Eric Python For Mac

The official home of the Python Programming Language. Python Releases for Mac OS X. Latest Python 3 Release - Python 3.8.6; Latest Python 2 Release - Python 2.7.18; Stable Releases. Python 3.8.6 - Sept. Download macOS 64-bit installer; Python 3.8.6rc1 - Sept. Price: US $ 199 per User – 1st year for Professional Developer. Platform Support. When comparing the size of a directory with Unix and python, I have slightly different results (5% smaller with 'disk usage'). (all my subfolders are readable; I work under Mac OSX Mountain lion, python version 2.7.2) Here is my code.


Bob Savage <>


Python on a Macintosh running Mac OS X is in principle very similar to Python onany other Unix platform, but there are a number of additional features such asthe IDE and the Package Manager that are worth pointing out.

4.1. Getting and Installing MacPython¶

Mac OS X 10.8 comes with Python 2.7 pre-installed by Apple. If you wish, youare invited to install the most recent version of Python 3 from the Pythonwebsite ( A current “universal binary” build of Python,which runs natively on the Mac’s new Intel and legacy PPC CPU’s, is availablethere.

What you get after installing is a number of things:

  • A Python3.9 folder in your Applications folder. In hereyou find IDLE, the development environment that is a standard part of officialPython distributions; and PythonLauncher, which handles double-clicking Pythonscripts from the Finder.

  • A framework /Library/Frameworks/Python.framework, which includes thePython executable and libraries. The installer adds this location to your shellpath. To uninstall MacPython, you can simply remove these three things. Asymlink to the Python executable is placed in /usr/local/bin/.

The Apple-provided build of Python is installed in/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework and /usr/bin/python,respectively. You should never modify or delete these, as they areApple-controlled and are used by Apple- or third-party software. Remember thatif you choose to install a newer Python version from, you will havetwo different but functional Python installations on your computer, so it willbe important that your paths and usages are consistent with what you want to do.

IDLE includes a help menu that allows you to access Python documentation. If youare completely new to Python you should start reading the tutorial introductionin that document.

If you are familiar with Python on other Unix platforms you should read thesection on running Python scripts from the Unix shell.

4.1.1. How to run a Python script¶


Your best way to get started with Python on Mac OS X is through the IDLEintegrated development environment, see section The IDE and use the Help menuwhen the IDE is running.

If you want to run Python scripts from the Terminal window command line or fromthe Finder you first need an editor to create your script. Mac OS X comes with anumber of standard Unix command line editors, vim andemacs among them. If you want a more Mac-like editor,BBEdit or TextWrangler from Bare Bones Software (see are good choices, as isTextMate (see Other editors includeGvim ( and Aquamacs(

To run your script from the Terminal window you must make sure that/usr/local/bin is in your shell search path.

To run your script from the Finder you have two options:

  • Drag it to PythonLauncher

  • Select PythonLauncher as the default application to open yourscript (or any .py script) through the finder Info window and double-click it.PythonLauncher has various preferences to control how your script islaunched. Option-dragging allows you to change these for one invocation, or useits Preferences menu to change things globally.

4.1.2. Running scripts with a GUI¶

With older versions of Python, there is one Mac OS X quirk that you need to beaware of: programs that talk to the Aqua window manager (in other words,anything that has a GUI) need to be run in a special way. Use pythonwinstead of python to start such scripts.

With Python 3.9, you can use either python or pythonw.

4.1.3. Configuration¶

Python on OS X honors all standard Unix environment variables such asPYTHONPATH, but setting these variables for programs started from theFinder is non-standard as the Finder does not read your .profile or.cshrc at startup. You need to create a file~/.MacOSX/environment.plist. See Apple’s Technical Document QA1067 fordetails.

For more information on installation Python packages in MacPython, see sectionInstalling Additional Python Packages.

4.2. The IDE¶

MacPython ships with the standard IDLE development environment. A goodintroduction to using IDLE can be found at

4.3. Installing Additional Python Packages¶

There are several methods to install additional Python packages:

  • Packages can be installed via the standard Python distutils mode (pythonsetup.pyinstall).

  • Many packages can also be installed via the setuptools extensionor pip wrapper, see

4.4. GUI Programming on the Mac¶

There are several options for building GUI applications on the Mac with Python.

PyObjC is a Python binding to Apple’s Objective-C/Cocoa framework, which isthe foundation of most modern Mac development. Information on PyObjC isavailable from

The standard Python GUI toolkit is tkinter, based on the cross-platformTk toolkit ( An Aqua-native version of Tk is bundled with OSX by Apple, and the latest version can be downloaded and installed from; it can also be built from source.

wxPython is another popular cross-platform GUI toolkit that runs natively onMac OS X. Packages and documentation are available from

PyQt is another popular cross-platform GUI toolkit that runs natively on MacOS X. More information can be found at

4.5. Distributing Python Applications on the Mac¶

The standard tool for deploying standalone Python applications on the Mac ispy2app. More information on installing and using py2app can be foundat

4.6. Other Resources¶

The MacPython mailing list is an excellent support resource for Python users anddevelopers on the Mac:

Another useful resource is the MacPython wiki:

Text Editors¶

Just about anything that can edit plain text will work for writing Python code;however, using a more powerful editor may make your life a bit easier.


Vim is a text editor which uses keyboard shortcuts for editing instead of menusor icons. There are a couple of plugins and settings for the Vim editor toaid Python development. If you only develop in Python, a good start is to setthe default settings for indentation and line-wrapping to values compliant withPEP 8. In your home directory, open a file called .vimrc and add thefollowing lines:

With these settings, newlines are inserted after 79 characters and indentationis set to 4 spaces per tab. If you also use Vim for other languages, there is ahandy plugin called indent, which handles indentation settings for Pythonsource files.

There is also a handy syntax plugin called syntax featuring some improvementsover the syntax file included in Vim 6.1.

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These plugins supply you with a basic environment for developing in Python. Toget the most out of Vim, you should continually check your code for syntaxerrors and PEP8 compliance. Luckily pycodestyle and Pyflakes will do thisfor you. If your Vim is compiled with +python you can also utilize somevery handy plugins to do these checks from within the editor.

For PEP8 checking and pyflakes, you can install vim-flake8. Now you can map thefunction Flake8 to any hotkey or action you want in Vim. The plugin willdisplay errors at the bottom of the screen, and provide an easy way to jump tothe corresponding line. It’s very handy to call this function whenever you savea file. In order to do this, add the following line to your.vimrc:

If you are already using syntastic, you can set it to run Pyflakes on writeand show errors and warnings in the quickfix window. An example configurationto do that which also shows status and warning messages in the statusbar wouldbe:


Python-mode is a complex solution for working with Python code in Vim.It has:

  • Asynchronous Python code checking (pylint, pyflakes, pycodestyle, mccabe) in any combination
  • Code refactoring and autocompletion with Rope
  • Fast Python folding
  • Virtualenv support
  • Search through Python documentation and run Python code
  • Auto pycodestyle error fixes

And more.


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SuperTab is a small Vim plugin that makes code completion more convenient byusing <Tab> key or any other customized keys.


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Emacs is another powerful text editor. It is fully programmable (Lisp), butit can be some work to wire up correctly. A good start if you’re already anEmacs user is Python Programming in Emacs at EmacsWiki.

  1. Emacs itself comes with a Python mode.


TextMate brings Apple’s approach to operatingsystems into the world of text editors. By bridging Unix underpinnings andGUI, TextMate cherry-picks the best of both worlds to the benefit of expertscripters and novice users alike.

Sublime Text¶

Sublime Text is a sophisticated texteditor for code, markup, and prose. You’ll love the slick user interface,extraordinary features, and amazing performance.

Sublime Text has excellent support for editing Python code and uses Python forits plugin API. It also has a diverse variety of plugins,some of which allow forin-editor PEP8 checking and code “linting”.


Atom is a hackable text editor for the 21st century,built on atom-shell, and based on everything we love about our favoriteeditors.

Atom is web native (HTML, CSS, JS), focusing on modular design and easy plugindevelopment. It comes with native package control and a plethora of packages.Recommended for Python development isLinter combined withlinter-flake8.

Python (on Visual Studio Code)¶

Python for Visual Studio is an extension for the Visual Studio Code.This is a free, lightweight, open source code editor, with support for Mac, Windows, and Linux.Built using open source technologies such as Node.js and Python, with compelling features such as Intellisense (autocompletion), local and remote debugging, linting, and the like.

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MIT licensed.