I installed Python, pip3, and virtualenv as in this guide for TensorFlow:

brew install python
pip3 install -U virtualenv

Then I was able to create a virtual environment with:

virtualenv --system-site-packages -p python3 ./venv

Then I tried installing TensorFlow with

pip install --upgrade tensorflow

but it failed because TensorFlow is not yet compatible with Python 3.7. So I removed Python 3.7 with brew remove python and installed 3.6.7 from an installer. But running the same virtualenv command now fails:

$ virtualenv --system-site-packages -p python3 ./venv
-bash: /usr/local/bin/virtualenv: /usr/local/opt/python/bin/python3.7: bad interpreter: No such file or directory
$ which python3

So the virtualenv link to the executable lists the newest Python version, even after removal.

Furthermore, virtualenv lists brew as the user group, which is also confusing:

$ ls -la /usr/local/bin/virtualenv
-rwxr-xr-x  1 user  brew  232 29 Nov 17:06 /usr/local/bin/virtualenv

I've tried uninstalling virtualenv with both pip and pip3 and I get:

Skipping virtualenv as it is not installed.

How can I fix this issue?

7 Answers 7


After a few hours, one solution was to install virtualenv again with pip, then remove it with pip:

$ ls -la /usr/local/bin/virtualenv
-rwxr-xr-x  1 user  brew  232 29 Nov 17:06 /usr/local/bin/virtualenv
$ pip install virtualenv
$ pip uninstall virtualenv
$ which virtualenv
$ ls -la /usr/local/bin/virtualenv
ls: /usr/local/bin/virtualenv: No such file or directory

And then install it again with pip3:

$ pip3 install virtualenv
Collecting virtualenv
Installing collected packages: virtualenv
Successfully installed virtualenv-16.1.0

Notice the use of pip3, and not pip, unlike this link, pointed to by TensorFlow.

And now creating the virtual environment works:

$ virtualenv --system-site-packages -p python3 ./venv
Running virtualenv with interpreter /Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/3.6/bin/python3
Using base prefix '/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/3.6'
New python executable in ~/venv/bin/python3
Also creating executable in ~/venv/bin/python
Installing setuptools, pip, wheel...

I created a symlink instead of copy.

brew install python@3.7
ln -s /usr/local/opt/python@3.7/bin/python3.7 /usr/local/opt/python/bin/python3.7

In my case, I had installed pipenv on MacOS with:

brew install pipenv

It was trying to use Python 3.6 instead of the 3.7 I actually had.

So I solved the issue by uninstalling:

brew uninstall pipenv

...then installing again with pip:

pip3 install pipenv
  • doesn't work for me. I'm using asdf and an existing pipenv installation. Jul 24, 2020 at 3:17

In my case, I was on MacOS and I had python3.9 installed, but virtualenv was installed using python3.7 and at some point I uninstalled python3.7.

$ /usr/local/bin/virtualenv --version
-bash: /usr/local/bin/virtualenv: /usr/local/opt/python/bin/python3.7: bad interpreter: No such file or directory

However, my python version:

$ which python3.9

No amount of pip or pip3 install/uninstall/install virtualenv worked for me. Finally I did the following:

$ python3.9 -m pip install --user virtualenv
Collecting virtualenv
  Using cached virtualenv-20.4.6-py2.py3-none-any.whl (7.2 MB)
Successfully installed appdirs-1.4.4 distlib-0.3.1 filelock-3.0.12 virtualenv-20.4.6

And then

$ /usr/local/bin/virtualenv --version
virtualenv 20.4.6 from <mypath>



Try installing python@3.7 via homebrew and then cping that installation into the directory the program expects to find it.

brew install python@3.7
cp -r /usr/local/opt/python@3.7/bin/python3.7 /usr/local/opt/python/bin/python3.7
  • 1
    Why copy instead of symlink?
    – ErikE
    Mar 1, 2021 at 7:16

That solved the problem in my case: (my env file is called .venv)

mv .venv .venv_old
python3.7 -m venv .venv
source .venv/bin/activate
pip install wheel
pip install --upgrade pip wheel setuptools
pip install -r requirements.txt

In my case what solved the situation was adding a line at the end of the ~/.zshrc file:

export PATH=/usr/local/opt/python/libexec/bin:$PATH

hope it helps.


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