Maria D. Campbell

Installing pgAdmin Only after installing PostgreSQL with Homebrew Part 2

This post assumes that you have already backed up your existing databases somewhere (if you cared about them!). I will not be going over those steps.

Getting to know the tools you use as a developer is just as important as learning to program. If you don’t know how to use them properly, your programming will suffer!

Which takes me back to my battle with PostgreSQL on my machine in a way that suited my needs.

As I had mentioned in my previous post, I wanted the ability to play around with PostgreSQL and view it in a Graphical User Interface (GUI), but also have all the features of a Homebrew install. Unfortunately, I had initially stumbled clumsily and imperfectly through the process, making a few errors along the way. Part of it actually had to do with the (relatively new) Migration Assistant on Mac OSX. It had screwed up my PostgreSQL install when it was migrated to my current machine, and getting rid of all traces of my download(s) from was a bit of a challenge. It involved getting rid of the standard account which had been created by the Migration Assistant during the restoration of my data and subsequent migration to my new computer, getting rid of the install I had made yesterday, re-installing PostgreSQL with Homebrew, and making sure that I added a postgres user afterwards that contained a password (it does not by default).

Uninstalling the install

To uninstall the install, click on your Macintosh HD icon on your desktop, go into Library folder, and then into your PostgreSQL folder which resides inside the Library folder. Inside, you will see something called the PostgreSQL uninstaller. Click on that to uninstall PostgreSQL from your machine. At the end, it will tell you that the uninstall is complete, but that your data was not removed. You have to move the PostgreSQL folder and the remaining contents into the trash. When doing so, you will be prompted to input your administrator password. When you do that, the folder will be moved to the trash.

Installing PostgreSQL with Homebrew

Installing PostgreSQL with Homebrew is very easy. First make sure, of course, that you do have Homebrew installed! To check whether you indeed have Homebrew installed, type the following command in Terminal:

brew update

If this command returns results, that means Homebrew has been installed on your machine. If no results are returned, you do not. To install Homebrew, please visit the Homebrew site:

Homebrew Site

Once you have Homebrew installed, do the following:

brew update

This just makes sure that Homebrew is up to date. it is just best practice to run this command before installing a program with Homebrew. Next, run the following command to install PostgreSQL:

brew install postgresql

After the install has been completed, run the following command to get PostgreSQL up and running:

brew services start postgresql

This command will start your postgres server. No fuss no muss! To stop the postgres server, run the following command:

brew services stop postgresql

But don’t do that just yet!

Run the following command:

createdb `whoami`

This will create your default user database with your computer shortname. whoami refers to your computer shortname.

Then run the command


to log into PostgreSQL. The beautiful thing about a Homebrew install is that you can simply use your native Terminal window you use for controlling your machine instead of the Sql shell that comes with the install. That is just an extra painful step that takes up more time to execute.

I love using my shortname for local development. But I can’t use it to log into pgAdmin! By default, Homebrew only sets up the account you create with the

createdb `whoami`


Creating the default postgres user needed for pgAdmin

You have to create a second user called postgres in order to be able to connect with and log in to pgAdmin. To create the postgres user, type the following command in Terminal while still logged in to postgres:

createuser -s postgres

This will create a postgres superuser. Then type the following command to make sure that this user has indeed been created:


This command returns the list of users you have available to you in your PostgreSQL install.

There is still one last step to the process in order to make connection with pgAdmin possible. You have to create a password for the postgres user you just created. By default, the user is created without a password with the command I provided here. To create a password for the postgres user, run the following command while still logged in to PostgreSQL:

ALTER USER  postgres  WITH PASSWORD ‘password’;

Just replace password with whatever password you want to assign.

THEN, you will want to install pgAdmin on your machine. Go to the pgAdmin website to download the GUI:

After the download has been completed, click on the dmg (disk image file) in your downloads folder to open up the application and install it. A window will pop up with the PostgreSQL icon. Drag the icon into your applications folder. This will install it in your applications folder.

Next, you want to make sure that you are logged in to postgres with your postgres user in order to be able to log in and connect with pgAdmin. You are not logged in by default into user postgres when you install postgres with Homebrew. This is what confused me at first. It made me think that I couldn’t connect with pgAdmin with a Homebrew install. All you have to do is use a different command to log in to another user:

psql -U postgres

psql defaults to your user account name. In this case, it is the user account shortname on your machine. The command here says to log in with the -U (user) postgres.

Logging into pgAdmin

Once you are logged in to postgres with user postgres, go into your Applications folder and click on the pgAdmin icon. It will open up in a new tab in your favorite browser.

When it has completed loading, click on the Servers tab to the left in the browser window under Browser. A new tab called PostgreSQL 10 (or whatever version you have on your machine) will appear. Click on that.

Now a connect to server modal will appear, in which you are prompted to enter your password for your user postgres so as to connect to the server:

Please enter the password for the user 'postgres' to connect the server - "PostgreSQL 10"

Now you understand the importance of having a user called postgres with a dedicated password!

Once you provide your postgres password and click on the OK button, you will be logged in to pgAdmin, and are good to go! You will even see all your user databases and any others you might have created along the way!

Happy databasing with PostgreSQL!

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