be able to do it. I’m going to show three ways that might work for you. You may have to try all of them, and I’ll be really interested in your results.

1. Use OrbStack with the DOCKER_DEFAULT_PLATFORM=linux/amd64

OrbStack is a great new Docker provider; super lightweight and performant, and it does nice emulation using your Mac’s Rosetta system.

ddev poweroff
docker rm -f $(docker ps -aq)
export DOCKER_DEFAULT_PLATFORM=linux/amd64
ddev start

In my case I had trouble with the traefik image and had to explicitly pull the linux/amd64 version of it listed by ddev version. docker pull --platform linux/amd64 ddev/ddev-traefik-router:20230816_traefik_image You would pull the image shown for router in ddev version.

This was the easiest to use and most performant of the options.

2. Use Docker Desktop for Mac with the DOCKER_DEFAULT_PLATFORM=linux/amd64

This is about the same, but you have to toggle some non-default settings.

First, in the Docker Desktop UI under “Features in Development”, enable “Use Rosetta for x86/amd64 emulation on Apple Silicon”. Obviously you have to have Rosetta enabled for this to work, and Docker Desktop may impose other requirements. This probably only works on Ventura and higher.


ddev poweroff
docker rm -f $(docker ps -aq)
export DOCKER_DEFAULT_PLATFORM=linux/amd64
ddev start

3. Use Colima with an AMD64 setting

ddev poweroff
colima stop
colima start amd64 --arch x86_64 --cpu 4 --memory 6 --disk 100 --vm-type=qemu --mount-type=sshfs --dns=
ddev start

This will start a new Colima profile with the AMD64 architecture. It does not affect an existing (default) Colima profile.

Switching between Docker providers

You can actually have all these running at the same time, although it doesn’t make any sense to do so. Each has a separate Docker context and you can switch between them using the docker context command. For example, docker context use colima-amd64 will use the AMD64 Colima profile we created. docker context use orbstack will switch to OrbStack. And docker context use desktop-linux will switch to Docker Desktop. Use docker context ls to see what’s set up on your system.

Keep in touch!

I’d love to hear your experience. Join us in Discord or open an issue or send an email if you have success (or failure 😀).

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