Location of my.cnf file on macOS

I’m trying to follow along this tutorial to enable remote access to MySQL. The problem is, where should my.cnf file be located? I’m using Mac OS X Lion.


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Method 1

This thread on the MySQL forum says:

By default, the OS X installation does not use a my.cnf, and MySQL just uses the default values. To set up your own my.cnf, you could just create a file straight in /etc.

OS X provides example configuration files at /usr/local/mysql/support-files/.

And if you can’t find them there, MySQLWorkbench can create them for you by:

  1. Opening a connection
  2. Selecting the ‘Options File’ under ‘INSTANCE’ in the menu.
  3. MySQLWorkbench will search for my.cnf and if it can’t find it, it’ll create it for you

Method 2

In case of Mac OS X Maverick when MySQL is installed via Homebrew it’s located at /usr/local/opt/mysql/my.cnf

Method 3

In general, on Unix and Unix-like systems, MySQL/MariaDB programs read config/startup files in the following locations (in the specified order):

  • /etc/my.cnf – Global
  • /etc/mysql/my.cnf – Global
  • SYSCONFDIR/my.cnf – Global

    SYSCONFDIR represents the directory specified with the SYSCONFDIR option to CMake when MySQL was built. By default, this is the etc directory located under the compiled-in installation directory.

  • $MYSQL_HOME/my.cnf – Server-specific (server only)

    MYSQL_HOME is an environment variable containing the path to the directory in which the server-specific my.cnf file resides. If MYSQL_HOME is not set and you start the server using the mysqld_safe program, mysqld_safe sets it to BASEDIR, the MySQL base installation directory.

  • file specified with --defaults-extra-file=path if any
  • ~/.my.cnf – User-specific
  • ~/.mylogin.cnf – User-specific (clients only)

Source: Using Option Files.

Note: On Unix platforms, MySQL ignores configuration files that are world-writable. This is intentional as a security measure.

Additionally on Mac there is a simple way to check it.

  1. Run: sudo fs_usage | grep my.cnf

    This will report any filesystem activity in real-time related to that file.

  2. In another Terminal, restart your MySQL/MariaDB, e.g.
    brew services restart mysql


    brew services restart mariadb
  3. On terminal with fs_usage, the proper location should be shown, e.g.
    15:52:22  access            /usr/local/Cellar/mariadb/10.1.14/my.cnf                                         0.000002   sh

    So if the file doesn’t exist, create one.

Method 4

I don’t know which version of MySQL you’re using, but here are possible locations of the my.cnf file for version 5.5 (taken from here) on Mac OS X:

  1. /etc/my.cnf
  2. /etc/mysql/my.cnf
  3. SYSCONFDIR/my.cnf
  4. $MYSQL_HOME/my.cnf
  5. defaults-extra-file (the file specified with --defaults-extra-file=path, if any)
  6. ~/.my.cnf

Method 5

If you are using macOS Sierra and the file doesn’t exists,

mysql --help or mysql --help | grep my.cnf

to see the possible locations and loading/reading sequence of my.cnf for mysql then create my.cnf file in one of the suggested directories then add the following line


You can sudo touch /{preferred-path}/my.cnf then edit the file to add sql mode by

sudo nano /{preferred-path}/my.cnf

Then restart MySQL.

Method 6

For MySQL 5.7 on Mac OS X El Capitan: /usr/local/mysql/etc/my.cnf

Copy default conf from /usr/local/mysql/support-files/my-default.cnf

Method 7

I’m running MacOS Catalina(10.15.3) and find my.cnf in /usr/local/etc.

Method 8

The current MySQL package for Mac OS X Mavericks (mysql-5.6.17-osx10.7-x86_64 at the time of this writing) automatically creates a my.cnf during installation.

It is located at /usr/local/mysql-5.6.17-osx10.7-x86_64/my.cnf
Adapt your path according to your version.

Method 9

macOS sierra 10.12.6
MySQL version : 5.7.18_1
I run locate my.cnf and the path is


Method 10

So none of these things worked for me. I am using the current dmg install of mysql community server. ps shows that all of the most critical parameters normally in my.cnf are passed on the command line, and I couldn’t figure out where that was coming from. After doing a full text search of my box I found it in:


So you can either change them there, or take them out so it will actually respect the ones you have in your my.cnf wherever you decided to put it.


Example of the file info found in that file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
    <key>Label</key>             <string>com.oracle.oss.mysql.mysqld</string>
    <key>ProcessType</key>       <string>Interactive</string>
    <key>Disabled</key>          <false/>
    <key>RunAtLoad</key>         <true/>
    <key>KeepAlive</key>         <true/>
    <key>SessionCreate</key>     <true/>
    <key>LaunchOnlyOnce</key>    <false/>
    <key>UserName</key>          <string>_mysql</string>
    <key>GroupName</key>         <string>_mysql</string>
    <key>ExitTimeOut</key>       <integer>600</integer>
    <key>Program</key>           <string>/usr/local/mysql/bin/mysqld</string>

    <key>WorkingDirectory</key>  <string>/usr/local/mysql</string>

Method 11

You can open a terminal and type locate my.cnf

Method 12

In mysql 5.6.22, which I installed it from Homebrew, the path of my.cnf is


Method 13

Open Terminal and use below command:

sudo find / -name my.cnf

Method 14

You can create your file under any directory you want. After creation, you can “tell” the path to mysql config:

enter image description here

Method 15

You can check the file

/usr/local/bin/mysql.server and see from where my.conf is being read from.

Usually it is from /etc/my.cnf or ~/my.cnf or ~/.my.cnf

Method 16


The MySQL Documents for which version you are using will help.
It is usually described as a Options File or MySQL Config File.
The docs have the location of these files in the documentation, As well as other VITAL information like the location & small examples of what the config file must look like.

MySQL Version 8

MySQL Version 5.7

MySQL Version 5.6

MySQL Version 5.5

MySQL Version 5.6 Japanese

Important Notes:

On Unix platforms, MySQL ignores configuration files that are world-writable.

This is intentional as a security measure.

In other words, if you have the wrong permissions set on your config file the will NOT load.

Example of initial setup permission of one of the config files:

RIZZOMBP$ ls -lah /etc/my.cnf
-rw-r--r--  1 myusername  wheel     0B Feb 25 20:40 /etc/my.cnf


It is possible to use !include directives in option files to include other option files and !includedir to search specific directories for option files…..

MySQL makes no guarantee about the order in which option files in the directory will be read

Any files to be found and included using the !includedir directive on Unix operating systems must have file names ending in .cnf. On Windows, this directive checks for files with the .ini or .cnf extension.

Examples of how to find your location of your config or log files ect.:


This will not show you the config file but will help you locate your installation files/folders.

MySQL Version 5.7 & 8+


MySQL Version <= 5.6



RIZZOMBP$ mysql --help | grep "Default options" -A 1

Default options are read from the following files in the given order:
/etc/my.cnf /etc/mysql/my.cnf /usr/local/mysql/etc/my.cnf ~/.my.cnf

Above Command Credit To: Erwin Mayer from ServerFault

RIZZOMBP$ mysqld --verbose --help | grep '/my.cnf' -B 1

Default options are read from the following files in the given order:
/etc/my.cnf /etc/mysql/my.cnf /usr/local/mysql/etc/my.cnf ~/.my.cnf


RIZZOMBP$ ps aux | grep -i mysqld | grep -v $USER

_mysql 106 0.4 2.5 4232336 422112 ?? Ss 7:01PM 0:57.12

Sample File

Should you need a detailed Reference Sample my.cnf:

  1. https://gist.github.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=my.cnf+mysql&ref=searchresults
  2. https://www.linode.com/community/questions/5749/mysql-sample-config-files
  3. https://www.fromdual.com/mysql-configuration-file-sample

No affiliation/association to the URL’s

My System:

RIZZOMBP$ sw_vers
ProductName:    Mac OS X
ProductVersion: 10.14.3
BuildVersion:   18D109
RIZZOMBP$ mysql -V
mysql  Ver 8.0.15 for macos10.14 on x86_64 (MySQL Community Server - GPL)
RIZZOMBP$ mysqld -V
Ver 8.0.15 for macos10.14 on x86_64 (MySQL Community Server - GPL)

Method 17

In case of installing MySQL with Homebrew in Mac M1 with MacOS Monterey 12.0.1 the location is /opt/homebrew/etc/my.cnf

Method 18

For MAMP 3.5 Mac El Capitan, create a separate empty config file and write your additional settings for mysql

sudo vim /Applications/MAMP/Library/my.cnf

And Add like this

max_allowed_packet = 256M

Method 19

macOS High Sierra
version 10.13.6

mysql Ver 14.14 Distrib 5.7.22, for osx10.13 (x86_64) using EditLine wrapper
Copyright (c) 2000, 2018, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved

Default options are read from the following files in the given order:


Method 20

/private/etc/my.cnf for Catalina

Method 21

I checked in macOS Sierra, the homebrew installed MySql 5.7.12

The support files are located at


Just copy my-default.cnf as /etc/my.cnf or /etc/mysql/my.cnf and the configuration will be picked up on restart.

Method 22

it should be usually under /usr/local/etc on mac if you do not find it you can create one

Method 23

I am using mysql version 5.7.17 in macOS High Sierra version 10.13.3 and I have found the mysql config file here.

cd /usr/local/mysql/support-files/my-default.cnf

Method 24

For mysql 8.0.19, I finally found the my.cnf here:
I copied it to
and modified it. Then I restart the mysql service, it works.

Method 25

For Mac , what worked for me is creating a .my.cnf file in my ~ path. Hope this helps.

Method 26

Copy /usr/local/opt/mysql/support-files/my-default.cnf as /etc/my.cnf or /etc/mysql/my.cnf and then restart mysql.

Method 27

For me in sierra version

copy the default configuration at:




Method 28

In my case, the file did not exist. In MySQL Workbench I went to OPTIONS FILE and found some default values. I clicked apply. It asked for permission. It then created the my.cnf file under /etc. However, it is very important to keep in mind that the first time you click “apply”, you do not make any changes to the default configuration. Once the file has been created, you can make changes which will be applied when you click “apply”. Otherwise you will not be shown the apply button when you make changes.

Method 29

After the 5.7.18 version of MySQL, it does not provide the default configuration file in support-files directory.
So you can create my.cnf file manually in the location where MySQL will read, like /etc/mysql/my.cnf, and add the configuration you want to add in the file.

Method 30

rDefault options are read from the following files in the given order:
/etc/my.cnf /etc/mysql/my.cnf /usr/local/mysql/etc/my.cnf ~/.my.cnf

All methods was sourced from stackoverflow.com or stackexchange.com, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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