To get started working with Python 3, you’ll need to have access to the Python interpreter. There are several common ways to accomplish this:

  • Python can be obtained from the Python Software Foundation website at python.org. Typically, that involves downloading the appropriate installer for your operating system and running it on your machine.
  • Some operating systems, notably Linux, provide a package manager that can be run to install Python.
  • On macOS, the best way to install Python 3 involves installing a package manager called Homebrew. You’ll see how to do this in the relevant section in the tutorial.
  • On mobile operating systems like Android and iOS, you can install apps that provide a Python programming environment. This can be a great way to practice your coding skills on the go.

Alternatively, there are several websites that allow you to access a Python interpreter online without installing anything on your computer at all.

    In this Python installation guide, you’ll see step by step how to set up a working Python 3 distribution on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. So let’s get started!

Windows

        It is highly unlikely that your Windows system shipped with Python already installed. Windows systems typically do not. Fortunately, installing does not involve much more than downloading the Python installer from the python.org website and running it. Let’s take a look at how to install Python 3 on Windows:

Step 1: Download the Python 3 Installer

  1. Open a browser window and navigate to the Download page for Windows at python.org.
  2. Underneath the heading at the top that says Python Releases for Windows, click on the link for the Latest Python 3 Release - Python 3.x.x. (As of this writing, the latest is Python 3.6.5.)
  3. Scroll to the bottom and select either Windows x86-64 executable installer for 64-bit or Windows x86 executable installer for 32-bit. (See below.)

Sidebar: 32-bit or 64-bit Python?

For Windows, you can choose either the 32-bit or 64-bit installer. Here’s what the difference between the two comes down to:

  • If your system has a 32-bit processor, then you should choose the 32-bit installer.
  • On a 64-bit system, either installer will actually work for most purposes. The 32-bit version will generally use less memory, but the 64-bit version performs better for applications with intensive computation.
  • If you’re unsure which version to pick, go with the 64-bit version.

Note: Remember that if you get this choice “wrong” and would like to switch to another version of Python, you can just uninstall Python and then re-install it by downloading another installer from python.org.


Step 2: Run the Installer

        Once you have chosen and downloaded an installer, simply run it by double-clicking on the downloaded file. A dialog should appear that looks something like this:


Then just click Install Now. That should be all there is to it. A few minutes later you should have a working Python 3 installation on your system.

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

        If you are running Windows 10 Creators or Anniversary Update, you actually have another option for installing Python. These versions of Windows 10 include a feature called the Windows Subsystem for Linux, which allows you to run a Linux environment directly in Windows, unmodified and without the overhead of a virtual machine.

  • For more information, see the Windows Subsystem for Linux Documentation article on the Microsoft website.
  • For instructions on how to enable the subsystem in Windows 10 and install a Linux distribution, see the Windows 10 Installation Guide.
  • You can also check out this presentation on YouTube by Sarah Cooley, one of the members of the WSL development team.

Once you have installed the Linux distribution of your choice, you can install Python 3 from a Bash console window, just as you would if you were running that Linux distribution natively. (See below.)

Linux

        There is a very good chance your Linux distribution has Python installed already, but it probably won’t be the latest version, and it may be Python 2 instead of Python 3.

To find out what version(s) you have, open a terminal window and try the following commands:

  • python --version
  • python2 --version
  • python3 --version

One or more of these commands should respond with a version, as below:

$ python3 –version
Python 3.6.5 code-box

        If the version shown is Python 2.x.x or a version of Python 3 that is not the latest (3.6.5 as of this writing), then you will want to install the latest version. The procedure for doing this will depend on the Linux distribution you are running.


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