I'm trying to install brew but get the following warning:

Warning: /usr/bin occurs before /usr/local/bin
This means that system-provided programs will be used instead of those
provided by Homebrew. The following tools exist at both paths:


Consider amending your PATH so that /usr/local/bin
is ahead of /usr/bin in your PATH.

I have no idea how to amend the path. I've explored several files from this stack overflow post (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/8886114/using-brew-with-ruby-1-9-2), but can't find a relevan path to edit. The only file that I do have that exists is my /etc/profile file which currently looks like:

# Setting PATH for Python 2.7
# The orginal version is saved in .bash_profile.pysave
export PATH

I wanted to just uninstall python then reinstall it through homebrew, but am a little nervous about breaking too many things at once.

Is there an easy way to amend the path? Should I create a .bash_profile file? Thank you for any help in advance.


Yes, create a .bash_profile file in your home directory containing


and then do one of the following to make the change active

  • execute . ~/.bash_profile
  • execute PATH="/usr/local/bin:$PATH" in the current shell
  • restart Terminal
  • 2
    @threenovation if the answer above is correct, can I suggest you mark it as answer (click the tick next to the answer) – Stu Wilson Apr 23 '12 at 10:37
  • I wonder if this should be exported? Child processes should have this new path also. Also: When I set up brew, it did not alert me that /usr/bin came before /usr/local/bin. – Steven Lu May 3 '12 at 15:00
  • @StevenLu, it's already exported by the time you get to .bash_profile. It wouldn't hurt to explicitly export it again, but not necessary. – glenn jackman May 3 '12 at 15:20
  • Thanks for this. Worked "Your system is raring to brew." – Vezu May 29 '12 at 18:46
  • I seem to be getting duplicate entries in $PATH. – flow2k Sep 30 '18 at 21:22

You need to amend /etc/paths so that /usr/local/bin is listed before /usr/bin. You'll need to sudo your editor in order to do that.

One of the ways to open editor is

 sudo open -t /etc/paths
  • My PATH was configured correctly in my .bash_profile, but not in /etc/paths. This worked beautifully. – Nick Tomlin Jul 17 '13 at 17:03
  • 6
    Do NOT use this method for setting your path -- there is risk that non-terminal applications will pick up the "brewed" components and fail. Using "sudo" should also be a red flag unless you truly understand what you're doing (especially with a user-level development system like Mac Homebrew). Editing your .bash_profile and restarting terminal should be sufficient. – rholmes May 18 '14 at 21:04
  • @rholmes So changes to .bash_profile affects interactive user shells only and not other applications? – flow2k Sep 30 '18 at 21:21
  • 1
    @flow2k .bash_profile will affect interactive user shells. Any exported variables will be seen by applications launched from the shell command line (for example, launching a "regular" Mac app, or a command line command). Some more details can be found here, but they're making a finer distinction than what you asked: scriptingosx.com/2017/04/about-bash_profile-and-bashrc-on-macos The answer by glenn jackman is the one to use. – rholmes Oct 1 '18 at 22:12
  • 1
    @flow2k yes, you’ve stated that correctly. – rholmes Oct 2 '18 at 1:43

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