GIMP for Mac - Download, Instructions, and Manual

GIMP is image editing software for Apple Mac, Windows PC and Linux computers that is free to download. For hobby and low-budget users, this free app has been a good alternative to Photoshop and similar professional tools for image and photo editing for years - or better: decades. In this post I have put together a safe source for the GIMP download as well as sources of supply for instructions and GIMP books in German. Because a good manual is the best way to learn how to get started with new software! The following information about GIMP for Mac can be used almost 1: 1 for the Windows PC;)

The free GIMP download for Mac, Windows and Linux as well as GIMP tutorials in German and the correct manual for version 2.10 can be found here!
The free GIMP download for Mac, Windows and Linux as well as GIMP tutorials in German and the correct manual for version 2.10 can be found here!

GIMP download for Mac, Windows and Linux

As with so many other apps that are not available in the Mac App Store, I never tire of repeating one thing with GIMP: Only download the app directly from the developer and not from software portals such as Chip, heise, ComputerBild, Softonic and like that down. Why not, I have summarized that for you here: Why you shouldn't download software from download portals. You can find the secure GIMP download for Mac and PC on the official website of the development team - at You can go straight to the download page with this link. There you get the program without unnecessary installers and intrusive additional software.

GIMP instructions for beginners and advanced users

There are numerous instructions, tutorials and help articles on the Internet for the current versions GIMP 2.8 and GIMP 2.10. Whether it's own website for ambitious users of the software, forum for several users, GIMP wiki or YouTube instructions in picture and sound - there is something for everyone; and even in German. The site is very extensive and professional in my research gimp- noticed. Various tutorials for GIMP tools in version 2.10.x are shown directly on the start page, super sorted and clearly explained in the respective posts. Check it out. If you are in the mood for other GIMP guides and tutorial material of various kinds, here is a selection:

  • GIMP Wikibooks that cover entry and use well: Call here
  • Image processing as a topic at View here
  • The quick introduction to Gimp! (YouTube video): Have a look here
  • MyGimpTutorialChannel (YouTube channel): Browse here
  • GIMP manuals on Amazon (list of results): Discover here

GIMP manual in printed form

As I did with you Affinity Photo Workbook by Serif have shown, it can be immersed in a program with a printed manual. If the author or authors also describe projects that can be recreated thanks to downloadable material, so much the better! Such instructions are also available in book form for the GIMP on the Mac and for the GIMP on the PC. One of them is so current that it won't be officially out for a week;)

GIMP 2.10: The practical introduction by Robert Klaßen, 2018

This manual is simply called “GIMP 2.10: The practical introduction” and has been published by Rheinwerk Verlag. On 381 pages, the author uses 14 chapters to explain the basics, the work surface and the simple use of the tools, as well as the clipping of image content, the correction of tonal values, retouching and montage and many other application examples. According to the cover, these printed GIMP instructions are suitable for both the macOS and Windows versions of the program. On the Amazon page for the book you can take a look at the factory and read the customer reviews.

The practical introduction
103 reviews
The practical introduction
This book provides a practical introduction as well as a lot of other information and instructions for the free photo and image processing software. Completely in German and with pictures you will find information here on how to edit and create pictures.

GIMP 2.10 - Introduction and Practice by Michael Gradias, 2018

The comprehensive GIMP manual with the full title "GIMP 2.10 - Introduction and Practice: For Beginners and Advanced Users - Easy, Clear, Visual" has been published by Markt + Technik Verlag and has 352 pages. A total of 12 chapters introduce you to the free open source software for image processing and design, show you how to work with graphic files, go into presettings for a better workflow and deal not only with fast, but also complex procedures in the program. The only disadvantage: this is mainly about using it under Windows. You can take a look at the book and the customer reviews on the Amazon product page toss.

Entry and practice
This manual for the free GIMP software shows the introduction and practice for beginners and advanced users. Editing images and photos, creating montages, retouching image sections and many more topics are clearly dealt with here.

GIMP 2.10: The Comprehensive Handbook by Jürgen Wolf, 2019 

The full title of the book, which will be published by Rheinwerk Verlag on February 22, 2019, is “GIMP 2.10: The Comprehensive Manual | GIMP from A to Z on almost 1.000 pages ”. According to the description, the manual for the free open source software for image editing should comprise 923 pages and not only pick up users of macOS and Windows, but also cover the software version for Linux. You can already use the Products page from mail order company view multiple double pages from the book. There is no excerpt that does not contain at least one screenshot with corresponding explanations. With this book, you will be fully informed in order to use the app, its functions and the resulting possibilities comprehensively.

The comprehensive compendium
Since the GIMP download is free, you can treat yourself to a large compendium to familiarize yourself with, learn and master the app. This can also be easily shared with users on Mac, Windows PC and Linux machines. Roughly rounded up 1.000 pages with screenshots and understandable explanations provide more than just tips and tricks, but a comprehensive lesson.

Looking for manuals for GIMP 2.8? - Here you can find the 2013 article on the topic!

GIMP guides, tutorials and projects on YouTube

A GIMP crash course, an extensive GIMP tutorial and instructions for using certain tools in the free graphics program can be found in video form on YouTube. Not only English videos await you there, but also some in German. If you search for "GIMP Tutorial German" you will already find numerous videos - including the current version GIMP 2.10. If you use other search terms to specify your request for individual tools, menus or settings, you will see even more videos that deal with those very topics. Below are three general videos that can help you get started with the GIMP app.

From my own experience, I can tell you that neither manuals nor video tutorials alone make you a professional in an app. It all depends on the right mix. Because if you want to look up something quickly without getting too torn from your work, then manuals with index / glossary are worthwhile. But if you want to understand more complex procedures beyond a few small explanations and screenshots, then video tutorials on GIMP and all other apps are of course worth gold. But you should note that the possibility of distraction from the actual project is always great;)

Conclusion on GIMP for Mac, Windows and Linux

The GIMP app for image and photo editing as well as for some design tasks on Apple Mac, Windows PC and Linux computers is free. When looking for the right downloads, you should therefore be careful and only use the official and secure downloads from the developer site mentioned above. Then nothing stands in the way of starting the open source alternative to Photoshop. Regardless of the system - there are numerous free instructions and tutorials for photo and graphic editing as well as books that cost something, but teach you how to use the program in a comprehensive manner. A compendium like the one above offers basics for beginners, tips and tricks for advanced users, and tools for professionals. 

Open source project “Seashore” as a GIMP alternative

I would like to leave a note on the open source project “Seashore”. The software describes itself as a Mac alternative to Gimp and has been available since early 2019 Download it for free from the Mac App Store.

The free Seashore project is image editing software that is offered under an open source license.
The free Seashore project is image editing software that is offered under an open source license.

Update March 2021: Seashore currently has a 4,7 / 5 star rating in the App Store

The GIMP alternative for macOS "Seashore", briefly noted here, currently has an average rating of 4,7 stars in the Mac App Store. Most of the reviews give you 5 stars. Among other things, it says in letters of review with a very good number of stars from users:

Class! I was looking for a simple picture editor. After only 5 minutes, I had already implemented my requirement. GIMP is much more complicated than that. I deleted Paintbrush because it was too rudimentary and couldn't handle the simplest functions such as layers.

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6 Responses to “GIMP for Mac – Download, Guides and Manual”

  1. Thanks for this article.
    However, as with the Darktable photo development tool, which was also originally from Linux, I cannot download photos from external or NAS hard drives. The corresponding plates are simply not displayed.
    Am I doing something wrong?
    Or is that basically not possible with these programs, as I read in older forum posts?

    1. Hello Reinhard! It's hard to answer. But I know that it depends on the program what the save or open dialog looks like. If a program uses the standard Finder dialog, the NAS volumes should also be displayed. I tried it out on myself in Photoshop and there comes the normal sidebar, which you also know from the Finder. My Synology DiskStation will also appear there. I assume that it is the respective program if your NAS does not appear.

  2. Thank you for your quick response. But we talk past each other.
    In fact, Gimp and Darktable have their own opening mode that corresponds to Linux.
    I figured out how to open the external hard drives. If you call up the opening dialog of the two programs and select the menu item "Volumes", the external hard drives become visible. You can then select them. The selection comes in the left sidebar and is retained even after a restart.
    The scheme completely follows the Linux guidelines and can therefore not be compared with Photoshop & Co. They are based on the finder.
    I have Linux on an old Sony laptop and can get along with the Linux file system for home use. However, integrating a NAS takes some getting used to, as I found in a YouTube video earlier. However, the integration steps are not comprehensible on a MacOS system. Because the necessary NAS releases in the Linux network have to be defined across programs in a kind of "control panel". (To stick with Apple jargon).
    Synology itself offers a way to configure their NAS storage for Linux:
    But there have to be various releases and changes that I have concerns about bending something for normal Apple operation.
    Therefore, Gimp is not recommended if you have your pictures on a NAS. It's a shame, but I still have Affinity Photo.

    1. Hello Reinhard! Ok, maybe I didn't get it right. :) But what happens if you drag and drop the photos in the Finder onto the GIMP? Are these not then opened?

  3. Sooo ... .. I experimented a little and found a solution with your help.

    “Drag and Drop Photo to GIMP”
    I've been working with Macs since 2011 and I'm still suffering from the aftermath of Windows! Sure, also from the NAS. But only with JPGs. GIMP does not want RAW images. He suggests the RAW developers RawTherapee or Darktable. RawTherapee cannot do anything with the NAS.
    Darktable, on the other hand, (a mixture of raw developer and photo manager) reads entire folders from the NAS and shows their contents. The photos can then be developed individually or in batches. These are then stored in a new subfolder, also on the NAS. Darktable recommends the uncompressed Tiff format for this. JPG and other compressed formats are also possible. From this folder you can easily drag the images back to the GIMP and give them the finishing touches there!
    All in all, a simple and straightforward workflow.
    Thanks for your recommendation!

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