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Install a previous version of a formula with Homebrew
# Installs the previous version of a Homebrew formula
# Usage: brewv formula_name desired_version
# Based on
# Author: Matti Schneider <> (
versions=$(brew versions $1)
result=$(echo "$versions" | grep -m 1 $2) #-m 1 to stop as soon as possible
if [[ $? = 0 ]]
commit=$(echo $result | cut -d ' ' -f 4)
formula=$(echo $result | cut -d ' ' -f 5)
cd /usr/local
if [[ -e $formula ]]
then brew unlink $1 # will fail if not already installed, hence the check above
git checkout $commit $formula &&
brew install $1 &&
git reset HEAD $formula &&
git checkout -- $formula
cd - > /dev/null
echo "$1 $2 installed."
echo "You can now switch versions with 'brew switch $1 <version>'"
echo "$versions"
echo "No version matching '$2' for '$1'"
echo "Available versions have been printed above"
exit 1
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kaspergrubbe commented Oct 28, 2013

Thanks :-)

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Ndpnt commented Oct 31, 2013

That's so awesome.

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sciulli commented Jan 15, 2014

Great! Thank you!

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jeremyajohnson commented Apr 17, 2014

Very helpful!

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eeichinger commented Nov 15, 2014

finally - tx!


as of Oct 2014 "brew versions" is no longer part of homebrew. You need to tap homebrew/boneyard before being able to use the script above:

brew tap homebrew/boneyard  

this puts the command "brew versions" back in your tool set

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benlk commented May 31, 2017

As of Brew version 1.11.12, the boneyard is deprecated:

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doekman commented Sep 9, 2017

This all doesn't seem to be working anymore.

What worked for me: run brew info python3 to see what other versions of python3 have been installed (3.5.2_3 was listed), and then brew switch python3 3.5.2_3 to switch to the old version, and brew pin python3 to prevent upgrading.

Not sure how this works if you've never had older versions installed...

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