"Unlinked kegs in your Cellar". How do I remove them?

After installing and uninstalling some programs through brew and brew cask, now I get brew doctor saying "unlinked kegs in your Cellar".

It suggests to link them, to avoid build trouble with later brews, but instead I'd rather delete them, as they're leftovers from brew programs or formulas that I don't use anymore.

How or where do I remove these? (I don't even know what a keg, or the Cellar, is)


Run: brew remove packageName for each unlinked package.

2018 Update

$ brew link --help
    If --overwrite is passed, Homebrew will delete files which already exist
    in the prefix while linking.
$ brew link --overwrite [package]
$ brew doctor

brew prune [--dry-run]: Remove dead symlinks from the Homebrew prefix. This is generally not needed, but can be useful when doing DIY installations. Also remove broken app symlinks from /Applications and ~/Applications that were previously created by brew linkapps.

If --dry-run or -n is passed, show what would be removed, but do not actually remove anything.

running brew link will bring up optional commands that you can use, along with that you'll need an argument to go with it or it'll prompt you with an error saying just that.

so I would suggest running:
  • brew doctor This will give you the: 'Warning: You have unlinked kegs in your Cellar...' message underneath this message it will prompt which kegs are there with the potential problem. My personal warning was:

Warning: You have unlinked kegs in your Cellar Leaving kegs unlinked can lead to build-trouble and cause brews that depend on those kegs to fail to run properly once built. Run `brew link` on these: mongodb

  • brew link read your options, so you understand what is happening with this command.
  • brew link --dry-run <yourArgument> Homebrew will list all files which would be linked or which would be deleted by brew link --overwrite, but will not actually link or delete any files.
  • brew link --overwrite <yourArgument> This will execute what the dry-run did, for real this time. My experience with this was: cli cmnd:brew link --overwrite mongodb cli response: Linking /usr/local/Cellar/mongodb/3.2.7... 0 symlinks created
  • brew doctor Finally I ran this command and my response no longer had issues. cli response: Your system is ready to brew. I figure it will either make the link or if there is none to be had it will just delete the file; which was a previous solution above (this just seems to follow the brew cli prompts vs. just "smashing" the issue with a hammer).
    I hope this helps you!

  • don't cry over spilt code, keep supporting the community.

After installing homebrew on Mac I had the following error:

$ brew doctor
Please note that these warnings are just used to help the Homebrew maintainers
with debugging if you file an issue. If everything you use Homebrew for is
working fine: please don't worry or file an issue; just ignore this. Thanks!

Warning: You have unlinked kegs in your Cellar
Leaving kegs unlinked can lead to build-trouble and cause brews that depend on
those kegs to fail to run properly once built. Run `brew link` on these:

After running brew link libtool I would get the following error:

$ brew link libtool
Linking /usr/local/Cellar/libtool/2.4.6_1... 
Error: Could not symlink include/libltdl
/usr/local/include is not writable.

But as it turned out I didn't have a folder /usr/local/include at all. So I created it. And then changed the owner and group of the new folder to match the other folders in /usr/local. The next error was the same for /usr/local/lib, so I followed the same process.

After creating those two folders, brew link [package] worked.

Cheers. Appleseed.

rm /usr/local/Library/Taps/josegonzalez

-or if you are frightened-

mv /usr/local/Library/Taps/josegonzalez /usr/local/Library

Alike for other conflicting, but unlinked kegs/taps.

You can also use the provided info from the console and link them again:

Run `brew link`

Do this for each item listed, and everything should be fixed soon.

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