To check which bit version the Python installation on your operating system supports, simply run the command “
python” (without quotes) in your command line or PowerShell (Windows), terminal (Ubuntu, macOS), or shell (Linux). This will open the interactive Python mode. The first line provides information whether it’s a 32 bit or 64 bit version.
Alternatively, you can also run the command “
py” if the command “
python” is not in your environment variable on your Windows machine.
Here’s the output on my computer (PowerShell) that shows that Python runs in a 64-bit version in the part
[MSC v.1928 64 bit (AMD64)]:
PS C:\Users\xcent> python Python 3.9.5 (tags/v3.9.5:0a7dcbd, May 3 2021, 17:27:52) [MSC v.1928 64 bit (AMD64)] on win32 Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information. >>>
And here’s a screenshot:
In some environments such as macOS or some Linux versions, you may not see the number of bits in the output. You can manually output this using the
>>> import sys >>> sys.version '3.9.5 (tags/v3.9.5:0a7dcbd, May 3 2021, 17:27:52) [MSC v.1928 64 bit (AMD64)]'
Arithmetic Way to Check Bit Version
You can also calculate it manually in a small two-liner Python script:
import struct print(struct.calcsize("P") * 8)
The output is either
"64" depending on whether you run a 32-bit or 64-bit Python version:
# Output: # "32" for a 32-bit installation, or "64" for 64-bit
Here’s the explanation of the arithmetic approach to calculate the Python bit version:
struct module converts data between Python values and C structs using Python
bytes objects. The string argument
"P" represents a generic pointer in C. Here’s the gist: a pointer has 4 bytes on a 32-bit system, and 8 bytes on a 64-bit system. The
calcsize() function calculates the number of bytes for the pointer and multiplies it with 8 because 4*8 = 32 for a 32-bit system and 8*8 = 64 for a 64-bit system. Thus,
struct.calcsize("P") returns your “Python Bit Version”.
Where to Go From Here?
Enough theory. Let’s get some practice!
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While working as a researcher in distributed systems, Dr. Christian Mayer found his love for teaching computer science students.
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