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Python is a popular programming language widely used by beginners and advanced developers. Modern versions of Mac OS have Python 2.7.x installed (or Python 2.6.1 if you have an older version of Mac OS X), but many Python users may need to upgrade to a later version of Mac OS, such as Python 3.8.x or later. .
This article discusses getting an updated Python 3 installation on your Mac by covering two different ways to quickly and easily install Python 3 on your Mac.
Note that we said that you are installing Python 3, not upgrading to Python 3, because how it works, it will install Python 3 while maintaining Python 2 on a Mac. This is necessary because apparently some Mac applications rely on Python 2 support, so if you try to upgrade from Python 2.x to Python 3.x on Mac OS, you will eventually find that something is broken, perhaps critically. In this sense, you should not try to upgrade an existing pre-installed Python release on a Mac, you just have to co-install Python 3 to ensure full compatibility.
And yes, Python 3 and Python 2 can co-exist on a Mac without conflicts, the operating commands are just a little different.
Installing updated Python 3 on Mac OS
Perhaps the easiest way to install Python 3 is to use the Python package installer from python.org
- Go to the Python.org download page here and download the latest Python installer
- Run the Python installation package and install Python 3 on your Mac
Python 3.8.x requires about 100 MB of disk space for installation. Installation is quick, and you have Python 3.x alongside Python 2.x on your Mac.
Once Python 3 is installed, you will find the Python3 folder in the Mac / Applications directory. You will also find a simple IDLE file called IDE in the / Applications / MacPython3 / directory, which will give you basically the same Python IDE that you would encounter if you ran ‘python3’ on the command line in Terminal.
You can also install Python 3.x on your Mac via Homebrew, which is the most popular way as a Homebrew user.
How to install Python 3.8 with Homebrew
Installing an updated version of Python 3.8 (at the time of writing) is very easy with HomeBrew. Of course, you need to install Homebrew on your Mac before you can use the Homebrew method, but if you’re interested in mixing with Python, Homebrew will probably please you anyway.
Assuming you already have Homebrew, if you don’t have one, you can read here how to install Homebrew on Mac OS.
To install the latest version of Python 3 using Homebrew, enter the following script:
brew installation python3
Once the updated Python 3 is installed on your Mac, you can use it in the following ways:
Whether you install an updated Python 3 package installer or Homebrew software, the default version of Python 2.7 preinstalled with Mac OS and Mac OS X will still be installed, completely intact, and can always be run with a simple python command.
How to check which version of Python is currently installed on Mac OS
When you type the following command, Terminal tells you which version of Python is currently installed:
In MacOS, you will typically find some variations of Python 2.7.x, either 2.7.4 or 2.7.10 or similar.
After installing Python using Homebrew or the package installer, you can check for an updated new version of Python in the following ways:
And as mentioned earlier, both Python installations exist without conflict.
You can also find out where each version of python is installed with the ‘what’ or ‘where’ command:
Note that some aspects of Python are different in each version, and even features like a simple simple Python web server trick differ from version 2 to version If you plan to use something long-term or generally learn, it’s better to write in Python 3.x for older Python instead of x publications.
So now that Python 3 is installed, you’re ready to move on!
Learning Python and Python resources
If you are new to Python and programming in general, there are several good resources to get started.
If you enjoy learning about the book, the following are popular options (these are affiliate links to Amazon):
- Learning Python – O’Reilly
- Python crash course: a hands-on, project-based demonstration of programming
- Automate boring stuff with Python: Practical programming for beginners
You can also check out free online courses, including these from MIT:
- edX: MIT Learn a Python course
- MIT: Introduction to Computer Science course
Or you can also check out the extensive Python Wiki resource page here.
TLDR: Do not upgrade Python 2.x to Python 3.x, just install Python 3.x on Mac
TLDR: Don’t upgrade pre-installed Python 2.x to Python 3.x, it will probably break something by doing. Instead, just install and run the updated Python 3 separately.
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