Apple won't be including Python 2 with its macOS 12.3 update

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Macos Big Sur Preview California Wallpaper Hero (Image credit: Rene Ritchie)

What you need to know

  • Apple has told developers that it will no longer bundle Python 2 in macOS from macOS 12.3 onwards.
  • Developers should use Python 3, but that doesn't come pre-installed.
  • Developers have been told to bundle Python into their apps if it is required.

Apple has confirmed that it is removing Python 2 from macOS 12.3 which means that there will be no version of the scripting language installed by default.

The news comes via the macOS Monterey 12.3 beta that was recently made available to developers. The current version that Apple ships with macOS is Python 2.7 and that will be removed completely. Python 2.7 has not been supported for more than a year now, and while there are newer versions available Apple will not be bundling those, either.

As MacRumors notes, developers will need to install the latest build of Python manually and were told as far back as 2019 that they should begin to bundle the Python runtime inside their apps if it was required.

Apple says that developers should use an alternative programming language instead, such as Python 3, but it's worth noting that Python 3 also does not come preinstalled on macOS. Developers can run the stub /usr/bin/python3 in Terminal, but it prompts users to install Xcode developer tools, which includes Python 3.

"If your software depends on scripting languages, it's recommended that you bundle the runtime within the app," Apple said when discussing the situation previously.

Apple made the first macOS 12.3 beta available to developers yesterday but there is no indication of when it will also be released to the public. We expect a few betas to arrive before we get to that point, however.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.