Installing Python 3 on Mac OS X¶
The latest version of Mac OS X, Sierra, comes with Python 2.7 out of the box.
You do not need to install or configure anything else to use Python 2. These instructions document the installation of Python 3.
The version of Python that ships with OS X is great for learning but it’s not good for development. The version shipped with OS X may be out of date from the official current Python release, which is considered the stable production version.
Doing it Right¶
Let’s install a real version of Python.
Before installing Python, you’ll need to install GCC. GCC can be obtained by downloading XCode, the smaller Command Line Tools (must have an Apple account) or the even smaller OSX-GCC-Installer package.
If you already have XCode installed, do not install OSX-GCC-Installer. In combination, the software can cause issues that are difficult to diagnose.
If you perform a fresh install of XCode, you will also need to add the
commandline tools by running
xcode-select --install on the terminal.
While OS X comes with a large number of UNIX utilities, those familiar with Linux systems will notice one key component missing: a package manager. Homebrew fills this void.
To install Homebrew, open
your favorite OSX terminal emulator and run
$ ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"
The script will explain what changes it will make and prompt you before the
Once you’ve installed Homebrew, insert the Homebrew directory at the top
PATH environment variable. You can do this by adding the following
line at the bottom of your
Now, we can install Python 3:
$ brew install python3
This will take a minute or two.
pip3 for you.
pip3 is the alias for the Python 3 version of
pip on systems with both
the Homebrew’d Python 2 and 3 installed.
Working with Python 3¶
At this point, you have the system Python 2.7 available, potentially the Homebrew version of Python 2 installed, and the Homebrew version of Python 3 as well.
will launch the Python 2 interpreter.
will launch the Python 3 interpreter
pip will both be available. If the Homebrew version of Python
2 is not installed, they will be the same. If the Homebrew version of Python 2
is installed then
pip will point to Python 2 and
pip3 will point to
A Virtual Environment (commonly referred to as a ‘virtualenv’) is a tool to keep the dependencies required by different projects in separate places, by creating virtual Python environments for them. It solves the “Project X depends on version 1.x but, Project Y needs 4.x” dilemma, and keeps your global site-packages directory clean and manageable.
For example, you can work on a project which requires Django 1.10 while also maintaining a project which requires Django 1.8.
To start using this and see more information: Virtual Environments docs.
This page is a remixed version of another guide, which is available under the same license.