How to set Python default version to 3.x on macOS

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to update your Mac’s default version of Python from 2.x to 3.x.

If Python 3.X is already installed on your system, even if it’s not the default version, then you should be able to run version 3.X using the python3 command in your Terminal. But in this tutorial, I’ll be showing you how you can run version 3.X using the default python command.

Step 0: Install Homebrew

Homebrew is a very popular package manager for macOS. If you don’t already have it installed, you can install it by running this command:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/HEAD/install.sh)"

Step 1: Install Python with Homebrew

This command will Python 3.

brew install python

Step 2:

Next, we’ll check the symlinks for Python 3.x. A symlink or a Symbolic Link is simply enough a shortcut to another file.

ls -l /usr/local/bin/python*

This should output something like the following:

Look at the first line. It shows default python being symlinked to the brew installed python3. If it does not show this exactly, then set it as the default python symlink run the following:

ln -s -f /usr/local/bin/python3 /usr/local/bin/python

You should probably run this command just to be sure. Run ls -l /usr/local/bin/python* again and make sure you have the desired output.

Step 3: Verify Python 3.X install

Run the following command to see which executable Python binary will launch when you issue a python command to the shell:

which python

The output should be this: /usr/local/bin/python

Finally, check if the default Python version has changed:

python --version

The terminal should output the newest version of Python 3.x. For me, it is Python 3.9.7.

That’s it! Hope this helps.