How To Install UniFi Network Application on macOS

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Recently I’ve started adopting Ubiquiti’s UniFi networking equipment in my home in a journey to building home lab infrastructure. I appreciate how Ubiquiti has positioned UniFi as technology for businesses of various sizes – home lab builders, SMEs, to large organizations. UniFi’s set of products have become incredibly popular among the “prosumer” community.

Having not worked with UniFi devices before, and most commercial networking equipment for over 2 years. In retrospect, I can confirm the setup process was smoother than anticipated, once you’re able to connect to the devices. My goal with this article is guide you through the process of installing and using Network Application/Controller on macOS.

For installation of UniFi Network Application on Ubuntu / Debian, checkout link below:

For running in Docker Containers check out the guide below:

My current UniFi equipment (provided by Ubiquiti are:

  • 1x UniFi 16-Port PoE Switch (US-16-150W)
In future I’ll consider adding:
  • 1x UniFi Dream Machine Pro (UDM PRO)
  • 1x UniFi Security Gateway (USG)
  • 1x UniFi Cloud Key (UCK)
  • Extra AP – Ubiquiti Networks UniFi UAP-AC-PRO
If you have UniFi Cloud Key – A small device with UniFi controller software pre-installed, then you can skip this guide, as it connects directly to your UniFi devices via Ethernet networking.

What is UniFi Network Application/Controller?

The UniFi® Controller, now called Network Application, is a wireless network management software solution from Ubiquiti Networks™. It enables you to manage multiple UniFI networks devices using a web browser.

For you to install and run it you should meet the following system Requirements:

  • A DHCP-enabled network
  • Linux, Mac OS X, or Microsoft Windows 7/8 – Running controller software
  • Java Runtime Environment 8
  • Web Browser: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 (or above)

Install UniFi Network Application/Controller on macOS

Refer to steps covered in this section to successfully install UniFi Network Application/Controller on macOS. Ensure your system has internet access and you have sudo privileges.

Step 1 – Install Java Runtime (Java 8)

Java 8 is required to run UniFi Network Application on macOS. I struggled for a while with Java 17 before I could figure out required version. Before you can continue check your current version of Java:

$ java -version
openjdk version "16.0.2" 2021-07-20
OpenJDK Runtime Environment Homebrew (build 16.0.2+0)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM Homebrew (build 16.0.2+0, mixed mode, sharing)

I had to remove this version before installing Java 8.

cd /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines
sudo unlink openjdk.jdk

Then head over to Java Downloads Archive page and select Java 8 for macOS to download.

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Login with your Oracle account details or create a new account to begin download.

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Double click on the package to begin installation on your macOS.

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Check Java version after installation:

$ java -version
java version "1.8.0_331"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_331-b09)
Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.331-b09, mixed mode)

Step 2 – Create account on UniFi cloud

In case you don’t have UniFi cloud account create one at unifi.ui.com.

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If you don’t have an account hit “Create one” and input required user information.

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Click on the email you received to verify your email address.

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Step 3 – Install UniFi Network Application/Controller

Next we download the UniFi Controller software from the Ubiquiti Networks website.

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Select latest release of UniFI Network Application for macOS to download it.

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Step 4 – Install UniFi Network Application/Controller

Click on the software application downloaded to install it.

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Go through screens to set destination, installation type.

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Finally launch the application once it has been installed.

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Step 5 – Using UniFi Network Application/Controller

The UniFi Network Application software startup will begin. Click Launch a Browser to Manage Wireless Network.

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Ignore SSL security warning and proceed to UniFi Network application web interface.

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Step 5 – Configure UniFi Network Application

Give a name to your network application.

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Sign in with your Ubiquiti account – the once we created in step 2

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Enable automatic backup of network configurations.

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If your UniFi devices are plugged into the same network as your macOS workstation, they will be discovered automatically. Select the once you’ll like to configure.

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Create your first WiFi network if this is a new configuration of UniFi network.

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Finally review the configurations to complete the installation of UniFi Network Application on macOS system.

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Configurations are applied in few seconds.

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With all settings applied you’re presented with an intuitive browser-based interface of UniFi Network Application software for easy configuration and management of your Network devices.

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In the articles to follow we’ll dig deeper into different management functions available on uniFi Network Application software. Keep visiting our website for newer updates. Enjoy your day!

coffee

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A systems engineer with excellent skills in systems administration, cloud computing, systems deployment, virtualization, containers, and a certified ethical hacker.