SDK Setup (Mac OS)

This page is all about getting your Mac compiling code for the nRF9160 Feather. Run into trouble during the process? Post your questions on the community forum.

Installing IDE

  1. Install or use the code editor of your choice. I personally use Microsoft Visual Studio Code. The download link is here
  2. If you decide to use Visual Studio Code, make sure you install the C/C++ and Cortex-Debug extentions using the built in extension marketplace.

Installing SDK

Before we start, if you already have NCS installed, you can skip to Step 8. Let's begin!

Installing the latest SDK is a snap and only takes a few steps. Let's walk through them here:

  1. If you haven't already make sure you install Xcode Command Line tools. Without it you may run into issues compiling later on. Run the following in CLI:

    xcode-select --install
  2. Download and install nRF Connect For Desktop

    Download page for nRF Connect For Desktop

  3. Copy the app to your Applications folder


  4. Open up the app and install the Toolchain Manager

    Toolchain Manager install

  5. Then open it up.

    Open Toolchain Manager

  6. Scroll to the bottom and click Install package from other source

    Other source install

  7. Then paste this url into the box and click ok.

    Insert into box

  8. The download and install will take a few minutes. Hang out, take a walk, sing a song and come back later.

  9. Finally, once installed you'll have a dropdown that you can access. Click on it and then the Open Terminal option. Open terminal

  10. To get the nRF9160 Feather examples we'll update /opt/nordic/ncs/v1.5.0/nrf/west.yml. In the projects section add at the bottom:

    - name: nfed
      revision: v1.5.x
      path: nfed

    Here's the diff for the file afterwards:

    diff --git a/west.yml b/west.yml
      index db9211c27..4e8f92282 100644
      --- a/west.yml
      +++ b/west.yml
      @@ -145,6 +145,10 @@ manifest:
             remote: nordicsemi
             revision: 24f1b2b0c64c694b7f9ac1b7eab60b39236ca0bf
             path: modules/lib/cddl-gen
      +    - name: nfed
      +      url:
      +      revision: v1.5.x
      +      path: nfed
         # West-related configuration for the nrf repository.
  11. Then run west update in your freshly created terminal session. This will fetch the nRF9160 Feather examples.

Installing newtmgr (Used to load your application via USB serial bootloader)

  1. If you'r on a newer version of OSX you'll need to install the drivers.

  2. For loading code to your nRF9160 Feather, you'll need to download and copy a custom version of newtmgr. Open a terminal window and run:

    cd ~/Downloads
    wget ""
    mv newtmgr /opt/nordic/ncs/v1.5.0/toolchain/bin
  3. Then you'll need to add your serial profile to make it easier to download/update your device:

    newtmgr conn add serial type=serial connstring='dev=/dev/tty.SLAB_USBtoUART,baud=1000000'

    If you have multiple Silicon Labs CP2102 connected to your machine your serial port may be named differently. I recommend you unplug all devices that could be named tty.SLAB_USBtoUART to ensure you're targeting the correct device during programming.

For more info in using newtmgr checkout the programming section of this documentation.

Migrating from previous instructions

Follow the same steps as above. Except for Step 9. Then copy your nfed directory from your old setup to the new SDK folder. It will be in /opt/nordic/ncs/v1.5.0/. You'll want to checkout the latest using git pull && git checkout v1.5.x.

Testing it

Now you can get to playing around with some of the nRF9160 Feather example code! Remember you'll always have to open a terminal using the Toolchain Manager to build code!

You can quickly test if your SDK is set up correctly by checking out the samples.