I was having the same problem as described here. However, at that time I just reinstalled the MacTex, and things started to work.

As MacTex takes huge space on the disk, I want to make sure that I haven't installed multiple instances of the application, any ideas on how to do that?

And in case I find multiple instances, how do I remove the old installation!

Many thanks!


2 Answers 2


The simplest way to check and remove older versions of MacTeX is through the terminal. Open a terminal window and type:

cd /usr/local/texlive

If you have multiple years of TeX Live installed, you will see directories corresponding to each of the older years. For example, you may see:

2012     2013     texmf-local

which would indicate that you have both TeXLive 2012 and 2013 installed. You can then safely remove the 2012 directory in the following way (must be done from an administrator account):

sudo rm -rf 2012

Do this for any other years you may have lying around. The only other thing to be deleted are the local runtime directories. These are usually not very big (perhaps 100 MB or so). They are found in your local ~/Library/texlive folder. Since these are local to your account you don't need to be an administrator to delete them so you can use:

cd ~/Library/texlive
rm -rf 2012

Alternatively, you can navigate to the folder in the Finder by using Command-Shift-G (Go to Folder in the Go menu) and just drag the appropriate folder(s) to the Trash.

If you have multiple users on your machine, you would need to do this for each user.

  • (+1) I would add that you want to make sure that all MacTeX links are in order when you do this; it's very easy to get broken links with this method if you aren't careful. May 13, 2014 at 18:25
  • @SeanAllred With a standardly installed MacTeX I've never had a problem. The TeX Distribution Pane is smart enough to sort out the links, I think.
    – Alan Munn
    May 13, 2014 at 18:27
  • +1. Thanks a lot to both of you for all the effort. I was able to locate and remove the old installations! Much appreciated!!
    – Shambho
    May 13, 2014 at 18:33
  • 5
    There are also runtime directories in ~/Library/texlive/ (usually not too big). Also rm -fr ~/Library/texlive/2012 is thus necessary for removing really everything. Without the terminal, open a Finder window, press Command-Shift-G and type /usr/local/texlive in the box that appears; then drag the 2012 folder to the trashcan; the Finder will ask for permission.
    – egreg
    May 13, 2014 at 19:56

(Change 2017 below with the last year you have on your system)

  1. Open a Finder window
  2. Hit Command-Shift-G (or menu Go > Go to folder…)
  3. In the box that opens type /usr/local/texlive
  4. Hit Return and something like below will appear

enter image description here

  1. Trash the folders with the years you no more want
  2. The system will ask for an administrator password, fill it in and click OK
  3. Check that the 2017 version still works good
  4. Empty trash
  5. Good bye old versions

Be sure to leave untouched the folders 2017 and texmf-local.

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