While brew has an accessible simple versioning mechanism, it's restricted to versions used by a large number of people. So for popular versions, it's easy:

brew search node # gives node@6, node@8, node@10
brew search postgresql #gives [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], postgresql@10
brew search python # gives python@2

And I can install one for instance with brew install python@2.

But for less popular versions which got removed, let's say [email protected], then it's not obvious how to install them:

$ brew install [email protected]
Error: No available formula with the name "[email protected]"
==> Searching for a previously deleted formula (in the last month)...
Error: No previously deleted formula found.
==> Searching for similarly named formulae...
Error: No similarly named formulae found.
==> Searching taps...
==> Searching taps on GitHub...
Error: No formulae found in taps.

1 Answer 1


Solution based on Versions.html doc

To install a removed brew formula version, we can follow the suggestion from https://docs.brew.sh/Versions.html:

  1. We create an empty repo on our GitHub account: https://github.com/Coeur/homebrew-repo
  2. We add an empty commit to it (git commit --allow-empty -m "first commit"), otherwise brew may not find HEAD.
  3. We extract the old formula with brew extract git Coeur/repo --version=2.20.1
  4. We install this old formula with brew install coeur/repo/[email protected]

(note: uninstall command will be brew uninstall [email protected])
More doc at https://docs.brew.sh/How-to-Create-and-Maintain-a-Tap

Solution based on manual search

  1. Find the repository of the formula with brew info git. It should tell us it's https://github.com/Homebrew/homebrew-core/blob/master/Formula/git.rb
  2. From that page, click the History button on the right to get to https://github.com/Homebrew/homebrew-core/commits/master/Formula/git.rb
  3. Choose a commit diff with your relevant version, for instance https://github.com/Homebrew/homebrew-core/commit/67903b677219559ac72b3fb45932d43426e157f0#diff-3e84bae646d908b93e043833873d316d for 2.20.1
  4. Click View file to get to the full file at this version: https://github.com/Homebrew/homebrew-core/blob/67903b677219559ac72b3fb45932d43426e157f0/Formula/git.rb
  5. Click Raw to get to the raw file at this version: https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/homebrew-core/67903b677219559ac72b3fb45932d43426e157f0/Formula/git.rb
  6. We install this formula with brew install https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/homebrew-core/67903b677219559ac72b3fb45932d43426e157f0/Formula/git.rb

(note: uninstall command will be brew uninstall git)

  • Hi, this is not working for me as it gives the following error: Error: Non-checksummed download of node%4010 formula file from an arbitrary URL is unsupported! brew extract or brew create and brew tap-new to create a formula file in a tap on GitHub instead.
    – Aïssa
    Sep 27, 2022 at 4:30

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