How can I remove outdated versions of Homebrew packages that are installed side-by-side with current versions?


3 Answers 3


The cleanup (brew cleanup) command will remove outdated installed package versions. To affect a particular package/formula, you may supply a formula name like so: brew cleanup $FORMULA. To simulate cleanup, i.e. see what would be removed, you may use the -n option: brew cleanup -n.

  • 40
    For the record: brew cleanup only cleans outdated package versions if you have the newest version installed, so first brew upgrade then brew cleanup
    – Jan
    Oct 14, 2016 at 14:15
  • 44
    Holy crap. That just gave me more than 3G back. Who knew…
    – Alper
    Jan 22, 2017 at 14:58
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    This operation has freed approximately 17.2GB of disk space.
    – fvgs
    Apr 17, 2017 at 7:30

@aknuds1 is right about brew cleanup so I'll just add that I have an alias in my ~/.profile that does all my brew-related cleanup, including cask update/cleanup

alias brewski='brew update && brew upgrade && brew cleanup; brew doctor'

I end with brew doctor to make sure all packages are correctly symlinked, e.g., awscli seems to have a problem with this on the regular so I constantly have to unlink/relink. Hope this helps.

EDIT: As it was pointed out to me in the comments, brew cask functionality has been merged into the homebrew core. These commands were also throwing errors, so references to brew cask have been deleted.

EDIT2: As I run this daily, I noticed the following comment today. I've updated the command accordingly

    Warning: We decided to not change the behaviour of `brew upgrade` so
    `brew upgrade --all` is equivalent to `brew upgrade` without any other
    arguments (so the `--all` is a no-op and can be removed).
  • 3
    You don't need to do brew upgrade brew-cask anymore as since this pull request brew update will also now upgrade homebrew-cask automatically.
    – Lantrix
    Jul 12, 2016 at 6:20
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    @Lantrix Thanks for that update. I've edited my answer to reflect this change.
    – SaxDaddy
    Jul 12, 2016 at 15:28
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    brew upgrade --cleanup will remove old packages as new packages are installed.
    – Zenexer
    Jan 31, 2018 at 5:45
  • I dont advise to use brew upgrade but instead to use brew outdated and then upgrade each one of the packages by brew upgrade PACKAGE that way you have more control
    – Pedro Luz
    Mar 24, 2018 at 11:13
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    brew upgrade runs brew update before looking for package updates. Thus, brew update is unnecessary.
    – MCCCS
    May 3, 2018 at 12:41

Just for the records, you can clean the outdated versions of the packages that you are about to upgrade using the --cleanup flag:

brew upgrade --cleanup <package_name>

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