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Elite: Dangerous for Mac: Latest Update introduces a Deadly Alien Race

Elite: Dangerous, the hotly anticipated space-adventure game from Frontier Developments, was released for Mac on May 12, 2015.

Prior to that, the game went through a limited beta release to iron out performance issues and bugs. Elite: Dangerous’s macOS is a solid Mac port, but it is undeniable that you will need a powerful Mac to run this very demanding game.

About the game

Elite: Dangerous is a space adventure, trading, and combat simulator taking place in a realistic 1:1 scale galaxy based on the real Milky Way. The game is the sequel to Frontier: First Encounters, the third game in the Elite series, released in 1995.

Elite Dangerous Mac

In Elite: Dangerous, you start with a spaceship and a few funds and then take on an open world galaxy. You can go at it legally or illegally, through missions, combat, trading, bounty-hunting, piracy, and assassination.

And the game continues to grow thanks to free updates from the developer.


Encounters that will make your blood run cold

There have been reports of Alien sightings in the game since January 2017. These encounters have continued to escalate since, until it all went overboard with Elite: Dangerous’ latest update called The Return, released on September 26, 2017.

This update officially introduced a deadly new alien race called the Thargoids.

The update also introduced new features such as:

  • Inbox Revamp – Various quality of life improvements and a new look
  • New Chained Missions
  • Updated route plotting system
  • Added search and rescue contacts to stations across the galaxy
  • New and improved salvage scenarios added to support search and rescue gameplay
  • Added more mysterious locations they’re not going to tell us about…

And of particular interest to Mac users, the update brings:

  • Fixed a macOS specific issue with asteroid decals having bright textures when mining
  • Fixed a macOS specific issue that saw station lights rendering through your ship’s geometry
  • macOS: Fixed an issue with gas giants not rendering correctly


A great game for those who have the right hardware

As said before, Elite: Dangerous’ Mac system requirements are still very demanding. Only get it if you have one of the latest Macs with a dedicated graphics card:

  • 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5
  • 4 GB RAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB video memory
  • 8 GB of hard drive space
  • Mac OS 10.10.x

Are you eager to give it a try? You can get the game on Steam.

  • ikir


  • Ian

    Cannot wait for this game, space is my ultimate dream, can’t wait to have my own ship and just fly around in it.

    • Let me know if you actually go for the Beta, I would be interested to know how well it runs!

  • Rasmus E

    I too cannot wait for this to be released!
    But I got a question:
    Is there a separate version for the mac beta to buy & download?
    Or do you just buy the standard version and kind of select mac client from there?

    • I haven’t tried myself but from what I found: In order to use the beta, you need to have an active Elite: Dangerous beta account.

  • Afana

    Great news !

    By the way, does anyone know if E: D will run on MacOS 10.7.5 (Lion), as I don’t want to upgrade to Yosemite just yet.
    official (Frontier Developments) game requirements for the Mac, mention
    Yosemite as the “minimum” – but that was during the beta. The actual
    requirements should be somewhat lower, so if anyone has tried the final
    release version on an older Mac with Lion installed, please do let me
    know if it runs without problems.

    • Can’t say for sure as I haven’t played this one myself. But you could always risk it and try to get a refund on Steam if it doesn’t? ( but it is a RISK…).

    • Andrew Johnson

      The game will not work or more precisely, the install program for Elite Dangerous will not allow the game to be downloaded where the MAC OS X is less 10.9 … but I guess you know that already!

      • I don’t play this one, so I wasn’t aware of this! Thanks for heads up!

        • Andrew Johnson

          I’ve gotten the game to work on OS X 10.11 “El Capitan” though I had to do some tweaking to circumvent known issues. Looks good!

  • mikelyons

    Watched the trailer just now. Wow. It got me excited for good old fashioned space combat goodness not to mention trading, etc. This looks a game that could really offer a lot of quality time out in space. Other than having a 3.4 Core i5 vs a 3.4 Core i7, I meet the recommended requirements with my 27″ iMac. Sweet!

    I forgot to ask about something. Does it require Steam? I noticed on their store you could buy it and I think that included downloading what you bought there. I wonder if the multiplayer aspect is via Steamworks or something they independently provide for.

    • mikelyons

      Found the answer to my question which is apparently there is no need for Steam and they do host the multiplayer. It can be purchased direct from the developer on their site.

      • Thanks for the info, think that was a pretty good question, I do wonder if their MP servers are separate between the Steam version and their own….

  • mikelyons

    Oh, and I couldn’t resist the classic 1984 game for free, needed emulator and all. Thanks for pointing out the link to that. No idea when I’ll get around to it but I’m stashing it away for a rainy day sometime.

  • mikelyons

    I’ve just read the Mac port is really good with excellent performance that until certain optimizations are back ported to the Windows version has the Mac version ahead in some areas of the game. 😀

    • That’s good to know! Would like to read more about that, where did you find that info?

      • mikelyons

        Well, I posted that two months ago so I recall now but I think that info was shared by the developer on the Steam forum for the game. Otherwise, it might have been on the game’s own forum if it has one. I do recall it was one of the game’s developers who was saying that though.

        • By the way, I’m looking for people who actually got the Mac version.. Did you get it? Wondering how demanding it truly is…

          • mikelyons

            Sorry, no. I’d like to try it sometime but as I mentioned elsewhere I have a lot going on as it is for the time being.

  • Jeff

    These requirements are the optimized and reduced requirements?!?! Dang, what were the requirements during the beta?lol I can’t even run this on my computer, I got everything except for 1GB of video ram in my late 2011 MBP. At least there’s a console version (X1) in the works right?

    • LOL, I can confirm the beta requirements were CRAZY. Sorry to hear you don’t meet the new requirements, sometimes you can still play the game (I know I do with Tomb Raider on my Macbook Air) but you gotta risk it….
      Worst case, get it on Steam and ask for a refund if you can’t play it?

  • Ruprecht

    The never got Horizons to Mac. Mac will forever be second class.