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Updating to PHP versions 7.4 and 8 on macOS 11 Big Sur and Catalina

Php8 Macos Update

The latest macOS versions of Big Sur and Catalina currently ship with PHP 7.3 and have a deprecation notice that they intend to drop support for PHP altogether in a future upgrade.

You can see this by running a <? phpinfo(); ?> function in a webhosted file or running php -v on the command line.

admin@192-168-1-105 Documents % php -v
WARNING: PHP is not recommended
PHP is included in macOS for compatibility with legacy software.
Future versions of macOS will not include PHP.
PHP 7.3.24-(to be removed in future macOS) (cli) (built: Dec 21 2020 21:33:25) ( NTS )
Copyright (c) 1997-2018 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v3.3.24, Copyright (c) 1998-2018 Zend Technologies

So moving forward the best solution is to use Homebrew to install and then choose whichever version of PHP you want including 7.4 and version 8.

So once you have Homebrew installed on your macOS a particular PHP Homebrew formulae will need to be added from this maintainer, what is great about this, is all PHP versions are available whereas only some versions are available on the default Homebrew formulas.

After Homebrew install, follow the below:

Add the PHP formulae

brew tap shivammathur/php

Choose the PHP version – example uses 7.4

brew install shivammathur/php/php@7.4

Other options are

Link the PHP Version

brew link --overwrite --force php@7.4

Change your version to match

Restart the Terminal


php -v

You should now see the new version, to change to another version just repeat the process from the brew install... then unlink and link in the new PHP version by issuing a command like below but with your correct version:

brew unlink php && brew link --overwrite --force php@8.1

Using new PHP in macOS Shipped Apache

If you are using macOS in built shipped Apache, you can use the new PHP version by editing the Apache file:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/httpd.conf

Find the PHP module and comment it out and add in the new PHP version path:

#LoadModule php7_module libexec/apache2/

LoadModule php7_module /usr/local/opt/php@7.4/lib/httpd/modules/

Restart Apache

sudo apachectl restart

Now the new PHP version will be used.

You could download all the versions and just uncomment the one you want if you intend to swap around:

#LoadModule php5_module /usr/local/opt/php@5.6/lib/httpd/modules/
#LoadModule php7_module /usr/local/opt/php@7.0/lib/httpd/modules/
#LoadModule php7_module /usr/local/opt/php@7.1/lib/httpd/modules/
#LoadModule php7_module /usr/local/opt/php@7.2/lib/httpd/modules/
#LoadModule php7_module /usr/local/opt/php@7.3/lib/httpd/modules/
LoadModule php7_module /usr/local/opt/php@7.4/lib/httpd/modules/
#LoadModule php_module /usr/local/opt/php@8.0/lib/httpd/modules/
#LoadModule php_module /usr/local/opt/php@8.1/lib/httpd/modules/

PHP 8 and macOS Apache

One extra step is needed for PHP 8 and macOS bundled Apache:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/httpd.conf

Add the new PHP 8 and comment out the old one.

LoadModule php_module /usr/local/opt/php@8.0/lib/httpd/modules/

Go to the end of the file and add:

<FilesMatch .php$>
    SetHandler application/x-httpd-php

Restart Apache

Removing Older Homebrew PHP version (optional)

If you have the older PHP formulas from an older Homebrew installation, you may wish to remove these:

rm -rf $(brew --cellar)/php

Remove old PHP Launch Agents and daemons, if present:

rm -f ~/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.php*
rm -f /Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.php*
rm -f /Library/LaunchDaemons/homebrew.mxcl.php*

Remove the deprecated homebrew/php tap, if present:

brew untap homebrew/php

Run brew cleanup:

brew cleanup
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