Arma 3: Play on Mac
This article covers the basic setup and troubleshooting of Arma 3 on Mac.
- Download and install the Steam client, create an account and purchase the retail version of Arma 3.
- Install the game (it will automatically download the data for Mac, depending on the platform you are installing from).
- The launch options will offer a choice of the default non-native version, and the more experimental native version.
- Select Play Arma 3 for the default non-native version.
- Select Launch experimental Apple silicon native version for the experimental native version.
- Click Play!
Note: in some cases Steam client has difficulties downloading the game or an update on Mac. A solution may be to go into Settings > Privacy & Security > App Management, and to allow Steam client permission to modify executables.
Only the non-native version supports BattlEye anti-cheat.
In order to launch Arma 3 with mods, they must be downloaded from the Steam Workshop or another source. The mod directory should be moved into the game directory, then loaded using the game's Steam launch options. There also exists a way to launch the game with mods via Terminal, or by making an Alias with the help of the Apple Script Editor.
Most mods will work out of the box for Arma 3 on Mac (this may change in case the Windows version of the game gets updated, but the Mac port does not yet, since mods may rely on new platform features).
- Subscribe to and download the mod from the Steam Workshop.
- Locate the folder with mods. Default path: /Users/macuser/Library/Application Support/Steam/steamapps/workshop/content
- Look for folders with number IDs. Those should be the mods.
- Open the game folder. Default path: /Users/macuser/Library/Application Support/Steam/steamapps/common/Arma 3
You can locate the game folder quickly by using Steam. Press on Arma 3 → Properties → Local files → Browse
- Copy the mod folder inside the game folder (in our example: 450814997)
It is recommended to rename the copied folder to a simpler name (example: mod1)
- Open Steam and go to its properties once again.
- Find Launch Options in the General tab and enter: -mod=<directoryName or directoryFullPath> (separate multiple mods by a semi-colon ;)
- Example 1: -mod=mod1
- Example2: -mod=C:/Users/macuser/Desktop/mod1
- Close the properties and launch the game; the game should launch with the mod(s) loaded.
- Open the Terminal.
- Write the following command: open -a Arma3 --args -mod=<directoryName or directoryFullPath> -p default -no-remote
- Example 1: open -a Arma3 --args -mod=rhs -p default -no-remote
- Example 2: open -a Arma3 --args -mod=C:/Users/macuser/Desktop/rhs -p default -no-remote
- Press Enter to confirm the command.
- Press OK on the dialog that appeared; the game should launch with the selected mod(s) loaded.
Apple Script Editor
- Open Script Editor.
- Write command: do shell script "open -a Arma3 --args -mod=<directoryName or directoryFullPath> -p default -no-remote"
- Example 1: do shell script "open -a Arma3 --args -mod=rhs -p default -no-remote"
- Example 2: do shell script "open -a Arma3 --args -mod=C:/Users/macuser/Desktop/rhs -p default -no-remote"
- Go to File → Export.
- Name the file and choose where it will be created (e.g the desktop) - change the File Format to Application and click Save.
- The new custom-made Application should have now been created - close the Script Editor and open the created Application.
- Hit OK on the dialog that appeared; the game should launch with the mod(s) loaded.
DLCs & CDLCs
Here is a useful list of startup parameters to quickly access (C)DLCs:
|Arma 3 Contact||-mod=contact|
|S.O.G. Prairie Fire||-mod=vn|
|CSLA Iron Curtain||-mod=csla|
- Run the Steam client (if you do not start the normal game first, it will not let you launch after the Dedicated Server is on).
- Run Arma 3 and wait for the game to get to the main menu.
- Run Terminal.
- Change the current directory to the path where the Arma3.app is - e.g. cd ~/Library/Application\ Support/Steam/SteamApps/common/Arma\ 3/.
- Run the Dedicated Server by command: ./Arma3.app/Contents/MacOS/Arma3 --args -server -config=Server.cfg.
Cross-Platform Windows Compatibility
For now, the version of the Mac ports and primary Windows version should be compatible, at least until further Windows version updates. When that happens, players on the Windows platform wishing to keep playing with players on the ports version must use the legacyports beta branch, as described below.
How to revert back to the compatible branch on Windows (not currently necessary):
- Open the Properties... of Arma 3 in the Steam library
- Open the Betas tab
- Enter access code: Arma3LegacyPorts. This should unlock legacyports - Legacy Build (2.14 - ports)
- Download and play together.