Installing and Mintaining Python on MacOS

This is part of a larger series on installing and maintaining. To view the previous post, click here.

Maintaining Python on MacOS requires some manual work. The Python installation that Apple includes and maintains as part of MacOS isn’t really suitable for development. So if you only care about running Python applications, you probably won’t need to do anything except check the documentation for that program.

Developers will need to install a Python development, effectively. Python isn’t distributed in different packages, so you don’t need to worry about anything but which version you need. Start by going to the official Python archive.

Click the download link for whichever version you want. As for which version, Python 2 or Python 3, that is entirely up to you. The development community generally recommends developing future projects with Python 3. Python 2 is still maintained with new versions for legacy support.

When you click the download link, you’ll be taken to a page to select the version for your OS. Obviously, click the link for your OS.

For MacOS, you’ll download a PKG file. You might be more familiar with downloading DMG files. A PKG is similar except that a makes changes to your system. You DO NOT drag a PKG to your Applications folder. Simply double-click the PKG file.

You’ll be presented with the installer telling you which version will be installed. Click Continue.

When you click Continue, you’ll be presented with the license agreement. I leave it to your judgement on whether you want to accept it. Clicking Continue again will advance the installation process.

The installer will then ask you to explicitly accept the license agreement. Again, this is entirely your call. To continue with the installation click Agree.

If you accept the license agreement, you’ll be presented with the storage space needed for the installation. Click Install to continue.

Because the installer will make major changes to your system, MacOS will ask for your administrator password to continue. This is, again, your decision. If you want to continue, you will need to enter your password and click Install Software.

With the Admin password entered, the installer is allowed to continue and you’ll see a progress meter.

Once the installer finishes, click Close to close the installer.

You’ll be asked if you want to keep or delete the installer. Either Keep or Move to Trash closes the window.

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