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I'm trying to install brew but get the following warning:

Warning: /usr/bin occurs before /usr/local/bin
This means that system-provided programs will be used instead of those
provided by Homebrew. The following tools exist at both paths:


Consider amending your PATH so that /usr/local/bin
is ahead of /usr/bin in your PATH.

I have no idea how to amend the path. I've explored several files from this stack overflow post (, but can't find a relevan path to edit. The only file that I do have that exists is my /etc/profile file which currently looks like:

# Setting PATH for Python 2.7
# The orginal version is saved in .bash_profile.pysave
export PATH

I wanted to just uninstall python then reinstall it through homebrew, but am a little nervous about breaking too many things at once.

Is there an easy way to amend the path? Should I create a .bash_profile file? Thank you for any help in advance.

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2 Answers 2

Yes, create a .bash_profile file in your home directory containing


and then do one of the following to make the change active

  • execute . ~/.bash_profile
  • execute PATH="/usr/local/bin:$PATH" in the current shell
  • restart Terminal
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Thank you! My system is now 'raring to brew' –  threenovation Apr 23 '12 at 5:30
@threenovation if the answer above is correct, can I suggest you mark it as answer (click the tick next to the answer) –  Stu Wilson Apr 23 '12 at 10:37
I wonder if this should be exported? Child processes should have this new path also. Also: When I set up brew, it did not alert me that /usr/bin came before /usr/local/bin. –  Steven Lu May 3 '12 at 15:00
@StevenLu, it's already exported by the time you get to .bash_profile. It wouldn't hurt to explicitly export it again, but not necessary. –  glenn jackman May 3 '12 at 15:20
@threenovation - Can you accept the answer so it doesn't look unresolved? –  beroe Aug 28 '13 at 23:25

You need to amend /etc/paths so that /usr/local/bin is listed before /usr/bin. You'll need to sudo your editor in order to do that.

One of the ways to open editor is

 sudo open -t /etc/paths
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My PATH was configured correctly in my .bash_profile, but not in /etc/paths. This worked beautifully. –  Nick Tomlin Jul 17 '13 at 17:03
Do NOT use this method for setting your path -- there is risk that non-terminal applications will pick up the "brewed" components and fail. Using "sudo" should also be a red flag unless you truly understand what you're doing (especially with a user-level development system like Mac Homebrew). Editing your .bash_profile and restarting terminal should be sufficient. –  rholmes May 18 '14 at 21:04

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