Homebrew shows me all packages that I have installed with brew leaves. However, it doesn't show me when was a package been installed.

Is it possible to make Homebrew show the installation date of packages?

4 Answers 4


brew ls -lt lists installed packages, sorted by last modified date of the package installation directory, newest to oldest.

Equivalent results can be obtained with:

find "$(brew --cellar)" -type d -maxdepth 0 | xargs ls -lt

With this incantation, sort order can be changed by adding -U (creation date) or -u (last access date) to the ls -lt

$ find "$(brew --cellar)" -type d -maxdepth 0 | xargs ls -ltU # creation aka *installation date*
$ find "$(brew --cellar)" -type d -maxdepth 0 | xargs ls -ltu # last access aka last use date

Add -r to ls -lt to reverse order, oldest to newest.

brew ls -l lists installed packages in alphabetical order.

It's unknown to me whether Homebrew affects a package folder's creation date during brew upgrade, so be aware that learning the first installation date of a package may be elusive.

The -a option for brew ls -l appears to be no longer available.

  • What did the -a option use to do? Commented Nov 9, 2019 at 0:08
  1. brew list and brew ls both are to see only the list of all installed packages.

  2. brew ls -l is to see the list of installed packages with date.

  3. brew ls -lt to see list of order by installation date.

  • 2
    this was somewhat useful for me (so I voted up). An issue is there is no actual -a option although -l works and will show a modified date. brew ls also appears to be the same as brew list, correct me if I'm wrong. Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 1:27
  • brew ls -l worked for me, but brew ls -la did not. Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 20:51

Building off @Kevin-Prichard's answer, for anybody here in 2021.

brew ls --formula -lt


  • Reverse order: brew ls --formula -ltr
  • Only print package names: brew ls --formula -t
  • Print 1 package name per line (useful for scripts): brew ls --formula -t1


(from brew ls -h, with notes)

  • --formula: brew requires the --formula flag when using -l or -t nowadays. Not sure when that started, but I'm on brew 3.0.1 so probably applies to versions >3.0. I'd guess this is to differentiate listing formulae vs casks (doesn't look like -lt are supported with --cask)
  • -l: List formulae in long-format (i.e. with "last modified" date, akin to ls -l)
  • -t: Sort formulae by time modified, listing most recently modified first.
  • -r: Reverse the order of the formulae sort to list the oldest entries first. Note: make sure to use the -t flag with this one, to reverse by last-modified.
  • -1: Force output to be one entry per line. This is the default when output is not to a terminal.

The following code sorts packages that were manually installed (via brew install) by the time they were last installed/upgraded/reinstalled.

Works in bash and zsh.

Assumes package dirpaths never contain whitespaces, and that at least one package has been installed with brew install.

# Manually installed packages (with "brew install").
pkgs=$(brew leaves --installed-on-request)

# Birthtimes / creation times of dirs of installed packages.
while read -r btime; do
    btimes+=( $(date -r $btime +%Y-%m-%d) )
done < <(stat -f %B $(brew --prefix $(printf %s "$pkgs")))

# Sort packages by time of last install/upgrade/reinstall.
paste -d ' ' <(printf "%s\n" "${btimes[@]}") <(printf %s "$pkgs") | sort

Sample output:

2022-12-06 gnu-sed
2022-12-25 bash
2022-12-25 shellcheck
2023-02-17 nano
2023-03-04 csvkit

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