Jan 23, 2021 2 mins

Docker: Cannot connect to the Docker daemon at. Is the docker daemon running?

Cannot connect to the Docker daemon Cannot connect to the Docker daemon

I downloaded and installed the Docker desktop(Intel chip) for Mac from the official website. Once run the docker desktop, I tried several docker commands in the terminal and all of them failed with the following error.

docker: Cannot connect to the Docker daemon at unix:///var/run/docker.sock. Is the docker daemon running?

Why is this error?

The error “docker: Cannot connect to the Docker daemon at unix:///var/run/docker.sock. Is the Docker daemon running?” occurs when the Docker command-line interface (CLI) is unable to communicate with the Docker daemon. The Docker daemon is the background process responsible for managing Docker containers on your system.

Here’s a breakdown of the components of the error message

docker: Indicates that the error is related to the Docker CLI.

Cannot connect to the Docker daemon: Specifies that the Docker CLI is unable to establish a connection with the Docker daemon.

unix:///var/run/docker.sock: Represents the default Unix socket used for communication between the Docker CLI and the Docker daemon.

Is the Docker daemon running?: Asks whether the Docker daemon is currently active and operational.

To resolve this issue, consider the following steps

Check Docker Daemon Status: Verify whether the Docker daemon is running on your system. You can do this by running:

sudo systemctl status docker

If it’s not running, start the Docker daemon using:

sudo systemctl start docker

User Permissions: Ensure that the user running the Docker command has the necessary permissions to access the Docker daemon. You may need to add the user to the docker group:

sudo usermod -aG docker $USER

After making this change, you may need to log out and log back in for the group changes to take effect.

Docker Daemon Restart: Restart the Docker daemon to apply any changes:

sudo systemctl restart docker

Socket File Existence: Confirm that the Docker socket file /var/run/docker.sock exists. If it’s missing, it could indicate a problem with the Docker installation.

Reinstall Docker: If the issue persists, consider reinstalling Docker on your system.

After performing these checks and steps, you should be able to resolve the “docker: Cannot connect to the Docker daemon at unix:///var/run/docker.sock. Is the Docker daemon running?” error.


  • Avatar

    Danielle Carline

    Posted on

    Sometimes, this might happen if you skip the license agreement that is displayed when you run the Docker desktop for the first time in MacOS. If the above steps are not helpful, try the following these steps.

    Step 1: Uninstall Docker Desktop

    Uninstall Docker Desktop Uninstall Docker Desktop

    Step 2: Once uninstallation has been completed, cd to where you have Docker.dmg. In my case, it is in Downloads

    cd Downloads

    Step 3: Install Docker desktop running these commands from the official documentation.

    sudo hdiutil attach Docker.dmg
    sudo /Volumes/Docker/
    sudo hdiutil detach /Volumes/Docker

    Step 4: Once installed, run Docker Desktop, Accept the License agreement and Click on finish.

    Docker Desktop Docker Desktop

    Step 5: Then you will be able to run any docker command. For example,


Write a comment

You can use the Markdown syntax to format your comment.

  • Tags:
  • docker daemon
  • docker
  • Share: