PIP vs PIP3: What is the Difference?

Hey geeks! Let us start our discussion on today’s topic. If you are a python developer, you must have understood our agenda after reading the title. But if you are a beginner to python, then no worries; today, we will have our detailed discussion on what is the basic difference between PIP vs PIP3. So, let’s get started.

What is PIP in python?

Pip is the standard package manager for Python. It allows us to install and manage additional packages that are not part of the Python standard library.

Pip is an essential tool that comes along with python (after version 3.4 and 2.7.9) to install new packages. These packages are fetched from the PyPi’s repositories and are automatically integrated with your Python.

To check the version of pip

python -m pip version
pip 21.1.1 from C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\PythonSoftwareFoundation.Python.3.9_3.9.1520.0_x64__qbz5n2kfra8p0\lib\site-packages\pip (python 3.9)

You should see a similar output displaying the pip version, the location, and version of Python.

To learn in detail how to check the python version in different OS, visit here.

When and How to Use PIP vs PIP3 in Python?

There are thousands of packages uploaded every day on PyPI. These packages are helpful to ease your task and reduce the hard coding. But installing these packages can be tricky sometimes. Generally, most of these packages are installed with a tool named PIP. This tool integrates the package with your working Python.

To install the package, following command is used –

pip install package_name

However, you can observe PIP and PIP3 on your computer. So do these tools function the different way or they are the same?

PIP in Linux or Mac is mostly associated with python 2 whereas pip3 is associated with python 3. In Windows, pip may also be used to install packages in Python 3. So why is there such a difference?

This difference arises due to path changes in every OS. In Linux, you can install Python-pip from your apt-get to get going. But if you use python3-pip, pip3 will be installed instead. Then this pip3 will be responsible to install packages in python 3.

PIP Vs PIP3 What’s the Difference?

PIP is a soft link for a particular installer.pip3 is an updated version of pip which is used basically for python 3+.
The system will use one of your Python versions depending on what exactly is first in the system PATH variable.When you run PIP3, you can be sure that the module will be installed in Python 3.
if I use pip, the package will be installed for the python version that I installed last on my computer. That would be 3.9 for my case. So using pip and using pip3.9 will produce the same result for me. If I use pip3, the package will only be installed for python3. It won’t be available for 2.7 or 2.9.

To install packages in python3, should we use pip vs pip3?

Pip3 is the Python3 version of pip.

If you use pip, then only the python2.7 version will be installed. You have to use pip3 for it to be installed on Python3. So to install packages in python3, you should use pip3.

NOTE:- Its not necessary that pip will install in python 2.7, if python2 is absent then pip will do it in python3. The above statement was if you have both the version of python installed.

If you are a Linux user, then you can use the ‘which’ command to check which pip is installed. For example,

which pip 

This command, if you enter into the Linux terminal, you will get to know about the version pip installed and the version of python. Otherwise, you may encounter an error if you have not installed pip.

To check for pip3:

which pip3

This command, if you enter into the Linux terminal, you will get to know about the version pip3 installed and the version of python. Otherwise, you may encounter an error if you have not installed pip3.


Python is one of the most versatile languages, especially for beginners. With easy use of pip and pip3, you can install almost everything you need and get going. Since the python community is huge, there are thousands of helpful packages on PyPi. This guide will definitely help you to understand the differences between pip and pip3.

If you have any doubts regarding today’s article, feel free to comment down below. Till then, keep pythoning geeks!

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2 years ago

This was most informative. Thanks! i’ve been using pip all this time, despite NEVER having used python 2.7 Everything seemed to work fine so i never really questioned it.

1 year ago

Shouldn’t checking the version be:
python -m pip --version

Pratik Kinage
1 year ago
Reply to  Rober

Yeah, this works as well. Here, you’re basically asking your python to locate its corresponding pip and check the version. This method is good if you have multiple python installations.