Finally solving the Mac M1 odbc issue…

R Database connection

How I was finally able to connect to Snowflake from R using an odbc connection.

Lukas Gröninger

First of all: I haven’t written a blog post in quite some time. This has probably something to do with me having started a new job last July. I’m working now as a Data Analyst at Container xChange and that kept me rather busy. This post is about finally being able to connect to our Snowflake datawarehouse after several hours (and days) of browsing through github issues and stackoverflow threads. I almost gave up thinking “okay, I can use the snowflake python connector and won’t query directly from R”. But let’s start from the beginning…

When I started working at my new job, I received a Macbook. And to be more precise: a Macbook Pro with an M1 processor. Previously I didn’t have any experience working with MacOS operating systems, but I felt that the switch was not too difficult.

The analytical datawarehouse our team used, was AWS Redshift. Naturally I wanted to query tables directly from R and loved how easy that was with the {DBI}, {bigrquery} and {dbplyr} packages at my last job. After some googling I found a way to connect to our datawarehous and select tables from specific schemas:

# Redhshift connection

con <- dbConnect(RPostgres::Redshift(),
                 host = "",
                 dbname = "db_name",
                 user = "admin",
                 password = rstudioapi::askForPassword("Database password"),
                 port = 1234)

table_a <- tbl(con, Id(schema = "xchange_123", table = "t_company"))

I was glad to find the RPostgres::Redshift() function that saved me from downloading Redshift drivers and having to specify an odbc connection. Fast forward to last November when we started to move our datawarehouse to dbt + Snowflake. Unfortunately thinking that it shouldn’t affect my workflows in R just because I was accessing a different datawarehouse:

When first searching for a way to connect to Snowflake from R I found a couple of posts where it looked fairly easy to do exactly that. One was from Martin Stingl on his rstats-tips blog (highly recommended). And I also found a post on titled How To Connect Snowflake with R/RStudio using ODBC driver on Windows/MacOS/Linux. This too easy how to article consisted of 2 steps:

  1. Create the ODBC DSN and test if it is working fine
  2. Use this sample code:
install.packages(c("DBI", "dplyr","dbplyr","odbc"))
myconn <- DBI::dbConnect(odbc::odbc(), "SNOWFLAKE_DSN_NAME", uid="USERNAME", pwd='Snowflak123')
mydata <- DBI::dbGetQuery(myconn,"SELECT * FROM EMP")

I tried to configure an odbc dsn and connect to Snowflake, but sadly I just couldn’t find a way to do it. One of the good things about R is that things most of the time just work out of the box (see RPostgres::Redshift()). But here I faced many problems I couldn’t solve which led me to ask many questions like:

When browsing through the web I felt somewhat reassured that apparently many people with an M1 Macbook have experienced similar problems. I want to show some stops I did when browsing and searching for a solution. Here follows a short list of posts that dealt with what I thought was my issue:


RStudio/Posit Community


Currently there are 4 open issues in the r-dbi/odbc repository dealing with what I assume is the same issue. Just 2 days ago Sharon Wang has created a PR that addresses this as well (thanks a lot 😊).


People have offered solutions that were helpful for some persons. The sad thing however was that none of the posts have helped me with finding a solution. I have already come to terms with it and on the plus side highly improved my SQL skills 😄. But today I sat down at my desk, had a coffee and checked again these open odbc issues and found this new comment from Sharon Wang:


That somehow rang a bell which led me to this stackoverflow post titled How do I install the ODBC driver for Snowflake successfully on an M1 Apple Silicon Mac? The second most upvoted answer from Scott Brenstuhl finally gave me the solution and I was able to connect to Snowflake. This is basically what I had to do:

  1. Uninstall R and Rstudio (brew uninstall packagename)
  2. Install Rosetta (apples software for translating between architectures) and a homebrew version built with it
  3. Use this homebrew version to install odbc, R and Rstudio for x86_64 architecture
  4. Install the snowflake driver (not the aarch one) in the default location (/opt/snowflake/snowflakeodbc/lib/universal/libSnowflake.dylib)
  5. Modify the odbcinst.ini file under /usr/local/etc/odbcinst.ini
  6. Modify the odbc.ini file under /usr/local/etc/odbc.ini
  7. Modify the simba.snowflake.ini file (needs sudo command to change) under /opt/snowflake/snowflakeodbc/lib/universal/simba.snowflake.ini
  8. Finally connect with DBI::dbConnect(odbc::odbc(), "Snowflake Driver")

In the end, I’m glad I found a solution, although it took me far too long. Hopefully this post may help other people to stumble upon the correct github/stackoverflow/positcommunity thread.


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For attribution, please cite this work as

Gröninger (2023, March 5). Lukas R Blog: Finally solving the Mac M1 odbc issue.... Retrieved from

BibTeX citation

  author = {Gröninger, Lukas},
  title = {Lukas R Blog: Finally solving the Mac M1 odbc issue...},
  url = {},
  year = {2023}