How to get the Python version

Shows how to get the Python version from a running Python program and an execution example. There are multiple ways to get the version:

  1. sys.version_info
  2. platform.python_version_tuple()
  3. six

Method 1: sys.version_info

sys.version_info stores the Python version of the execution environment. For Python less than 2.7 / 3.0, the type is tuple, and for 2.7 / 3.1 and later, the type is named tuple.

Execution example


>>> import sys
>>> sys.version_info
(2, 5, 2, 'final', 0)


>>> import sys
>>> sys.version_info
sys.version_info(major=2, minor=7, micro=12, releaselevel='final', serial=0)


>>> import sys
>>> sys.version_info
sys.version_info(major=3, minor=5, micro=2, releaselevel='final', serial=0)

Reference [28.1. sys — System-specific parameters and functions — Python 2.7.11 documentation] (


A tuple containing the five components of the version number: major, minor, micro, releaselevel, and serial. All values except releaselevel are integers; the release level is 'alpha', 'beta', 'candidate', or 'final'. The version_info value corresponding to the Python version 2.0 is (2, 0, 0, 'final', 0). The components can also be accessed by name, so sys.version_info[0] is equivalent to sys.version_info.major and so on.

New in version 2.0.

Changed in version 2.7: Added named component attributes

Method 2: platform.python_version_tuple ()

platform.python_version_tuple () gets the version number information as tuple regardless of the Python version.

Execution example

>>> import platform
>>> platform.python_version_tuple()
('2', '7', '14')


>>> import platform
>>> platform.python_version_tuple()
('3', '6', '4')

Reference 15.15. platform — Access to underlying platform’s identifying data — Python 2.7.11 documentation

New in version 2.3.


Returns the Python version as tuple (major, minor, patchlevel) of strings.

Note that unlike the Python sys.version, the returned value will always include the patchlevel (it defaults to '0').

Method 3: six

six can be used to determine whether Python 2 or Python 3 (and Python 3.4 or higher can be determined).

Execution example


>>> import six
>>> six.PY2
>>> six.PY3
>>> six.PY34


>>> import six
>>> six.PY2
>>> six.PY3
>>> six.PY34

The internal implementation uses the above sys.version_info.

# Useful for very coarse version differentiation.
PY2 = sys.version_info[0] == 2
PY3 = sys.version_info[0] == 3
PY34 = sys.version_info[0:2] >= (3, 4)

Bonus: Python version determination on Shell Script

One liner to get the major version of Python


$ pymajorver=$(python -c "from __future__ import print_function; import sys; print(sys.version_info[0])")
$ echo $pymajorver

You can also use it in the case statement as follows:


case $(python -c "from __future__ import print_function; import sys; print(sys.version_info[0])") in
    "2") echo "Python2 !!" ;;
    "3") echo "Python3 !!" ;;
    *) echo "Unknown Python version" ;;

One liner to get major / minor version of Python

Supports both Python 2/3


$ python -c "from __future__ import print_function; import sys; print('{}{}'.format(*sys.version_info[0:2]))"

Python 3 only


$ pyversion=$(python -c "import sys; print('{}{}'.format(*sys.version_info[0:2]))")
$ echo $pyversion

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