Taps (Third-Party Repositories)

brew tap adds more repositories to the list of formulae that brew tracks, updates, and installs from. By default, tap assumes that the repositories come from GitHub, but the command isn’t limited to any one location.

The brew tap command

  • brew tap without arguments lists the currently tapped repositories. For example:
$ brew tap
  • brew tap <user/repo> makes a clone of the repository at https://github.com/user/homebrew-repo. After that, brew will be able to work on those formulae as if they were in Homebrew’s canonical repository. You can install and uninstall them with brew [un]install, and the formulae are automatically updated when you run brew update. (See below for details about how brew tap handles the names of repositories.)

  • brew tap <user/repo> <URL> makes a clone of the repository at URL. Unlike the one-argument version, URL is not assumed to be GitHub, and it doesn’t have to be HTTP. Any location and any protocol that Git can handle is fine.

  • brew tap --repair migrates tapped formulae from a symlink-based to directory-based structure. (This should only need to be run once.)

  • brew untap user/repo [user/repo user/repo ...] removes the given taps. The repositories are deleted and brew will no longer be aware of their formulae. brew untap can handle multiple removals at once.

Repository naming conventions and assumptions

  • On GitHub, your repository must be named homebrew-something in order to use the one-argument form of brew tap. The prefix ‘homebrew-‘ is not optional. (The two-argument form doesn’t have this limitation, but it forces you to give the full URL explicitly.)

  • When you use brew tap on the command line, however, you can leave out the ‘homebrew-‘ prefix in commands.

    That is, brew tap username/foobar can be used as a shortcut for the long version: brew tap username/homebrew-foobar. brew will automatically add back the ‘homebrew-‘ prefix whenever it’s necessary.

Formula with duplicate names

If your tap contains a formula that is also present in homebrew/core, that’s fine, but it means that you must install it explicitly by default.

Whenever a brew install foo command is issued, brew will find which formula to use by searching in the following order:

  • core formulae
  • other taps

If you need a formula to be installed from a particular tap, you can use fully qualified names to refer to them.

You can create a tap for an alternative vim formula. The behaviour will be:

brew install vim                     # installs from homebrew/core
brew install username/repo/vim       # installs from your custom repository

As a result, we recommend you give formulae a different name if you want to make them easier to install. Note that there is (intentionally) no way of replacing dependencies of core formulae with those from taps.

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Licensed under the BSD 2-Clause License.