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How to update python version on MacOS

Today I will explain how to install the Python 3 update on a Mac in two different ways.

Note that I mean “install update” rather than “upgrade”, since Python 2 will remain on the Mac with this method. Some Mac programs require Python 2, and when upgrading they may start to malfunction or stop working altogether. Therefore, we will not update the installed version, but install Python 3 in parallel. Python 3 and Python 2 can coexist on the same Mac without conflicts, just the commands will differ slightly.

How to install Python 3 in macOS with Installer

The easiest way is to download the Python installer from the python.org website.

  • Visit Python.org and download the latest available Python installer file;
How to install Python 3 in macOS with Installer
  • Run the downloaded file and install Python 3.x on Mac.
  • Python 3.6.x requires about 100MB of available disk space. The installation process is very fast;
  • When Python 3 is installed, you will see the Python3 folder in /Applications on your Mac. You will also see IDLE in the /Applications.

Next method will show you how to install Python 3.x on a Mac through Homebrew.

How to install Python 3 using Homebrew

Installing an updated version of Python 3 through Homebrew is extremely simple. Of course, Homebrew should be installed on your computer, however, if you are interested in this method, then you probably have already used the program more than once.

If you haven’t Homebrew in your system, you can take script for Homebrew installing here. This script installs Homebrew to /usr/local so that you don’t need “sudo” when you brew install. It is a careful script; it can be run even if you have stuff installed to /usr/local already. It tells you exactly what it will do before it does it too. You have to confirm everything it will do before it starts.

How to install Python 3 using Homebrew

Now to install Python 3 via Homebrew, run the following command in Terminal:

brew install python3

When Python 3 is installed on a Mac, you can start the program with:


In any case, after installing Python 3 on a computer, the version of Python 2.7 will still remain on it, and you will be able to use it.

How to Find out the Installed Version of Python

Open the Terminal program and use the following command:

python --version

In most cases, Python 2.7.x will be installed on macOS: either 2.7.4 or 2.7.10.

If you installed the Python update, you can check the version with the following command:

python3 --version

Once again, both versions of Python can coexist without conflicts.

Note: Once again, I want to remind you that you do not need to upgrade Python 2.x to Python 3.x, because this can lead to program malfunctions. Just install the updated version in parallel.