Setting up a Python Development Environment on a Mac

Here’s how you can setup a Python development environment on a Mac, the easy way!

Updated September 21, 2023

Hello and welcome to Python Help!

Today, we’re going to talk about how to set up a Python environment on a Mac. Macs are a popular choice for developers and data scientists, and setting up a Python environment on a Mac is a crucial step for anyone who wants to start learning or developing with Python.

Here’s how to get started:

Check if Python is already installed:

Macs come with Python pre-installed, so the first step is to check if Python is already installed on your system.

Open a terminal and type

python --version

to check if Python is installed and which version it is.

Install a package manager:

To manage dependencies and packages, it’s recommended to install a package manager. Homebrew is a popular choice for Mac users, as it provides a simple and easy way to install and manage packages. To install Homebrew, open a terminal and run the command:

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

Install Python:

If you don’t have Python installed or you want to install a different version of Python, you can use Homebrew to install it.

To install Python 3, run the command

brew install python3.

You can also install Python 2 if needed, by running the command

brew install python@2.

Set up a virtual environment:

To manage dependencies and isolate your Python environment from your system environment, it’s recommended to set up a virtual environment. This can be done using the “venv” module that comes with Python 3.

To create a new virtual environment, open a terminal and navigate to the directory where you want to create the environment.

Then, run the command

python3 -m venv myenv

to create a new virtual environment named myenv.

You can activate the virtual environment by running the command

source myenv/bin/activate.

Install packages:

Once you have your virtual environment set up, you can install packages using pip, the Python package manager. To install a package, activate your virtual environment and run the command “pip install package_name”. For example, to install the NumPy package, you would run “pip install numpy”.

Test your Python installation:

To make sure that your Python installation is working correctly, open a terminal and activate your virtual environment.

Then, run the command python --version to check the version of Python that is being used.

You can also run a simple Python program to make sure that everything is working as expected.

Enjoy coding in Python on a Mac!

And that’s it! With these steps, you should now have a working Python environment on your Mac. From here, you can start learning Python or developing your own Python applications. Good luck, and happy coding!