How to Install Python 3 on Mac OS

August 22, 2019  3 minute read  

Check out the steps below to install Python 3 on Mac OSX.

How to download Python3

You can download Python 3 by downloading from official Python website or using Homebrew package manager for macOS .

Python Official Site

1) Open up Python official download site. It looks something like the image below. Press Download Python 3.7.4 or the version you would like to download.

Python Official Site

2) After downloading the installer, open it to install Python 3.

Python 3.7.4 Installer

Python 3.7.4 installer Read Me contains the following note about Python 3 and Python 2 Co-existence. Thus, to run Python 3, you can run Python3 or Python3.X.X (a specific version that you installed on your machine). To run Python 2, you can run Python or Python2.7.

Python 3 and Python 2 Co-existence Python 3.7 and 2.7.x versions can both be installed on your system 
and will not conflict. Command names for Python 3 contain a 3 in them, python3 
(or python3.7), idle3 (or idle3.7), pip3 (or pip3.7), etc.  Python 2.7 command 
names contain a 2 or no digit: python2 (or python2.7 or python), idle2 (or 
idle2.7 or idle), etc.

Installing Python 3.7.4

3) Remove Python installer when you are done installing

Remove Python Installer After Installing

4) Run python3 --version to check if Python 3 is installed.

python3 --version
# Python 3.7.4

If you install Python 3.7.X, you can also check its version using this command:

python3.7 --version
# Python 3.7.4


Another way to install Python 3 on Mac OS is using Homebrew package manager.

1) If you don’t have Homebrew install, you can install Homebrew by following the steps on Homebrew site. You can also use the following command to install Homebrew by copy and pasting it onto your terminal.

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

2) To install the latest version of Python 3, run the command below.

brew install python3

If you already have the latest Python installed, you will see something like the message below.

brew install python3
Updating Homebrew...
==> Auto-updated Homebrew!
Updated 1 tap (homebrew/core).
==> Updated Formulae
sbcl                                     yosys

Warning: python 3.7.4 is already installed and up-to-date
To reinstall 3.7.4, run `brew reinstall python`

3) Run python3 --version to check if Python 3 is installed.

python3 --version
# Python 3.7.4

If you install Python 3.7.X, you can also check its version using this command:

python3.7 --version
# Python 3.7.4

Python 3 Shell

To open Python 3 shell from terminal, you can run Python 3.

Python 3.7.4 (v3.7.4:e09359112e, Jul  8 2019, 14:54:52) 
[Clang 6.0 (clang-600.0.57)] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for 
more information.
>>> import time
>>> time.ctime()
'Thu Aug 22 20:00:00 2019'
>>> exit()

To close Python shell, you can type in exit(). The hotkeys to close it is to press Ctrl and D simultaneously.
Note that Command and D splits your Python shell view.

Note that you can still access Python 2 by running python command.

Python 3 Package Manager Pip3

Python 3 comes with its own package manager pip3. You can check out Python Package Index to look for packages that you need.

To install a package using pip, you can run pip3 install package_name.

Switch between Python 3 Versions

Python Official Site

The easier way is to download multiple versions from Python official website and run Python command with a version appeneded such as python3.7 and python3.6.


If you have previous versions of Python installed, you can run the following commands to check what versions you have and switch the version you need.

# list installed Python versions
brew info python

# switch to a specific Python version
brew switch python 3.6.5

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