How to install TensorFlow and TensorFlow Probability (nightly) on Mac M1 Pro with Rosetta


If like me you recently upgraded to the latest MacBook Pro with M1 chip and use the nightly version of TensorFlow (TF) and TensorFlow Probability (TFP) in most of your research projects, then you’ll probably find this page useful. I initially followed the Apple’s tutorial to install TF 2.6 on M1, which worked smoothly and allows you to use M1’s GPU. I could also install TFP with conda, but could not get the latest version which led to some conflicts. I quickly had to give up on using TF and TFP for M1 (if you figure out a way, please let me know!!). A different strategy is to install python libraries for x86 using Rosetta 2. While this can be done easily for most python packages, it turned out to be quite tricky for TF and TFP. In fact, you can’t just pip install tf-nightly tfp-nightly, as Rosetta 2 does not support the AVX instruction set. In this post, I will guide you thorugh the procedure I used to get both tf-nightly and tfp-nightly to work on the M1 chip with Rosetta 2.


Before we start, you need to change the way the Terminal app is open, and set it to be with Rosetta. To do so, in Applications/Utilities, right click on Terminal, then Get Info, and check the box ‘Open using Rosetta’. Make sure to close and reopen the terminal.

As first step, you need the Xcode Command Line Tools installed. You can do this by running:

xcode-select --install

Then, we need homebrew for x86. Simply install homebrew:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

and then rename it by copying the following line in the file .zshrc: alias brow='/usr/local/bin/brew'. In this way, you can use brew both on M1 (brew) and on x86 translated with Rosetta (brow).

Next step, we need to install miniconda and create an environment. Start with:

brow install --cask miniconda

Then, you need to run conda init. if you have previously installed miniforge, you need to remove from the file .bash_profile everything between (and including):

# >>> conda initialize >>>
# <<< conda initialize <<<

and then run conda init again.

Now, type source activate .bash_profile, and then conda create -n env_name python=3.9. After the environment is created, type conda activate env_name.

As last part of the preliminaries, we need to install bazel, which will allow us to compile TF from source. I actually followed a different route here, but do not know whether that’s necessary or if simply installyng bazel with homebrew would be enough. What I did is explained here, and consists of:

brow install zlib
brow install bzip2
brow install sqlite
brow install libiconv
brow install libzip
brow install xz
brow install bazelisk
brow install gnu-sed

Install TensorFlow

For this part, I mostly followed the instructions to build from source with some minor modifications. Making sure that you are in the conda environment previously created (env_name in our example), type:

pip install -U pip numpy wheel
pip install -U keras_preprocessing --no-deps

Then, clone the TF git repo:

git clone
cd tensorflow

If you need a specific version of tensorflow, for example 2.7, you can type git checkout r2.7. However, here I will show how to install the latest (nightly) version. To start the build, type:

bazel build //tensorflow/tools/pip_package:build_pip_package

This will take at least a couple of hours.

Once it’s done, you can build the package with

./bazel-bin/tensorflow/tools/pip_package/build_pip_package --nightly_flag /tmp/tensorflow_pkg

After this, in the folder tmp/tensorflow_pkg/, you will find the .whl file. For example, it could be something like tensorflow-2.6.0-cp38-cp38-macosx_10_11_x86_64.whl, or in our case, something like tf_nightly-2.8.0-cp39 and more stuff. Rename that file as tf_nightly-2.8.0-py3-none-any.whl or, in general, tensorflow or tf_nightly depending on the version you are using, followed by the version -2.x.y followed by -py3-none-any.whl.

Finally, run:

python -m pip install /tmp/tensorflow_pkg/tf_nightly-2.8.0-py3-none-any.whl

Install TensorFlow Probability

For TFP, things are a bit easier (and faster), with only minor modifications from the official website.

The list of commands to run is:

  git clone
  cd probability
  bazel build --copt=-O3 --copt=-march=native :pip_pkg
  PKGDIR=$(mktemp -d)
  ./bazel-bin/pip_pkg $PKGDIR
  python -m pip install --upgrade $PKGDIR/*.whl

And we are done!


This was the procedure I used to install TF and TFP on my Mac M1 with Rosetta. If you find better way to do that, or a way to install both nightly versions directly on M1, please reach out! After all, who wouldn’t like to train their models on GPU with a Mac?

Gianluigi Silvestri
Gianluigi Silvestri
PhD student in Machine Learning