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

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.

[email protected] 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/[email protected]

Other options are

Link the PHP Version

brew link --overwrite --force [email protected]

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 [email protected]

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/libphp7.so

LoadModule php7_module /usr/local/opt/[email protected]/lib/httpd/modules/libphp7.so

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/[email protected]/lib/httpd/modules/libphp5.so
#LoadModule php7_module /usr/local/opt/[email protected]/lib/httpd/modules/libphp7.so
#LoadModule php7_module /usr/local/opt/[email protected]/lib/httpd/modules/libphp7.so
#LoadModule php7_module /usr/local/opt/[email protected]/lib/httpd/modules/libphp7.so
#LoadModule php7_module /usr/local/opt/[email protected]/lib/httpd/modules/libphp7.so
LoadModule php7_module /usr/local/opt/[email protected]/lib/httpd/modules/libphp7.so
#LoadModule php_module /usr/local/opt/[email protected]/lib/httpd/modules/libphp.so
#LoadModule php_module /usr/local/opt/[email protected]/lib/httpd/modules/libphp.so

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/[email protected]/lib/httpd/modules/libphp.so

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


  1. mickael on September 19, 2021 at 9:46 am

    if you have an apple selicon m1 chip you should change every line with /usr/local/ by /opt/homebrew/.
    like :
    LoadModule php_module /usr/local/opt/[email protected]/lib/httpd/modules/libphp.so

    change to :

    LoadModule php_module /opt/homebrew/opt/[email protected]/lib/httpd/modules/libphp.so

  2. Gilles Godefroid on July 15, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    First time I found to do that after many tests

  3. Peter Morgan-Tansley on June 30, 2021 at 1:04 pm


    I just tried this but get these errors using configtest –

    AH06665: No code signing authority for module at /usr/local/opt/[email protected]/lib/httpd/modules/libphp7.so specified in LoadModule directive. Proceeding with loading process, but this will be an error condition in a future version of macOS.
    httpd: Syntax error on line 188 of /private/etc/apache2/httpd.conf: Cannot load /usr/local/opt/[email protected]/lib/httpd/modules/libphp7.so into server: dlopen(/usr/local/opt/[email protected]/lib/httpd/modules/libphp7.so, 10): image not found

  4. Maciek on May 10, 2021 at 11:20 am

    Would this work on High Sierra macos server? I recall installing homebrew PHP once but it caused some random errors with Proxy.

    • Neil Gowran on May 12, 2021 at 11:39 pm

      Yes should be fine on High Sierra, just need to make sure for older installs that all Homebrew is up to date and also good practice to run brew doctor

  5. Maria on May 9, 2021 at 4:59 pm

    In my case, when I ran `brew link –overwrite –force [email protected]`, I got the following:

    No such keg: /usr/local/Cellar/php

    I did have shivammathur/php installed and then installed php 8.0 with it, but still got this message. ???

  6. Douglas Hemingway on April 18, 2021 at 1:51 am

    Using this instruction brew tap shivammathur/php caused an error message:

    Warning: Calling `sha256 “digest” => :tag` in a bottle block is deprecated! Use `brew style –fix` on the formula to update the style or use `sha256 tag: “digest”` instead.

  7. R0bertinski on April 14, 2021 at 5:52 am

    In my case I had to edit nano ~/.bash_profile and change these lines:
    export PATH=”/usr/local/opt/[email protected]/bin:$PATH”
    export PATH=”/usr/local/opt/[email protected]/sbin:$PATH”
    To this:
    export PATH=”/usr/local/opt/[email protected]/bin:$PATH”
    export PATH=”/usr/local/opt/[email protected]/sbin:$PATH”

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