Easily Upgrade Python on Your Mac: A Simple Guide

Easily Upgrade Python on Your Mac: A Simple Guide

MoeNagy Dev

Checking Your Current Python Version

To check the version of Python currently installed on your Mac, you'll need to access the Terminal application. The Terminal is a command-line interface that allows you to interact with your computer's operating system directly.

  1. Open the Terminal application. You can find it in the Utilities folder of your Applications directory.

  2. In the Terminal window, type the following command and press Enter:

    python --version

    This command will display the version of Python installed on your system. The output should look something like this:

    Python 3.9.5

    If you see a different version number, then that's the version of Python currently installed on your Mac.

Downloading the Latest Python Version

To download the latest version of Python, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the official Python website at (opens in a new tab).

  2. In the "Downloads" section, locate the link for the latest macOS installer. This will typically be the first option in the list.

  3. Click the download link to start the download process. The file should be named something like "python-3.10.0-macos11.pkg" (the version number may vary).

Installing the New Python Version

  1. Once the download is complete, locate the installer file in your Downloads folder and double-click it to launch the installation process.

  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation. This may involve accepting the license agreement, choosing the installation location, and providing your system password.

  3. After the installation is complete, open the Terminal application again and run the python --version command to verify that the new Python version is installed correctly.

    python --version

    The output should now show the newly installed Python version.

Managing Multiple Python Versions

It's common for developers to have multiple versions of Python installed on their systems, as different projects or libraries may require specific versions. To manage these multiple versions, you can use a tool called pyenv.

Installing pyenv

  1. Open the Terminal application.

  2. Install pyenv using Homebrew, a popular package manager for macOS. Run the following command:

    brew install pyenv

    This will install pyenv on your system.

Using pyenv to Manage Python Versions

  1. To list all the available Python versions that you can install, run the following command:

    pyenv install --list

    This will display a list of all the Python versions you can install using pyenv.

  2. To install a specific version of Python, use the following command:

    pyenv install 3.10.0

    Replace 3.10.0 with the version number you want to install.

  3. To switch between different Python versions, use the pyenv global command:

    pyenv global 3.10.0

    This will set the global Python version to 3.10.0. You can also set the Python version for a specific directory or project using the pyenv local command.

Configuring the Default Python Version

After managing multiple Python versions with pyenv, you can set the system-wide default Python version using the following command:

pyenv global 3.10.0

This will make Python 3.10.0 the default version used in your terminal sessions and for any new projects you create.

If you want to set the default Python version for a specific project or directory, you can use the pyenv local command:

cd /path/to/your/project
pyenv local 3.9.7

This will create a .python-version file in the project directory, which will ensure that the correct Python version is used whenever you navigate to that directory.

Updating Existing Python Packages

When you upgrade to a new version of Python, you'll likely need to update any third-party packages or libraries you have installed. You can use the pip package manager to update all your installed packages or specific packages.

  1. To update all installed packages, run the following command:

    pip freeze | xargs pip install -U

    This will update all packages to their latest compatible versions.

  2. To update a specific package, use the following command:

    pip install --upgrade <package_name>

    Replace <package_name> with the name of the package you want to update.

Data Structures


Lists are ordered collections of items. They can store elements of different data types, including numbers, strings, and even other data structures like lists, dictionaries, and tuples. Here's an example:

my_list = [1, 'hello', 3.14, [4, 5, 6]]
print(my_list)  # Output: [1, 'hello', 3.14, [4, 5, 6]]

You can access elements in a list using their index, which starts at 0. Negative indices can be used to access elements from the end of the list.

print(my_list[1])  # Output: 'hello'
print(my_list[-1])  # Output: [4, 5, 6]

Lists have a variety of built-in methods for manipulating their contents, such as append(), insert(), remove(), and sort().


Tuples are similar to lists, but they are immutable, meaning their elements cannot be modified after they are created. Tuples are defined using parentheses instead of square brackets.

my_tuple = (1, 'hello', 3.14)
print(my_tuple[1])  # Output: 'hello'

Tuples are often used to return multiple values from a function, as they can hold different data types.

def get_person_info():
    name = "Alice"
    age = 30
    return name, age
person_name, person_age = get_person_info()
print(person_name)  # Output: 'Alice'
print(person_age)   # Output: 30


Dictionaries are unordered collections of key-value pairs. They are defined using curly braces {}, with each key-value pair separated by a colon.

person = {
    "name": "Alice",
    "age": 30,
    "city": "New York"
print(person["name"])  # Output: 'Alice'
print(person["age"])   # Output: 30

You can add, modify, and remove key-value pairs in a dictionary using their keys.

person["occupation"] = "Software Engineer"
person["age"] = 31
del person["city"]
print(person)  # Output: {'name': 'Alice', 'age': 31, 'occupation': 'Software Engineer'}

Dictionaries are commonly used to represent complex data structures, such as user profiles, product catalogs, or configuration settings.


Sets are unordered collections of unique elements. They are defined using curly braces {}, similar to dictionaries, but without key-value pairs.

colors = {"red", "green", "blue"}
print("red" in colors)  # Output: True
print("yellow" in colors)  # Output: False

Sets are useful for removing duplicate elements, performing set operations (union, intersection, difference), and checking membership.

unique_numbers = {1, 2, 3, 2, 4, 5}
print(unique_numbers)  # Output: {1, 2, 3, 4, 5}

Control Flow

Conditional Statements

Python's if-elif-else statements allow you to execute different blocks of code based on certain conditions.

x = 10
if x > 0:
elif x < 0:

You can also use the ternary operator, which is a shorthand way of writing a simple if-else statement.

age = 18
is_adult = "Yes" if age >= 18 else "No"
print(is_adult)  # Output: "Yes"


Python provides two main loop constructs: for loops and while loops.

for loops are used to iterate over sequences (like lists, tuples, or strings).

fruits = ["apple", "banana", "cherry"]
for fruit in fruits:

while loops execute a block of code as long as a certain condition is true.

count = 0
while count < 5:
    count += 1

You can use the break and continue statements to control the flow of your loops.

for i in range(10):
    if i == 5:
    print(i)  # Output: 0 1 2 3 4
for j in range(10):
    if j % 2 == 0:
    print(j)  # Output: 1 3 5 7 9


Functions are reusable blocks of code that perform a specific task. They can take arguments and return values.

def greet(name):
    return f"Hello, {name}!"
greeting = greet("Alice")
print(greeting)  # Output: "Hello, Alice!"

You can also define default parameter values and use keyword arguments.

def calculate_area(length, width=1):
    return length * width
area1 = calculate_area(5, 3)  # area1 = 15
area2 = calculate_area(4)    # area2 = 4

Functions can also be recursive, meaning they can call themselves to solve a problem.

def factorial(n):
    if n == 0:
        return 1
        return n * factorial(n-1)
print(factorial(5))  # Output: 120

Modules and Packages

Python's standard library provides a wide range of built-in modules that you can use in your programs. You can also create your own modules and packages to organize your code.

import math
print(math.pi)  # Output: 3.141592653589793

You can also import specific functions or attributes from a module.

from math import sqrt, floor
print(sqrt(16))  # Output: 4.0
print(floor(3.14))  # Output: 3

Packages are collections of modules organized in a directory structure. You can create your own packages to better structure your project.


Exception Handling

Python's exception handling mechanism allows you to handle and manage errors that may occur during the execution of your program.

    result = 10 / 0
except ZeroDivisionError:
    print("Error: Division by zero")

You can also handle multiple exceptions and use the else and finally clauses.

    num = int(input("Enter a number: "))
    print(10 / num)
except ValueError:
    print("Error: Invalid input")
except ZeroDivisionError:
    print("Error: Division by zero")
    print("No exceptions occurred")
    print("This block will always execute")

File I/O

Python provides built-in functions for reading from and writing to files.

with open("example.txt", "w") as file:
    file.write("Hello, file!")
with open("example.txt", "r") as file:
    content =
    print(content)  # Output: "Hello, file!"

The with statement ensures that the file is properly closed after the block of code is executed, even if an exception occurs.


In this comprehensive Python tutorial, we have covered a wide range of topics, including data structures, control flow, functions, modules and packages, exception handling, and file I/O. By now, you should have a solid understanding of the fundamental concepts and tools available in Python, which will enable you to start building your own Python applications. Remember, the best way to improve your Python skills is to practice, experiment, and continuously learn. Good luck on your Python journey!

MoeNagy Dev