Homebrew gathers anonymous aggregate user behaviour analytics using InfluxDB and Google Analytics. You will be notified the first time you run
brew update or install Homebrew. Analytics are not enabled until after this notice is shown, to ensure that you can opt out without ever sending analytics data.
Homebrew is provided free of charge and run entirely by volunteers in their spare time. As a result, we do not have the resources to do detailed user studies of Homebrew users to decide on how best to design future features and prioritise current work. Anonymous aggregate user analytics allow us to prioritise fixes and features based on how, where and when people use Homebrew. For example:
Homebrew’s anonymous user and event data have a 14 month retention period. This is the lowest possible value for Google Analytics.
Homebrew’s analytics record some shared information for every event:
/opt/homebrew. If your prefix is custom, it will be sent as
1if the CI environment variable is set.
For analytics sent to InfluxDB, we also record:
HOMEBREW_DEVELOPERenvironment variable is enabled, e.g.
For analytics sent to Google Analytics, which is in the process of being phased out and removed, we also record:
Homebrew/3.3.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.15.6) curl/7.64.1.
UA-76679469-1on macOS and
UA-76492262-1on Linux. This value is constant and is the same for all users.
We previously recorded but have now removed:
1BAB65CC-FE7F-4D8C-AB45-B7DB5A6BA9CB. This was generated by
uuidgenand stored in the repository-specific Git configuration variable
$(brew --repository)/.git/config. This did not allow us to track individual users, but does enable us to accurately measure user counts versus event counts. The ID was specific to the Homebrew package manager, and did not permit Homebrew maintainers to e.g. track you across websites you visit. It was only used with Google Analytics.
Homebrew’s analytics records the following different events:
installevent category and the Homebrew formula from a non-private GitHub tap you install plus any used options (e.g.
wget --HEAD) as the action. This allows us to identify which formulae where work should be prioritised, as well as how to handle possible deprecation or removal of any.
install_on_requestevent category and the Homebrew formula from a non-private GitHub tap you have requested to install (e.g. when explicitly named with a
brew install) plus options. This allows us to differentiate the formulae that users intend to install from those pulled in as dependencies.
cask_installevent category and the Homebrew cask from a non-private GitHub tap you install as the action. This allows us to identify which casks where work should be prioritised, as well as how to handle possible deprecation or removal of any.
build_errorevent category and the Homebrew formula plus options that failed to install as the action, e.g.
wget --HEAD. This allows us to identify formulae that may need fixing. The details or logs of the build error are not sent.
You can also view all the information that is sent by Homebrew’s analytics by setting
HOMEBREW_ANALYTICS_DEBUG=1 in your environment. Please note this will also stop any analytics from being sent.
It is impossible for the Homebrew developers to match any particular event to any particular user, even if we had access to the Homebrew analytics user ID (which we do not). An example of the most user-specific information we can see from Google Analytics:
As far as we can tell it would be impossible for Google to match the randomly generated Homebrew-only analytics user ID to any other Google Analytics user ID. If Google turned evil the only thing they could do would be to lie about anonymising IP addresses and attempt to match users based on IP addresses.
Homebrew’s analytics are sent throughout Homebrew’s execution to InfluxDB and Google Analytics over HTTPS.
Summaries of installation and error analytics are publicly available. A JSON API is also available. The majority of Homebrew maintainers are not granted more detailed analytics data beyond these public resources.
The code is viewable in
analytics.sh. They are done in a separate background process and fail fast to avoid delaying any execution. They will fail immediately and silently if you have no network connection.
Homebrew analytics helps us maintainers and leaving it on is appreciated. However, if you want to opt out of Homebrew’s analytics, you can set this variable in your environment:
If you are fine with analytics being sent to Homebrew’s InfluxDB but not to Google Analytics, you can set:
Alternatively, this will prevent analytics from ever being sent:
brew analytics off