I understand upgrading from TeX Live 2012 to 2013 is not a single-click operation.

As I was working on some important documents and didn't want to compromise my TeX distribution, I've put off upgrading until now.

I'm ready now but, before installing 2013, I'd like to perform a clean uninstall of TeXLive 2012. What steps should I take? What should I look out for? I'm running Mac OS 10.8.3.

  • 1
    Why do you want to uninstall? TeX Live installations are independent of each other, and you can switch rapidly between them by flicking the path.
    – Joseph Wright
    Aug 12, 2013 at 20:04
  • 2
    @JosephWright Doesn't 2013 make 2012 obsolete? I just want to avoid having too many versions installed...
    – jub0bs
    Aug 12, 2013 at 20:05
  • 5
    The premise is wrong: download the latest MacTeX installer and double click. You can, later, remove the /usr/local/texlive/2012 folder, but it's not necessary, if you don't have disk space constraints.
    – egreg
    Aug 12, 2013 at 20:09
  • 3
    One reason for keeping (say) two installations in parallel is that if something goes wrong with the new one at a critical moment, you can, as @JosephWright suggested, quickly switch back to using the older and presumably not faulty install, thereby being able to wait for a 'non-critical' moment to fix the problem(s). If disk space is an issue, however, this may not be feasible.
    – jon
    Aug 12, 2013 at 20:19
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    @Jubobs MacTeX installs also a System Preferences panel called “TeX Distribution” which can be used for choosing between the installed versions.
    – egreg
    Aug 12, 2013 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


In general it won’t do any harm if the 2012 and 2013 versions are installed parallel, so you can simply download the MacTeX installer and run it. In the system preferences there’s a pane “TeX Distribution” where you can activate on of the installed distributions and switch between them as necessary.

To save disk space you may want to delete the old TeX live. Simply remove the folder /usr/local/texlive/2012 (my use the Terminal or in finder Go To > Go To Folder … ) – it contains all stuff belonging to TeX Live 2012.

  • 1
    The Preference Pane currently doesn't work under Mavericks. I've reported the issue and Jérôme Laurens is working on a fix.
    – Alan Munn
    Dec 14, 2013 at 14:28
  • @AlanMunn Indeed: it doesn't make any change.
    – egreg
    Dec 14, 2013 at 14:31

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