Before you begin

Any computer running Docker can be used for this section.

Before you begin, confirm Docker buildx is installed by running the docker buildx command.


            docker buildx help

The result should be the usage message from buildx. It starts with the the text below:


        Usage:  docker buildx [OPTIONS] COMMAND


If any other output is shown return to Installing Docker and install the most recent version.

Note for Docker Engine

Docker Desktop provides the ability to build and run multi-architecture images using instruction emulation. If you are running Docker Engine on Linux, there is an extra step to enable emulation for multi-architecture images.

For Ubuntu, install emulation support using the command below.


            sudo apt-get install qemu-user-static -y

If emulation support is not installed on a Linux machine running Docker Engine, an error message similar to this one will occur:


        standard_init_linux.go:228: exec user process caused: exec format error


The next section explains how to use docker buildx to create multi-architecture images. Multi-architecture images provide variants for different instruction set architectures so users can run the image on any of the supported architectures.

Build a multi-architecture Docker image from a Dockerfile

Create a new directory and use a text editor to copy the two lines below into a file named Dockerfile, or reuse the same file from the previous section.


            FROM ubuntu:latest
CMD echo -n "Architecture is " && uname -m

Build the docker image using docker buildx. Replace username with your Docker Hub username.


            docker buildx create --use --name mybuilder
docker buildx build --platform linux/amd64,linux/arm64,linux/arm/v7 -t username/uname-x --push .

Docker buildx must push the multi-architecture image to a registry. The docker daemon cannot save the image locally. This will change with the future transition from dockerd to containerd, so stay tuned.

After the build, the docker images command does not show a local image, but the multi-architecture image is present in Docker Hub. The missing local image is a common misunderstanding for developers.

Run the Docker image

From any computer pull and run the multi-architecture image. Because support for three architectures is included, Docker will automatically get the correct image and run it.

A pull is required because the image is not present on the local machine.


            docker run --rm username/uname-x

It’s also possible to run the image for a different architecture than the current machine by adding --platform.

Depending on the architecture of the machine, pick a different platform and run the image using one of the commands.


            docker run --rm  --platform linux/arm64 username/uname-x
docker run --rm  --platform linux/arm/v7 username/uname-x
docker run --rm  --platform linux/amd64 username/uname-x

For example, on a machine with a uname of aarch64, run the amd64 image.


            docker run --rm  --platform linux/amd64 username/uname-x

The output will be:


        Architecture is x86_64



It is possible to run docker buildx build again with a change to the Dockerfile, push to Docker Hub, and re-run expecting to run the new image.

The docker run command will use the local image. It will NOT pull the new version which went directly to Docker Hub.

To remove the local copy use the docker rmi command.


            docker rmi username/uname-x

Now the new image will be downloaded from Docker Hub.

Other useful commands

To list the builders use the ls command.


            docker buildx ls

To change to a different builder, such as default, run the use command.


            docker buildx use default

To remove a builder use the rm command.


            docker buildx rm mybuilder