How to Uninstall Python on Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide

Uninstalling Python from a Mac requires a careful approach, as multiple versions of Python can exist on your system simultaneously. Python is a popular programming language and comes pre-installed on macOS. However, users might install additional versions for various projects. This guide will walk you through the steps to uninstall Python safely, ensuring your system remains stable and functional.

Understanding Python on macOS

macOS comes with Python installed by default, usually Python 2.7 or Python 3, depending on the version of macOS. The pre-installed Python is used by the system for its operations and should not be removed. However, any Python versions you’ve installed manually can and sometimes should be uninstalled, especially if they are outdated or no longer needed.

Identifying Python Versions Installed

First, you need to know which versions of Python are installed on your Mac. Open the Terminal (found in Applications > Utilities) and type the following command to list all installed Python versions excluding the macOS default version:

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

Steps to Uninstall Python

When uninstalling Python, you’ll be dealing mainly with versions you installed manually. Here are the step-by-step instructions:

1. Remove Python Binaries

Open Terminal and carefully delete the Python binaries. Replace “” with the version number you wish to uninstall. For example, for Python 3.7, you would use:

cd /usr/local/bin/
ls -l /usr/local/bin | grep '/python'
sudo rm -rf /usr/local/bin/python*

This command removes the Python executables. Make sure not to delete the system Python binaries.

2. Delete Python Files and Directories

Python installations create several files and directories in your system. These could include scripts, libraries, and documentation. To completely remove Python, you need to delete these files:

  • Python directories in /Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/
  • Python applications directory in /Applications/Python /

Use the following commands, replacing “” with the correct version of Python to completely remove its directories:

sudo rm -rf /Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/
sudo rm -rf /Applications/Python 

3. Unlink Python from PATH

The PATH variable is a system variable that tells the shell where to look for executable files. You might need to remove the Python path from it. Edit .bash_profile, .zshrc, or .profile located in the home directory (~) and remove any lines related to the Python version you’ve just uninstalled.

4. Check for and Remove Any Remaining References

Lastly, do a final check to ensure no references to the uninstalled Python version remain:

which python

If this command returns a path, you should delete the reference using sudo rm.

Recommended Links for Further Information

  • Python for macOS: Official Python downloads for Mac users, useful for understanding what you might need to reinstall after removal.
  • Apple Support: For issues related to the macOS system Python, Apple’s official support page is the best place to go.
  • Homebrew: A package manager for macOS that makes installing and uninstalling Python versions easier.
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Python: Provides a comprehensive guide to installing Python on macOS, including setting up virtual environments.


Whether you’re cleaning up system space, resolving version conflicts, or preparing for a fresh Python install, carefully uninstalling Python on your Mac is crucial. Follow each step diligently to ensure your system remains stable. Remember, do not remove the system’s built-in Python version as it could affect macOS functionalities.

For those who frequently need to switch between Python versions, using a version manager like pyenv might be beneficial. It allows you to change active Python versions without affecting the system Python and keeps your workspace clean and organized.

Beginners should stick to the Homebrew method for managing Python installations due to its simplicity and ease. Advanced users or those needing specific Python configurations might opt for manual installation methods, coupled with virtual environments for project-specific dependencies.


  1. Can removing Python from my Mac affect system operations?

    Yes, if you remove the Python version pre-installed by macOS. You should only uninstall manually installed Python versions.

  2. How do I know which Python version macOS is using?

    Open Terminal and type python --version or python3 --version to see the version information.

  3. Is it safe to use Homebrew for installing Python?

    Yes, Homebrew is a widely used package manager for macOS that safely handles the installation and removal of software, including Python.

  4. Can I use Python immediately after installing it via Homebrew?

    After installing Python through Homebrew, you might need to add its installation path to your system’s PATH variable. Homebrew typically provides instructions for this after the installation process.

  5. What should I do if I accidentally remove the system’s Python version?

    Contact Apple Support or consider reinstalling macOS to restore the original system state without affecting your personal files.

We hope this guide helps you manage your Python installations more effectively. If you have any corrections, comments, questions, or wish to share your experiences, please feel free to do so. We’re always looking to improve our guides and appreciate your input.