I installed Slack by downloading the DMG from its website and copying the app bundle into /Applications directory. Alternatively, I could have used brew cask install slack.

Is there a way to make Homebrew aware of this drag-and-drop version of Slack ? Or do I need to remove it and install via brew cask in order for it to be detected by Homebrew?

4 Answers 4


In versions 2.0.5 and above, it seems you can make Homebrew reinstall the Mac app by applying the --force flag:

brew install --cask --force slack

I have found the best way to fix this issue is brew cask reinstall <cask>. Homebrew then removes the old version as if it installed it and the new version is now managed. That for me has been the cleanest solution.

  • That doesn't seem to work now (April 2019). Though the method listed below, i.e. brew cask install --force works.
    – xji
    May 6, 2019 at 17:44

No, there is not way to update the Homebrew Cask database with the pre-installed apps.

If you wish to have an app installed via Homebrew (so that it gets listed when running brew list --cask), you'll need to remove the downloaded and installed version from the /Applications directory, and install via Homebrew.

  • brew cask list shows apps that have already been installed with Cask. To see if an application is available within cask, use brew search [app-name] and look under the ==> Casks header. You can see more info about specific casks by using brew cask info [cask-name] (note that the specified name must exactly match the cask's for this command).
    – aaplmath
    Aug 28, 2018 at 22:12
  • @aaplmath My bad. Thanks for the information. I was aware of the same but wrote an incorrectly worded statement. I have edited to fix it. Please feel free to edit the answer if you find it lacking.
    – Nimesh Neema
    Aug 28, 2018 at 22:14

In homebrew versions 3.0.4 and above, you can force the installation of a brew cask like this:

brew install --cask spotify --force

Note that some apps (like Spotify) may require you to authenticate as sudo during the installation to overwrite some of the files in the Applications folder.

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