A fork of https://github.com/thoughtbot/laptop to handle setting up work machines. See README for details.
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Laptop is a script to set up a macOS laptop for web and mobile development.

It can be run multiple times on the same machine safely. It installs, upgrades, or skips packages based on what is already installed on the machine.


We support:

  • macOS Monterey (12.3) on Apple Silicon and Intel

Older versions may work but aren't regularly tested. Bug reports for older versions are welcome.


Download the script:

curl --remote-name https://raw.githubusercontent.com/thoughtbot/laptop/main/mac

Review the script (avoid running scripts you haven't read!):

less mac

Execute the downloaded script:

sh mac 2>&1 | tee ~/laptop.log

Optionally, review the log:

less ~/laptop.log

Optionally, install thoughtbot/dotfiles.


Your last Laptop run will be saved to ~/laptop.log. Read through it to see if you can debug the issue yourself. If not, copy the lines where the script failed into a new GitHub Issue for us. Or, attach the whole log file as an attachment.

What it sets up

macOS tools:

  • Homebrew for managing operating system libraries.

Unix tools:

  • Universal Ctags for indexing files for vim tab completion
  • Git for version control
  • OpenSSL for Transport Layer Security (TLS)
  • RCM for managing company and personal dotfiles
  • The Silver Searcher for finding things in files
  • Tmux for saving project state and switching between projects
  • Watchman for watching for filesystem events
  • Zsh as your shell

Heroku tools:

GitHub tools:

Image tools:

Programming languages, package managers, and configuration:

  • asdf-vm for managing programming language versions
  • Bundler for managing Ruby libraries
  • Node.js and npm, for running apps and installing JavaScript packages
  • Ruby stable for writing general-purpose code : 2.7.5 and 3.0.3
  • Yarn for managing JavaScript packages


No databases installed, we rely on Docker containers for these.

Customize in ~/.laptop.local

Your ~/.laptop.local is run at the end of the Laptop script. Put your customizations there. For example:


brew bundle --file=- <<EOF
brew "Caskroom/cask/dockertoolbox"
brew "go"
brew "ngrok"
brew "watch"

default_docker_machine() {
  docker-machine ls | grep -Fq "default"

if ! default_docker_machine; then
  docker-machine create --driver virtualbox default

default_docker_machine_running() {
  default_docker_machine | grep -Fq "Running"

if ! default_docker_machine_running; then
  docker-machine start default

fancy_echo "Cleaning up old Homebrew formulae ..."
brew cleanup
brew cask cleanup

if [ -r "$HOME/.rcrc" ]; then
  fancy_echo "Updating dotfiles ..."

Write your customizations such that they can be run safely more than once. See the mac script for examples.

Laptop functions such as fancy_echo and gem_install_or_update can be used in your ~/.laptop.local.

See the wiki for more customization examples.


Edit the mac file. Document in the README.md file. Follow shell style guidelines by using ShellCheck and Syntastic.

brew install shellcheck

Testing your changes

Test your changes by running the script on a fresh install of macOS. You can use the free and open source emulator UTM.

Tip: Make a fresh virtual machine with the installation of macOS completed and your user created and first launch complete. Then duplicate that machine to test the script each time on a fresh install thats ready to go.

Thank you, contributors!

By participating in this project, you agree to abide by the thoughtbot code of conduct.


Laptop is © 2011-2022 thoughtbot, inc. It is free software, and may be redistributed under the terms specified in the LICENSE file.

About thoughtbot


Laptop is maintained and funded by thoughtbot, inc. The names and logos for thoughtbot are trademarks of thoughtbot, inc.

We are passionate about open source software. See our other projects. We are available for hire.