Working with Homebrew

Homebrew is a convenient way to install, update, and uninstall software.

Beer Mug

"Homebrew is the easiest and most flexible way to install the UNIX tools Apple didn't include with macOS."

"Homebrew’s creator @mxcl was too concerned with the beer theme and didn’t consider that the project may actually prove popular. By the time Max realised that it was popular, it was too late. However, today, the first Google hit for “homebrew” is not beer related."

Documentation for the missing package manager for macOS.

For system requirements, see:

Previously, we installed VS Code, which is an integrated development environment. In this article, we'll use Homebrew to install Node. In a future tutorial, we'll use Homebrew to install MongoDB.

Install Homebrew

To install, visit the Homebrew site (below), then copy and paste the designated script into macOS Terminal.

Check which version of Homebrew you have installed:

brew -v or brew --version

Example output: Homebrew 3.2.4

To see the install location: which brew

Example output: /opt/homebrew/bin/brew

"Locate a program file in the user's path."

Opt-out of analytics: brew analytics off

Frequently used commands

"A formula is a package definition written in Ruby."

Install formula: brew install <name>

Uninstall formula: brew uninstall <name>

Run updates (daily): brew update

Upgrade everything: brew upgrade

For example:

"You have 1 outdated formula installed.
You can upgrade it with brew upgrade
or list it with brew outdated."

==> Upgrading 1 outdated package:
node 16.4.0 -> 16.4.1
==> Upgrading node
16.4.0 -> 16.4.1

"Check your system for potential problems."

brew doctor

Remove older versions of the installed formula:

brew cleanup

Additional documentation:

Install Node with Homebrew

Node lets you run JavaScript outside of a browser. "Node.js lets developers use JavaScript to write command line tools and for server-side scripting—running scripts server-side to produce dynamic web page content before the page is sent to the user's web browser."

"In January 2010, a package manager was introduced for the Node.js environment called NPM. The package manager makes it easier for programmers to publish and share source code of Node.js packages and is designed to simplify installation, updating, and uninstallation of packages."

"NPM (originally short for Node Package Manager) is a package manager for the JavaScript programming language maintained by npm, Inc."

When you install Node.js, you also get NPM.

"NPM is included as a recommended feature in the Node.js installer. NPM consists of a command line client that interacts with a remote registry."

For more info about using NPM, see the following:

You can install Node.js from the developer website (via the installer) or by using Homebrew.

brew install node

Check Node or NPM version:

node -v or node --version

npm -v or npm --version

Example output: v16.5.0 for Node and 7.19.1 for NPM

You can uninstall Node (and npm) using Homebrew with the following.

brew uninstall node

Using Node

You should now be able to execute the code in a JavaScript file using Node.js. To test this out, create a JavaScript file called example.js and add the code console.log('Hello');. To run your example file, enter the following into Terminal on macOS: node example.js. The command-line output should be Hello. Take note that JavaScript is running with Node.js instead of in a browser.

Uninstall Homebrew

If you need to uninstall Homebrew, you can follow the instructions below.

"To uninstall Homebrew, run the uninstall script from the Homebrew/install repository."


In this section, you installed Node via Homebrew and became acquainted with NPM. We'll revisit NPM in another article since there's still quite a bit more to learn.