Homebrew: A Beginner’s Guide to macOS Package Management
If you’re new to the command line interface on macOS, you may be wondering how to manage software packages on your system. Luckily, there’s an easy-to-use package manager called Homebrew that can help you install and manage a wide range of software packages on your Mac.
To install Homebrew on your Mac, open up Terminal (you can find it in the Applications/Utilities folder or search for Terminal with Spotlight) and paste in the following command:
/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/HEAD/install.sh)"
Don’t worry, this command will simply download and run a script that will install Homebrew on your system. You may be prompted to enter your password during the installation process.
Once Homebrew is installed, you can use it to search for, install, and manage software packages on your Mac. Homebrew provides two types of packages: formulae and casks.
Formulae are software packages that are installed via the command line interface, and typically include command-line utilities and libraries. Casks are software packages that are installed via a graphical user interface (GUI), and typically include desktop applications.
To search for a package, use the brew search command:
brew search <package-name>
To install a package, use the brew install command:
brew install <package-name>
Get list of installed software
To see a list of all installed packages, use the brew list command:
To uninstall a package, use the brew uninstall command:
brew uninstall <package-name>
Get info on a specific package
To get more information about a certain formula or cask (version, installation path etc.):
brew info <package-name>
To update Homebrew to the latest version and fetch the newest versions of all available formulae and casks from the source repository:
Get a list of outdated packages
To list all outdated formulae and casks that have an updated version available:
To upgrade an installed formula or cask (if no name is provided, everything is updated!):
brew upgrade <package-name>
Clean up Homebrew
To clean up any unused files and dependencies, use the brew cleanup command:
Check for Homebrew issues
To check for any potential issues with your Homebrew installation, use the brew doctor command:
Finding Installed Applications
After you purchase and install your first application on your Mac, you may be wondering where it was installed. By default, applications are installed in the
/Applications directory. However, if you’ve installed applications using Homebrew’s cask feature, they may be installed in the
Benefits of Using Homebrew
Using Homebrew to manage software packages on your Mac has several benefits:
- Homebrew makes it easy to install and manage a wide range of software packages, including command-line utilities, libraries, and desktop applications.
- Homebrew handles software dependencies for you, automatically installing any required libraries or packages when you install a new package.
- Homebrew keeps your packages up-to-date, making it easy to upgrade to the latest versions of your software packages.
- Homebrew provides a consistent and reliable package management experience, ensuring that your software packages are installed and configured correctly on your system.
Restoring a Mac with Brew
If you ever need to restore a brand-new Mac to the same software setup that you had on your previous Mac, you can use the
brew bundle command to create a Brewfile that lists all of the packages installed on your system. You can then use this Brewfile to restore your software setup on the new Mac. A Brewfile is a simple text file containing all the installed software via the package manager, Homebrew in this case.
To create a Brewfile, use the
brew bundle dump command:
brew bundle dump
This command will create a Brewfile in your current directory that lists all of the packages installed on your system.
To restore your software setup on a new Mac, copy the Brewfile to the new system and run the following command (you must be inside the correct folder):
brew bundle install
This command will install all of the packages listed in the Brewfile on the new system.
Homebrew is a powerful and easy-to-use package manager that can help you manage software packages on your Mac. With Homebrew, you can easily search for, install, and manage a wide range of software packages, including command-line utilities, libraries, and desktop applications. Homebrew also provides a consistent and reliable package management experience, ensuring that your software packages are installed and configured correctly on your system.
So if you’re new to the command line interface on macOS, be sure to check out Homebrew and see how it can help you manage your software packages more easily and efficiently!