I’ve got some problems with the package manager, Homebrew. I can’t find how to remove it!

Is it safe to remove whole /usr/local? Homebrew was installed somewhere in that directory.


Homebrew once recommended a script, also linked in their FAQ. Instructions have changed since then, and they provide an official uninstall script you can download and run:

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/uninstall)"

Here is a copy of the old script, for historical purposes:

cd `brew --prefix`
git checkout master
git ls-files -z | pbcopy
rm -rf Cellar
bin/brew prune
pbpaste | xargs -0 rm
rm -r Library/Homebrew Library/Aliases Library/Formula Library/Contributions 
test -d Library/LinkedKegs && rm -r Library/LinkedKegs
rmdir -p bin Library share/man/man1 2> /dev/null
rm -rf .git
rm -rf ~/Library/Caches/Homebrew
rm -rf ~/Library/Logs/Homebrew
rm -rf /Library/Caches/Homebrew

This should also revert your /usr/local folder to its pre-Homebrew days. See the Homebrew installation wiki for more information.

Note: You may also need to remove ~/.homebrew as well. If you happen to have ~/.rvm, then you should delete ~/.rvm/bin/brew.

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  • thank you so much! i've googled so hard, but even't bothered to look for uninstallation actions in installation manual! ;D – holms Oct 28 '10 at 15:36
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    Note that the instructions have changed over time, and also been moved to the Homebrew FAQ github.com/mxcl/homebrew/wiki/FAQ/… – Nelson Sep 10 '11 at 23:19
  • Following these commands deleted almost all my files on Desktop, Documents and 'Downloads`. It messed up my git too. Please help! – Ava Aug 16 '13 at 22:53
  • rm -rf Library/Taps – Googol Mar 13 '14 at 13:25
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    If the first line of this script fails it will try to delete whatever is in your pasteboard. That could be a lot of your data. – ade Jan 16 '16 at 23:05

Homebrew now provides an uninstall script located here.

Just run the following in the OSX terminal:

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/uninstall)"
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    good one, just simple solution – AMIC MING Mar 6 '16 at 4:20

Also note that homebrew changes group to 'staff' and gives write access to group for

  • /usr/local
  • /usr/local/bin
  • /usr/local/include
  • /usr/local/lib
  • /usr/local/sbin
  • /usr/local/share

In order to put back these directories in their original states do:

sudo chown root:wheel <directory> ; sudo chmod 755 <directory>

for each one or if you don't have fancy owners / rights:

sudo chown -R root:wheel /usr/local ; sudo chmod -R 755 /usr/local
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    I cannot confirm this. My /usr/local and its Homebrew-created subdirs are owned by my user with the admin group. – slhck Dec 26 '12 at 16:21

Try this gist, it uninstalls homebrew and associated caches, provided you installed brew to the default directory.

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  • how do you use a gist? – ninja08 Feb 13 '15 at 21:36
  • @ninja08 Click on the link. Open a terminal window. Copy all of the gist's text into the terminal. – Spotlight Aug 10 '15 at 21:13

I recently made a script to handle this case. It completely removes Homebrew, and has CLI options like silent/verbose and force modes, as well as mode that returns the location of your Homebrew installation.

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There might be other files in /usr/local you might need you might be able to user a different PM (Package Manager) to remove the current PM.

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  • I'm unclear as to what this answer means. What's a PM? – echristopherson May 16 '13 at 4:00
  • PM = Package Manager – Stephen Sep 16 '14 at 17:51

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