Upgrading Postgres.app from 9.2 to 9.3

2 minute read

I love Postgres.app it really is the quickest and easiest way to get a postgres database running on your mac.
But I just had some bad time upgrading from Postgres.app 9.2 to 9.3.
So I wrote this short step by step guide to help you upgrade your database without losing all the data you already have there.

  • Step 1 - Make sure your PG binaries are linked correctly into your PATH and that you’ll be using the correct psql and pg_upgrade commands by checking that the following line appears in your .profile, .bashrc, .zshrc (which ever you use) PATH="/Applications/Postgres.app/Contents/MacOS/bin:$PATH"
  • Step 2 - Open a new terminal window and run which psql it should point to /Applications/Postgres.app/Contents/MacOS/bin/psql - If it doesn’t check Step 0 again.
  • Step 3 - Download the new Postgres.app.
  • Step 4 - Close the Postgres.app if it’s currently running.
  • Step 5 - Copy your old 9.2 Postgres.app from /Applications to your desktop.
  • Step 6 - Move the newly downloaded Postgres.app to /Applications and launch it.
  • Step 7 - Run psql and connect to the DB.
  • Step 8 - In the psql run \l to get a list of databases. You should have 4 databases: postgres, 2 templates and one database for your username.
  • Step 9 - Run \c postgres to move to the postgres database from your user’s database. This is necessarily since you can’t drop the database you are currently in (see next step).
  • Step 10 - Run DROP DATABASE username; (replace username with your username) to remove your user’s database.
  • Step 11 - Run \q to close psql.
  • Step 12 - Close Postgres.app
  • Step 13 - In the terminal run the following command making sure that all the locations are correct.
pg_upgrade --old-datadir ~/Library/Application\ Support/Postgres/var \
--new-datadir ~/Library/Containers/com.heroku.postgres/Data/Library/Application\ Support/Postgres/var  \
--old-bindir ~/Desktop/Postgres.app/Contents/MacOS/bin \
--new-bindir /Applications/Postgres.app/Contents/MacOS/bin
  • Step 14 - Let the upgrade command run, once it’s finished successfully it will print out Upgrade Complete
  • Step 15 - Start Up Postgres.app again
  • Step 16 - Run ./analyze_new_cluster.sh to get your DB ready for business

(Optional Last Step) - Run ./delete_old_cluster.sh to remove the old 9.2 data and delete the old Postgres.app from your desktop.

I’m still having problems - what to do?

This is what I did whenever I had issues during the upgrade process and needed a hard-reset.

  • Step -1 - Close the Postgres.app
  • Step -2 - Delete the ~/Library/Containers/com.heroku.postgres/Data/Library/Application\ Support/Postgres/var directory
  • Step -3 - Reopen the Postgres.app let it rebuild the directory and start again from Step 7 in the guide.

Pro Tip #3 - Postgres Client for Mac

I’ve been looking a long time for a Postgres client for Mac that will be even a fraction of what Sequel Pro is for MySQL.

Well, I just found out about a pretty new client that shows a lot of potential and is really good (at least for my uses)
PG Commander you should definitely check it out.


Hope this helps a few people.
You can always find me on twitter @yonbergman.