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Deprecation Notice

Cider is no longer actively maintained, and has been superseded by a new tool,

Start with a clean slate

Cider is a simple wrapper for Homebrew and Homebrew Cask that allows you to save your setup across different machines. This lets you to restore a backup without having to deal with the mess that was the state of your previous installation, or painstakingly babysit the process step-by-step.

Simply run the following on a new machine:

git clone [YOUR_REPO] ~/.cider
cider restore

... and you'll be back up and running, with all of your applications and command line utilities re-installed (and configurations restored).

In addition to Homebrew, Cider also supports managing your user defaults, restoring symlinks, and running scripts to conveniently manage other settings such as your dotfiles.


Cider is available directly from PyPI:

pip install -U cider


All configuration files are stored in the ~/.cider directory as JSON. For instance, here's an example bootstrap file:

    "after-scripts": [
        "brew linkapps"
    "casks": [
    "formulas": [
        "macvim --overwrite-system-vi",
	"icons": {
		"iTerm": ""
	"symlinks": {
		"bash/.*": "~",
		"bin/*": "~/bin/",
		"git/.*": "~",
		"sh/.*": "~",
		"vim/.*": "~"
    "taps": [

User defaults are stored similarly:

    "NSGlobalDomain": {
        "ApplePressAndHoldEnabled": false
    "": {
        "tilesize": 48
    "com.iconfactor.mac.xScope": {
        "generalShowDockIcon": false

Cider also supports YAML if you'd like to add comments to either of these. To see how this works out in practice, feel free to take a look at my dotfiles.

Backup your existing setup

To save the state of your existing setup:

cider missing
cider tap missing
cider cask missing

Manage symlinks

Cider supports the following commands to manage symlinks (inspired in part by GNU Stow).

cider addlink NAME ITEM...
cider relink # (invoked automatically by restore)

For example, cider addlink git ~/.gitconfig will move ~/.gitconfig to ~/.cider/symlinks/git/, create a link back to its original location, and add an entry to your bootstrap denoting this:

"symlinks": {
    "git/.*": "~"

To undo this change, simply run cider unlink git.

Directories in targets are automatically expanded, so the entry "bin/*": "~/bin/" will first create the directory ~/bin/ if it doesn't exist already, and then link all items in symlinks/bin/* to children of that directory.


There doesn't seem to be a way to re-install purchases made from Mac App Store via the command line just yet, so those have to be done by hand.

Note: Cider is a work-in-progress, but it's well-tested and should be kind to your machine.