Is there any way to upgrade all brew casks? Something like brew cask upgrade?

15 Answers 15


As of December, 2017, brew cask upgrade is a thing.


  • 2
    This should be the accepted answer – altabq Mar 20 '18 at 14:09
  • 4
    brew cask upgrade is deprecated in favor of brew upgrade --cask. – Casimir Oct 3 '20 at 10:36
  • 5
    brew upgrade without the --formula or --cask flag now updates both outdated casks and formulae. – Casimir Oct 3 '20 at 10:38

Bash script to upgrade packages

inspired by Pascal answer

#!/usr/bin/env bash

(set -x; brew update;)

(set -x; brew cleanup;)
(set -x; brew cask cleanup;)

red=`tput setaf 1`
green=`tput setaf 2`
reset=`tput sgr0`

casks=( $(brew cask list) )

for cask in ${casks[@]}
    version=$(brew cask info $cask | sed -n "s/$cask:\ \(.*\)/\1/p")
    installed=$(find "/usr/local/Caskroom/$cask" -type d -maxdepth 1 -maxdepth 1 -name "$version")

    if [[ -z $installed ]]; then
        echo "${red}${cask}${reset} requires ${red}update${reset}."
        (set -x; brew cask uninstall $cask --force;)
        (set -x; brew cask install $cask --force;)
        echo "${red}${cask}${reset} is ${green}up-to-date${reset}."

What it does

  • update brew/brew cask, cleanup
  • read the casks list
  • check the brew cask info for the newest version
  • install new version if available (and removes all old versions!)

source: https://gist.github.com/atais/9c72e469b1cbec35c7c430ce03de2a6b

one liner for impatient:

curl -s https://gist.githubusercontent.com/atais/9c72e469b1cbec35c7c430ce03de2a6b/raw/36808a0544628398f26b48f7a3c7b309872ca2c6/cask_upgrade.sh | bash /dev/stdin

save as /usr/local/bin/cask-upgrade, so you can run it locally as cask-upgrade later

  • Worked like a charm. Would be nice to query for a list first of out of date packages first though. Easy enough to tweak the script to do it. – eduncan911 Mar 15 '16 at 16:40
  • Thank you! Have you tried to get this integrated directly into Homebrew Cask? I just converted it to fish and it works for me as well. It also revealed to me that some old versions were still present after I had installed the current ones. – Pascal May 1 '16 at 11:55
  • You need to run brew cask uninstall --force before installing the new version if you do not want the old version to stay there. – Pascal May 14 '16 at 11:31
  • @Pascal yeah I noticed I have a lot of old versions stacked here too. Soon I will add uninstall command. – Atais May 16 '16 at 7:23
  • @Atais does the deinstallation still consistently work for you? Some casks now leave an empty folder with the version number with my script, which messes with the version checking. – Pascal Nov 13 '16 at 9:07


I think this is by far the best solution to upgrade the casks.
source: https://github.com/buo/homebrew-cask-upgrade

Installation & usage

brew tap buo/cask-upgrade
brew update
brew cu

(Optional) Force upgrade outdated apps including the ones marked as latest:

brew cu --all
  • Very good solution. brew cu -a lists all installed casks and their version (current vs. latest) and allows for updating them individually or all at once. Also well designed and documented (brew help cu). – Theo Tiger Apr 29 '20 at 9:13
  • Copy from stackoverflow.com/questions/31968664/…. Don't let the admin's catch you ; ) – n1000 Aug 30 '20 at 10:59
  • Same question same answer – Atais Aug 30 '20 at 14:35

As the quote in the other answer says, there is currently no way to upgrade all updated casks.

The second part of the answer is wrong, though: brew upgrade --all cannot upgrade casks.

The only way to upgrade all casks is to get a list of the installed casks and force them to be reinstalled - including those that have not changed!

In fish, you could do that like this:

for app in (brew cask list)
    brew cask install --force $app


Atais created a script that works: Bash script to upgrade packages.
Please upvote his answer rather than this one.

  • 1
    Well, mind that it will actually reinstall all your apps, not just update the outdated :( – Atais Dec 11 '15 at 23:19
  • 1
    To upgrade cask listings, you should run brew cask update then follow the earlier response to upgrade only the packages that are currently out of date here: apple.stackexchange.com/a/231020/49601 – Danijel-James W Apr 29 '16 at 2:04
  • @Danijel-JamesW I rolled your change back because it was wrong. It might be the way to do it in other shells, but it isn't in fish. – Pascal Apr 29 '16 at 19:57

From the homebrew cask documentation:

Since the homebrew-cask repository is a Homebrew Tap, you'll pull down the latest Casks every time you issue the regular Homebrew command brew update. Currently, homebrew-cask cannot always detect if an Application has been updated. You can force an update via the command brew cask install --force. We are working on improving this.

The following should be enough to upgrade both brew formulaes and casks.

brew upgrade --all 
  • 5
    This is not true anymore. brew upgrade --all is equivalent to brew upgrade now. Casks are not upgraded by that command. – proski Jan 9 '17 at 23:14

Here's what I have in my .bash_profile that I run to do a full upgrade pass of homebrew. I "pin" a couple items to keep gigantic downloads from being repeatedly fetched for every update, because their versions are always "latest" or they shouldn't be upgraded.

boop() {
  brew update && brew upgrade && brew cleanup \
    && cask-upgrade && cask-retire && brew cask cleanup \
      && brew doctor && brew cask doctor

__is_pinned() {
  local pinned=";pixate-studio;sketchup;skype;"
  [[ *";${1};"* != "${pinned}" ]] && return 0 || return 1

cask-upgrade() {
  while read -r; do
    if ! __is_pinned "${name}"; then
      if [[ "${vers}" == "latest" ]]; then
        brew cask install "${name}" --force
        brew cask install "${name}" 2> >(grep -v "re-install")
  done < <(brew cask list --versions)

cask-retire() {
  while read -r; do
    if ! __is_pinned "${name}"; then
      for inst in $(ls "${room}/${name}"); do
        if [[ "${inst}" != "${vers}" ]]; then
          echo "Removing ${name} version ${inst}"
          rm -r "${room}/${name}/${inst}"
  done < <(brew cask list --versions)

To reinstall brew cask apps in zsh:

brew cask update;

for app in $(brew cask list); do
    brew cask uninstall --force ${app}
    brew cask install --force ${app}    
  • This isn't very good for users who might have a lot of brew cask installations that require user input (e.g. - quartz). Also, it's not necessary to uninstall every application before re-installing it. Ideally you should also run an update like brew cask update first. – Danijel-James W Apr 29 '16 at 2:00
  • @Danijel-JamesW Unfortunately it is if you do not want the old version to stay. – Pascal May 14 '16 at 11:43

This would probably be more appropriate as a comment, but I don't have enough reputation to leave one, so...

As of this writing, homebrew-cask has its own upgrade system, and so the third-party scripts and tools are no longer required.

To list outdated casks: brew cask outdated

To upgrade all outdated casks: brew cask upgrade


This has really irked me so I created this script to update all Brew apps and allow the user to choose which Cask apps to update. You can exclude apps from consideration too.



I recommend @eduncan911's answer in the counterpart question on Stack Overflow.

In short:

  • $ brew-cask.sh just lists an output similar to Homebrew's brew update. the list above shows all packages installed, with a green indicating any pending updates.
  • $ brew-cask.sh upgrade will force the upgrade of those packages.

Install from his repo with:

$ curl -L https://raw.githubusercontent.com/eduncan911/dotfiles/master/bin/brew-cask.sh --create-dirs -o ~/bin/brew-cask.sh
$ chmod 755 ~/bin/brew-cask.sh

Then use it like this:

$ brew-cask.sh
$ brew-cask.sh upgrade

I made such script by myself. Please look at the github https://github.com/pesh1983/brew_cask_upgrade. It has pretty good description, but if you have any additional question, feel free to ask me. It does fair upgrade: uninstall and install, so any necessary cleanup will be performed by 'brew' itself.


Similar to @DarrenPMeyer, this would probably be more appropriate as a comment, but I too don't have enough reputation to leave one, so...

Adding on to @Raúl Cuza and @DarrenPMeyer's comments, some casks are considered auto-updating, but in my experience, many typically do not update promptly.

One can do brew cask upgrade --greedy or brew cask outdated --greedy to include those auto-updating casks.

Also, if you wanted to upgrade your casks automatically, I would suggest first installing homebrew-cask-upgrade:

brew tap buo/cask-upgrade
brew update
brew cu

then scheduling brew cu --all --cleanup --yes in your crontab (we must use root's crontab because brew casks often need root permission):

sudo crontab -e

and write:

40 15 * * * brew cu --all --cleanup --yes
  • 1
    the greedy argument works well. – 象嘉道 Apr 5 '20 at 2:51
for app in $(brew cask list); do
    cver="$(brew cask info "${app}" | head -n 1 | cut -d " " -f 2)"
    ivers=$(ls -1 "/opt/homebrew-cask/Caskroom/${app}/.metadata/" | tr '\n' ' ' | sed -e 's/ $//')
    nvers=$(echo ${#aivers[@]})
    echo "[*] Found ${app} in cask list. Latest available version is ${cver}. You have installed version(s): ${overs}"
    if [[ ${nvers} -eq 1 ]]; then
        echo "${ivers}" | grep -q "^${cver}$" && { echo "[*] Latest version already installed :) Skipping changes ..."
        continue; }
    echo "[+] Fixing from ${ivers} to ${cver} ..."
    brew cask uninstall "${app}" --force
    brew cask install "${app}"
  • This is unreadable - also needs explanation of what it does – mmmmmm Apr 28 '16 at 9:27

since homebrew version 2.6.0 brew cask upgrade is deprecated and was replaced with brew upgrade --cask (March 2021)



Casks with 'auto_updates' or 'version :latest' will not be upgraded; pass --greedy to upgrade them:

brew upgrade --cask --greedy
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