Upload programs to an Arduino with your Mac in 4 steps

This tutorial is a starting point for programming Arduino boards on your Mac. It shows how to install the software and to upload your first program to an Arduino board.

Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for anyone making interactive projects. The Arduino hardare is based on the AVR microcontroller family of Atmel and programming these microcontroller uses the STK-500 protocol of Atmel. The STK-500 protocol was originally designed for a serial rs-232 connection, nowadays, a USB to serial converter is used to provide a direct connection with your PC. In case of Arduino clones, most times an alternative chip as CH340 is used instead of the FTDI device.


Before you can use your Arduino board with your Mac, you need to install the following packages:

Step 1 - Open Serial Example Project

Start the Arduino suite, when it is finished open a serial example project via the File menu. This tutorial uses SerialCallResponseASCII.

Select Serial Example Project

The Arduino suite opens a window containing the example code.
Serial Test Program

Step 2 - Connect the Arduino Board

Before you can upload a program to your Arduino Board you need to configure the suite for the board. First select the correct board:

Select Arduino Type
Next, select the serial handle to which your Arduino board is connected. It is imported to use the .cu handle, otherwise a connection cannot be established. It is possible to connect multiple Arduino boards to your Mac, as the CH34* and PL2303 drivers generate a handle name based on the physical USB location.

Select Arduino's Serial Port

Step 3 - Program the Arduino Board

You are now ready to upload the program to your Arduino. Press the upload button in the editor, you can recognize it by the arrow pointing to right. After pressing this button, the console window shows the compilation process and finally the upload process.

Press Upload Button

Step 4 - Ready

Your are finished, and the Arduino has been programmed. The program you uploaded continuously transmit data from its serial port. If you open the serial monitor, you see it transmits every couple of seconds 0,0,0, when you send a character to the device, it answers with three values.

Open Serial Monitor Receive Data