Compile/install Python 3.7 on Raspberry Pi

Raspbian Stretch 9 for Raspberry Pi includes Python 3.5. Here is how to compile Python 3.7 on the Raspberry Pi.

Compile Python interpreter


  • in general, one of the few times you should ever use sudo on a Linux computer is apt install.
  • if you need to use apt installed Python modules that access hardware like GPIO, you can always access system Python 3 via /usr/bin/python3
  1. get prereqs on your ARM device:

    apt install libffi-dev libbz2-dev liblzma-dev libsqlite3-dev libncurses5-dev libgdbm-dev zlib1g-dev libreadline-dev libssl-dev tk-dev build-essential libncursesw5-dev libc6-dev openssl git
    1. extract the latest Python source code
    2. Configure (3 minutes on Raspberry Pi 2):
    cd cpython-3.7*
    ./configure --prefix=$HOME/.local --enable-optimizations
  2. Build and install–this step takes 10-40 minutes, depending on Raspberry Pi model. Do not use sudo!

    make -j -l 4
    make install

    Note: don’t omit -l 4 or Pi will be quickly overwhelmed and error build. This limits load average to 4. Without it, load average will soar to 100+ (bad). 5. add to ~/.bashrc:

    export PATH=$HOME/.local/bin/:$PATH

then open a new Terminal


Check that which python3 and which pip3 etc. refer to ~/.local/bin/ instead of /usr/bin. Don’t uninstall system Python 3 /usr/bin/python3 because system packages depend on it. The PATH you set in Step 5 above makes Linux prefer your new Python 3.7.



Why upgrade to Python ≥ 3.6?

Python 3.6 represents a real milestone, as profound an improvement as Python 3.4 over Python 2.7. Python 3.7 brings further speed / efficiency improvements.