I hope this is the right place to pose this question. I have a MacBook Pro with just 128 GB of HDD space.

Now I want to install Homebrew & FFMPEG - however, with what I have read it seems that Xcode is a mandatory.

Is there a way to install just the required libraries for FFMPEG or Homebrew to run without having install the enormous 10-12 gig of Xcode.


  • 4
    Please reread the installation documentation! Only a handful of formulae require a full Xcode installation and most only need the Command Line Tools installed. On a separate note: There are precompiled binaries for FFmpeg and do not require Homebrew or Xcode to use. Feb 25, 2017 at 22:09

1 Answer 1


On my system the necessary Command Line Tools take up some 303.6MB (I am using macOS Sierra 10.12.3 on a 2012 AirBook). Also, for what it is worth /Applications/XCode.app is only ~6+GB on this same computer.

I don't know that this is a comprehensive storage requirement assessment, but...
~300MB for /Library/Developer/CommandLineTools/
~125MB for /usr/local/Homebrew/
~_60MB for /usr/Cellar/ffmpeg/
~ 500MB Total Storage


To install Command Line Tools without the full Xcode install:

$ xcode-select --install

See also this step-by-step guide.

To uninstall simply delete the folder /Library/Developer/CommandLineTools/


To install Homebrew:

$ /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"

When using Homebrew, it's good to run brew commands such as
brew update &
brew doctor
...prior to installations. See here for some brewing tips.

To uninstall Homebrew:

$ /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/uninstall)"

Download the uninstall script and run ./uninstall --help to view more uninstall options.


To install the most basic ffmpeg with Homebrew:

$ brew install ffmpeg

After installing ffmpeg confirm that ffplay, ffprobe and ffserver have successfully installed and are available in your command line by using, for example:

$ ffplay -version

If they are not all available, you may need to use the following brew command:

$ brew unlink ffmpeg && brew link ffmpeg

Some ffmpeg resources:
FFmpeg documentation: http://ffmpeg.org/documentation.html
An FFmpeg support forum - http://ffmpeg.gusari.org/
"FFmpeg Basics" by Frantisek Korbel

To uninstall ffmpeg with Homebrew:

$ brew uninstall ffmpeg
  • 1
    Thanks! I'm definitely going to give this a try. I couldn't appreciate more.
    – Filip
    Feb 26, 2017 at 20:52

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