Advanced setup and troubleshooting

Using the development version of MNE (latest master)

It is possible to update your version of MNE between releases for bugfixes or new features.


In between releases, function and class APIs can change without warning.

You can use pip for a one-time update:

$ pip install --upgrade --no-deps git+

Or, if you prefer to be set up for frequent updates, you can use git directly:

$ git clone git://
$ cd mne-python
$ python develop

A feature of python develop is that any changes made to the files (e.g., by updating to latest master) will be reflected in mne as soon as you restart your Python interpreter. So to update to the latest version of the master development branch, you can do:

$ git pull origin master

and MNE will be updated to have the latest changes.

If you plan to contribute to MNE, please continue reading how to How to contribute to MNE.

CUDA (NVIDIA GPU acceleration)

Some routines can utilize NVIDIA CUDA GPU processing to speed up some operations (e.g. FIR filtering) by roughly an order of magnitude. To use CUDA, first ensure that you are running the NVIDIA proprietary drivers on your operating system, and then do:

$ conda install cupy
$ MNE_USE_CUDA=true python -c "import mne; mne.cuda.init_cuda(verbose=True)"
Enabling CUDA with 1.55 GB available memory

If you receive a message reporting the GPU’s available memory, CuPy is woriking properly. To permanently enable CUDA in MNE, you can do:

>>> mne.utils.set_config('MNE_USE_CUDA', 'true') 

You can then test MNE CUDA support by running the associated test:

$ pytest mne/tests/ -k cuda

If the tests pass, then CUDA should work in MNE. You can use CUDA in methods that state that they allow passing n_jobs='cuda', such as and, and they should run faster than the CPU-based multithreading such as n_jobs=8.

IPython / Jupyter notebooks

In Jupyter, we strongly recommend using the Qt matplotlib backend for fast and correct rendering:

$ ipython --matplotlib=qt

On Linux, for example, QT is the only matplotlib backend for which 3D rendering will work correctly. On Mac OS X for other backends certain matplotlib functions might not work as expected.

To take full advantage of MNE-Python’s visualization capacities in combination with IPython notebooks and inline displaying, please explicitly add the following magic method invocation to your notebook or configure your notebook runtime accordingly:

In [1]: %matplotlib inline

If you use another Python setup and you encounter some difficulties please report them on the MNE mailing list or on github to get assistance.


If you run into trouble when visualizing source estimates (or anything else using mayavi), you can try setting the ETS_TOOLKIT environment variable:

>>> import os
>>> os.environ['ETS_TOOLKIT'] = 'qt4'
>>> os.environ['QT_API'] = 'pyqt5'

This will tell Traits that we will use Qt with PyQt bindings.

For more information, see

Off-screen rendering on Linux with MESA

On remote systems, it might be possible to use MESA software rendering (such as llvmpipe or swr) for 3D visualization with some tweaks. For example, on CentOS 7.5 you might be able to use the environment variable to force MESA to use modern OpenGL by using this before executing spyder or python:


Also, it’s possible that different software rending backends might perform better than others, such as using the llvmpipe backend rather than swr.