Python IDEs in macOS

Vaibhhav Khetarpal Nov 26, 2021
  1. the Purpose of IDE
  2. Python for macOS
  3. the Spyder IDE of Python in macOS
  4. Visual Studio Code
Python IDEs in macOS

An IDE, or the Integrated Development Environment, provides the necessary tools for software development under a single space. An IDE usually consists of three things: a source code editor, an interpreter or a compiler, and a debugger - all of which are contained and can be accessed through a single graphical user interface (GUI).

In this tutorial, we discuss the different Python IDEs available on the macOS platform.

the Purpose of IDE

It is beneficial for the programmer to use an IDE as it has all the necessary tools to develop software under the same roof, making software development faster while also providing standardization across tools.

Some IDEs are focused on and are uniquely designed for a particular programming language, like IntelliJ for Java, and PyCharm for Python. At the same time, other IDEs are compatible with a lot of programming languages.

Python for macOS

macOS is an operating system developed and maintained by Apple Inc. and is exclusively found in Apple devices. This operating system is one of the biggest competitors to other popular operating systems like Windows and Linux.

Unlike Windows or Linux, the support for macOS is not provided by all the Python IDEs because Apple devices came late into the trend and started gaining more popularity when programmers started switching to macOS for coding purposes.

Different Python IDEs are useful and focused on different aspects of Python programming, so we should choose an IDE that serves our purpose. This part of the article will explain all the Python IDEs that are available to use on macOS.

the PyCharm IDE of Python in macOS

Developed by Jetbrains, PyCharm is one of the most integrated development environment software available on macOS. It is cross-platform and provides smart assistance to the developers using this IDE.

PyCharm is essentially free of cost. Still, it is also available in a premium version that offers some additional features like full database management and frameworks like the Google App, Django, and Engine.


  • It has several essential features like testing, profiling, debugging, deployments and database tools.
  • Python web development frameworks like HTML, JavaScript, CSS, Angular JS are also supported by PyCharm.
  • It has a very powerful integration, considering that it contains the IPython Notebook, scientific stack, and a python console.


  • It is not completely free, and some tools and frameworks are available for use only in the premium version.
  • It has a slow loading and installation time.

the PyDev IDE of Python in macOS

PyDev is a plugin that enables the popular Eclipse IDE to be used for Python programming.

Eclipse is an IDE that was initially designed for Java. However, with the help of PyDev, we can code Python on eclipse as well. In addition, PyDev is a free-to-use and platform-independent IDE.


  • It provides unique features like code completion and code analysis.
  • It has multi-language support.
  • It provides some excellent features like smart indent, TO-DO tasks, Pylint integration, and keyword assistance.


  • If the application is large and contains a lot of plugins, PyDev does not handle it well, and its performance decreases significantly.
  • The installed plugins might create issues in the application development.

the Spyder IDE of Python in macOS

Spyder is another free-to-use integrated development for Python only. It is designed for scientific use and integrates libraries like Matplotlib, NumPy, and SymPy.

It is an open-source IDE and is available to download and use through the Anaconda distribution. Spyder uses PYQT; therefore, it can also be used as an extension by the programmer. It is one of the most powerful IDEs out there.


  • It allows the user to run a program cell by cell.
  • It can efficiently eliminate the bottlenecks and deliver better code performance.
  • It contains a very powerful debugger.


  • A significant decrease in performance is seen when too many plugins are invoked at once.

the Thonny IDE of Python in macOS

Thonny is an excellent option for beginners who are looking to firm their grip on the basics of Python. It is a simple and lightweight IDE suitable for teaching and learning Python. It has a very basic user interface so it is not confusing for beginners.


  • It has a simple and straightforward Graphical user interface (GUI)
  • It’s friendly for beginners
  • It thoroughly explains all the scopes by highlighting the spots.


  • The interface is basic and only good enough for text editing.
  • Not suitable for experienced developers.
  • Comparatively slow loading time for complex programs.

the Jupyter IDE of Python in macOS

Jupyter is mainly used for the purpose of starting with Data Science and Machine Learning. Not only does it provide an integrated development environment, but it is also an ideal tool for presentations, making it great for learning and teaching purpose. The Jupyter notebook is free of charge and is available to use through the Anaconda distribution.


  • It’s excellent for statistical modeling, data simulation, and visualization.
  • It’s able to integrate data science libraries like Matplotlib, NumPy, and Pandas.


  • The Jupyter Notebook lacks any sort of IDE integration, code-style correction, and linting.
  • Less Security.

Apart from IDEs, there are also a lot of Code Editors available for Python. A code editor is a basic text editor that helps the user in editing source codes. These may be standalone applications, or they could be integrated into an IDE.

The following code editors are popularly used in the Python community.

Sublime Text for Python

Sublime Text is considered one of the most popular code editors you can use for handling both Python and C++. Moreover, it has an API for Python. However, sublime Text is not a free editor; it is available to use only after purchasing it. You can find the steps to install sublime on Ubuntu here if sublime is not installed yet.

Atom for Python

Atom is a free-to-use and simple code editor. It’s highly popular with the programming community due to its simple graphical interface. From beginners to experts, everyone can understand and use this editor. Additionally, Atom also allows editing across different platforms.

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is mainly used for creating and debugging projects and web applications. It is an open-source environment developed and updated by Microsoft.

Vaibhhav Khetarpal avatar Vaibhhav Khetarpal avatar

Vaibhhav is an IT professional who has a strong-hold in Python programming and various projects under his belt. He has an eagerness to discover new things and is a quick learner.


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