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I've had git running on my MacBook Pro (macOS High Sierra 10.13.6) for ages. I recently uninstalled Xcode because I never use it, but that seems to have broken Git and I can't figure out how to fix it.

If I open a terminal window and type git --version, I get the following error:

xcrun: error: active developer path ("/Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer") does not exist
Use `sudo xcode-select --switch path/to/Xcode.app` to specify the Xcode that you wish to use for command line developer tools, or use `xcode-select --install` to install the standalone command line developer tools.
See `man xcode-select` for more details.

If I then try Xcode-select --install, I get:

xcode-select: error: command line tools are already installed, use "Software Update" to install updates

Software Update shows no updates are available. I tried to reinstall Xcode from the App Store, but I'm getting:

Xcode can’t be installed on “Macintosh HD” because macOS version 10.14.3 or later is required.

I can't upgrade my macOS version because it says no updates are available!

I tried installing git from the downloadable package, but that made no difference (it seemed to install ok, but I don't know where it installed and it's still looking for the old version). Then tried Homebrew, which again seemed to work but made no difference, so I uninstalled it.

I don't know what to try next! I don't really know what I'm doing with macOS and I'm a bit concerned I'll break stuff if I fiddle too much. Can anyone help?

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  • What does typing type -a git and echo $PATH shows you?
    – Nimesh Neema
    Apr 23, 2019 at 10:36
  • Sorry, line breaks not working... first one gives: git is /usr/bin/git git is /usr/local/bin/git
    – Sharon
    Apr 23, 2019 at 10:37
  • Second gives: /usr/local/opt/[email protected]/sbin:/usr/local/opt/[email protected]/bin:/Applications/MAMP/bin/php/php7.1.8/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/local/autoconf:/opt/X11/bin:/usr/local/share/dotnet:~/.dotnet/tools:/Library/Frameworks/Mono.framework/Versions/Current/Commands:/Applications/Xamarin Workbooks.app/Contents/SharedSupport/path-bin:/Applications/Android Studio.app/Contents/plugins/flutter/bin
    – Sharon
    Apr 23, 2019 at 10:38
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    The Homebrew installed copy appears to be present. The PATH variable gives precedence to Xcode installed copy. Looking at the error, "active developer path does not exist", you'll need to reset the developer path. Try running xcode-select --reset.
    – Nimesh Neema
    Apr 23, 2019 at 10:44
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    That seems to have worked! 'git --version' now gives the version number. Thank you!
    – Sharon
    Apr 23, 2019 at 10:46

1 Answer 1

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To debug this, start by executing:

type -a git

and

echo $PATH

In OP's case, running the above commands gave the following output respectively:

git is /usr/bin/git
git is /usr/local/bin/git

and

/usr/local/opt/[email protected]/sbin
/usr/local/opt/[email protected]/bin
/Applications/MAMP/bin/php/php7.1.8/bin
/usr/bin
/bin
/usr/sbin
/sbin
/usr/local/bin
/usr/local/autoconf
/opt/X11/bin
/usr/local/share/dotnet
~/.dotnet/tools
/Library/Frameworks/Mono.framework/Versions/Current/Commands
/Applications/Xamarin Workbooks.app/Contents/SharedSupport/path-bin
/Applications/Android Studio.app/Contents/plugins/flutter/bin

(in the above output is formatted for readability by replacing : with newline)

Now, run the following commands (using absolute path) to check if git package is actually installed:

/usr/bin/git --version

and

/usr/local/bin/git --version

The above gave the following output, respectively:

active developer path does not exist

and

git version 2.21.0

This indicates that Homebrew installed copy is still present in the system. However, Xcode/system installed copy (which should take precedence due to $PATH variable configuration) wasn't accessible because developer path couldn't be found.

To resolve the issue and to use the Xcode/system installed copy of git, run:

xcode-select --reset

This will resolve the error.

To use the latest version of Git, install the same via Homebrew by running:

brew install git

and set the PATH variable so that /usr/local/bin takes precedence over /usr/bin.

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  • 1
    You're a lifesaver! Nov 13, 2020 at 4:49
  • 2
    I've encountered this a few times over the years and it's usually related to Apple updating XCode, which requires me to launch and configure XCode again before it can install git tools. But as that can be somewhat unexpected, I prefer to use Homebrew as well.
    – c.dunlap
    Sep 13, 2022 at 18:15
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    Launch XCode! as said above, that's all it wanted, system update could not fix the issue till XCode was popped open, Sep 14, 2022 at 19:31

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