How To Downgrade Python

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Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed to downgrade your Python installation? Trust me, I’ve been there. Whether it’s for compatibility issues with a specific library or because you want to work on an older project, downgrading Python can be a useful skill to have in your toolbox.

In this article, I’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of downgrading Python, sharing personal experiences and insights along the way. So, let’s dive right in!

Why Downgrade Python?

Before we begin, let’s talk about why you might want to downgrade Python in the first place. There could be several reasons:

  • Library Compatibility: Some libraries or frameworks may not be compatible with the latest version of Python. Downgrading can help you use those libraries without any issues.
  • Legacy Projects: If you’re working on an older project that was developed using an older version of Python, downgrading can ensure that your code runs smoothly.
  • Testing and Debugging: Downgrading Python can also be beneficial when testing and debugging code. It allows you to replicate the runtime environment of the target system.

Step 1: Understanding Your Current Python Installation

Before you start the downgrade process, it’s essential to know which version of Python you currently have on your system. Open your terminal and type:

python --version

This command will display the version number of Python installed on your system.

Step 2: Finding the Desired Python Version

Now that you know your current Python version, it’s time to find the specific version you want to downgrade to. You can check the official Python website’s release page or use a package manager like Anaconda to find the desired version.

Take note of the Python version you want to downgrade to, as you’ll need it for the next steps.

Step 3: Uninstalling the Current Python Version

Before installing the older version, you’ll need to uninstall the current version of Python from your system. The process may vary depending on your operating system.

If you’re using a macOS or Linux system, open your terminal and enter the following command:

sudo apt-get purge python

If you’re using a Windows machine, go to the Control Panel, select “Programs and Features,” and uninstall Python from there.

Note: Make sure to back up any important files or projects before proceeding with the uninstallation process.

Step 4: Installing the Older Python Version

Once you’ve successfully uninstalled the current version, it’s time to install the desired older version of Python. Again, the installation process may vary based on your operating system.

If you’re using a macOS or Linux system, you can use the package manager Homebrew to install the specific version. Open your terminal and enter:

brew install python@2

If you’re using Windows, you’ll need to download the installer for the desired Python version from the official Python website and run it. Make sure to select the “Add Python to PATH” option during the installation.

After the installation completes, you can verify the installed Python version by running the following command:

python --version

This should display the version number of the newly installed older Python version.

Step 5: Managing Multiple Python Versions

At this point, you should have successfully downgraded your Python installation. However, it’s worth mentioning that having multiple Python versions on your system can potentially cause conflicts.

To manage multiple Python installations, you can use virtual environments. Virtual environments allow you to create isolated Python environments with specific versions and dependencies.

To create a new virtual environment, open your terminal and enter the following command:

python -m venv myenv

This will create a new virtual environment named “myenv.” To activate the virtual environment, use the appropriate command for your operating system:

  • macOS/Linux: source myenv/bin/activate
  • Windows: myenv\Scripts\activate

Once the virtual environment is activated, any Python-related commands you run will use the Python version associated with that environment.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully downgraded your Python installation. Now you can enjoy the benefits of using an older version of Python for compatibility, legacy projects, or testing purposes.

Remember, downgrading Python is not something you should do lightly. It’s important to evaluate the specific requirements of your project or task before deciding to downgrade.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you should be able to navigate the process with confidence and make informed decisions regarding your Python version.

Happy coding!