How to convert Homebrew for Mac to work with multiple users

If you’ve already installed Homebrew on a single-user machine, and want to use Homebrew on a second user, the migration may be complicated.

For example, let’s say you have olduser on your personal machine set up with Homebrew. You create a second user newuser and try to use brew and immediately run into permission issues. Homebrew is not designed for multi-user setups by default.

Instead, create a third user, homebrew for example, where Homebrew can keep its cache files and other local state, and alias the brew command to switch to that user for commands.

Step 0: Write down your installed packages

First, write down the lists of casks and formulae you have installed through Homebrew:

brew leaves --installed-on-request
brew list --cask


This process will uninstall all Homebrew packages. You will need to re-install them manually after you’ve moved your Homebrew installation.

Step 1: Create the Homebrew Manager user

Next, use System Settings to create a new Administrator user to use to manage Homebrew (homebrew in this example, with the long name “Homebrew Manager”). Then follow Apple’s instructions to hide that user from the login window…

sudo dscl . create /Users/homebrew IsHidden 1
sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/ HiddenUsersList -array-add homebrew

…and hide its home directory:

sudo chflags hidden /Users/homebrew

After a reboot, the user should be hidden from the login screen.


If FileVault is enabled, the homebrew user may be visible on the boot screen.

Step 2: Uninstall Homebrew

Follow Homebrew’s official uninstall instructions:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

Step 3: Reinstall Homebrew as the new user

Log in to the new user from your terminal:

# Enter your new user's username (e.g. `homebrew`) and password

Then install Homebrew:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

Set up Homebrew on the new user’s PATH variable:

echo 'eval "$(/opt/homebrew/bin/brew shellenv)"' >> /Users/homebrew/.zprofile
eval "$(/opt/homebrew/bin/brew shellenv)"

Then, override HOMEBREW_CASK_OPTS in the homebrew user to change Homebrew’s Fonts directory from the default value of ~/Library/Fonts to the system fonts directory at /Library/Fonts:

echo 'export HOMEBREW_CASK_OPTS="--fontdir=/Library/Fonts"' >> /Users/homebrew/.zprofile

Finally, log out:


Step 4: Alias the brew command to run as the homebrew user

Add the following to wherever you keep your shell’s terminal aliases:

alias brew='sudo -Hu homebrew brew'

Step 5: Reinstall everything

Use brew install to reinstall everything in the list you wrote down before. Since brew aliases to sudo now, you may need to enter your password or use TouchID to run brew commands.

You are now free to create new users as you please on your system, and Homebrew will behave appropriately!

These instructions are adapted from Valérian Galliat’s blog post.