Install PySpark on Mac

Here are the steps to follow to run Python, Pandas and PySpark on a Mac:

Install Java JDK 8

  • At the time of writing this, Java JDK 9 is not compatible with PySpark.
  • The JDK 8 is downloadable here.
  • In your bash_profile you should see (if not, add it yourself):
    • export JAVA_HOME=$(/usr/libexec/java_home)

Install Anaconda

  • With Anaconda you get Python, Pandas and the most useful libraries for data manipulation.
  • Anaconda is available here.
  • At the time of writing this, I downloaded Anaconda2 (Python 2.7), Graphical Installer.
  • Anaconda will automatically add a PATH to your bash_profile.

Install Apache Spark

  • You download Apache Spark here.
  • At the time of writing this, I downloaded version 2.2.0, Pre-built for Apache Hadoop 2.7 and later.


  • Unzip, and move the unzipped folder to your Home folder.
  • In your bash_profile, add this line and change it to your Spark folder:
    • export SPARK_HOME=~/spark-2.2.0-bin-hadoop2.7
  • At this point, if you open a new terminal window and type “pyspark”, you should see PySpark start at the command line.


To start PySpark and directly open a Jupyter Notebook

  • Add two lines to your bash_profile:
    • export PYSPARK_DRIVER_PYTHON=”jupyter”
    • export PYSPARK_DRIVER_PYTHON_OPTS=”notebook”
  • Now, when typing PySpark in a new terminal window, PySpark will initialize and start a Jupyter notebook.
  • If you create a new Python notebook and type “sc” in a cell and excute the cell, you should see the Spark context information.


  • You are ready to start coding.
Written on November 25, 2017