How to install Python on macOS with brew?

How to install Python on macOS with brew?

Welcome to this tutorial on installing Python on macOS using Homebrew. If you’re looking to get started with Python on your Mac, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will take you through the steps needed to install Python, a highly popular and versatile programming language, using Homebrew, the widely-used package manager for macOS. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just starting out, this tutorial, tailored to the codedamn community, will help you set up your Python environment efficiently and effectively.


Python’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, thanks to its simplicity and versatility. It is used in web development, data science, artificial intelligence, and much more. Having Python installed on your macOS not only opens doors to a multitude of programming opportunities but also simplifies the development process.

Homebrew, on the other hand, is a free and open-source software package management system that simplifies the installation of software on Apple’s macOS operating system. Think of it as a tool that makes it incredibly easy to install and manage software on your Mac.


Before we dive into the installation process, there are a few prerequisites you should have in place. Firstly, ensure that your macOS is up to date. This tutorial is compatible with macOS Catalina and later versions. You’ll also need administrative rights to your machine, as some steps in the installation process require admin permissions.

Familiarity with the macOS command line interface (CLI) is also beneficial. If you’re new to the command line, don’t worry – I’ll guide you through each step.

Installing Homebrew

To install Homebrew, open the Terminal application on your Mac. You can find it in the Applications folder under Utilities. Once you have Terminal open, paste the following command:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

This command downloads and runs the Homebrew installation script. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation. To verify that Homebrew has been installed successfully, run:

brew doctor

If you see a message saying “Your system is ready to brew,” you’re good to go!

Understanding Homebrew

Homebrew is an essential tool for developers working on macOS. It simplifies the process of installing, updating, and managing software packages on your Mac. Some common Homebrew commands you might find useful are:

  • brew install [package]: Installs the specified package.
  • brew update: Updates Homebrew and all installed packages.
  • brew upgrade: Upgrades all outdated packages.

Installing Python with Brew

Now that Homebrew is installed, you can easily install Python. Open the Terminal and run the following command:

brew install python

This command installs the latest stable version of Python. After the installation is complete, you can check the Python version by running:

python3 --version

Post-Installation Steps

Once Python is installed, it’s important to verify the installation and set up the necessary tools. The first thing to check is pip, Python’s package installer. You can check if pip is installed by running:

pip3 --version

If pip3 is installed, you should see the version number in the output. Next, you might want to configure your environment variables. This step ensures that your system recognizes the Python and pip commands correctly.

Using Python with Homebrew

With Python installed, you can now access the Python interpreter by simply typing python3 in the Terminal. To install Python packages, use pip3, like so:

pip3 install [package-name]

Managing different Python versions is also straightforward with Homebrew. You can search for available versions with brew search python, and switch between versions using brew switch python [version].

Congratulations! You’ve successfully installed Python on your macOS using Homebrew. With this setup, you’re ready to dive into the world of Python programming. Whether you’re working on a personal project or exploring new libraries, your Python journey starts here. Happy coding!

Troubleshooting Common Issues

When installing Python via Homebrew, you may face several common issues. One such problem is the dreaded “Permission Denied” error. This usually occurs when Homebrew does not have the necessary permissions to write to the /usr/local directory. To resolve this, you can reclaim ownership of the directory with:

sudo chown -R $(whoami) /usr/local/*

If you encounter an error related to linking, running brew link python can sometimes result in a message that the command could not link Python. This can be addressed by forcibly linking with:

brew link --overwrite python

Uninstalling and reinstalling Python on macOS can often clear up any lingering issues. To uninstall Python installed via Homebrew, use:

brew uninstall python

And then to reinstall, simply use:

brew install python

Updating Python through Homebrew to keep up with the latest version is straightforward:

brew update && brew upgrade python

FAQ Section

Q: How do I ensure I’m using the Python version installed by Homebrew?
A: Verify the Python version with python --version. If it doesn’t show the Homebrew-installed version, adjust your PATH in .bash_profile or .zshrc to include /usr/local/bin.

Q: How can I switch between multiple Python versions?
A: Use pyenv to manage multiple versions. Install it via Homebrew and switch versions with pyenv global 3.x.x or pyenv local 3.x.x for project-specific versions.

Q: What should I do if my Python installation is slow?
A: Check for any issues with Homebrew’s setup with brew doctor and ensure you have a stable internet connection. If the problem persists, consider installing Python from the official installer package.

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