Remove unused brew dependencies and delete outdated downloads
You’re reading it, so I assume you know what the brew is and most likely, you use it. If you don’t, check out my “Homebrew — the best friend of the macOS user” that I published a few years ago.
Have you ever been wondering why
brew list comes back with a gazillion packages even though you installed only a handful of them? These are your packages and all their dependencies. Compare it with the output of
brew leaves that shows only top-level packages (most likely the ones you explicitly installed).
For instance, when you do
brew install git, you add
git executable and
pcre2 as dependencies. Unfortunately, when you reverse this process with
brew uninstall git, the main formula disappears, but you end up with two no longer needed dependencies. After a while, it is easy to end up with hundreds of programs that clutter your hard drive. Luckily, there’s a simple solution to solve this problem.
brew uninstall git brew autoremove
autoremove command removes all the hanging, no longer needed packages from your computer. So say goodbye to unneeded dependencies and messy
brew list output.
~ brew help autoremove Uninstall formulae that were only installed as a dependency of another formula and are now no longer needed.
If you want to take your tidy-up routine to the next level, you can also run
brew cleanup. This command removes downloads for outdated formulas and casks.
~ brew help cleanup Remove stale lock files and outdated downloads for all formulae and casks, and remove old versions of installed formulae. If arguments are specified, only do this for the given formulae and casks. Removes all downloads more than 120 days old. This can be adjusted with HOMEBREW_CLEANUP_MAX_AGE_DAYS.
OK. Enough procrastination, pretending that you are doing productive work by shaving off a few MBs of your hard drive. Get back to work!