update - upgrade python package without pip

Upgrading all packages with pip (20)

More Robust Solution

For pip3 use this:

pip3 freeze --local |sed -rn 's/^([^=# \t\\][^ \t=]*)=.*/echo; echo Processing \1 ...; pip3 install -U \1/p' |sh

For pip, just remove the 3s as such:

pip freeze --local |sed -rn 's/^([^=# \t\\][^ \t=]*)=.*/echo; echo Processing \1 ...; pip install -U \1/p' |sh

OSX Oddity

OSX, as of July 2017, ships with a very old version of sed (a dozen years old). To get extended regular expressions, use -E instead of -r in the solution above.

Solving Issues with Popular Solutions

This solution is well designed and tested1, whereas there are problems with even the most popular solutions.

  • Portability issues due to changing pip command line features
  • Crashing of xargs because common pip or pip3 child process failures
  • Crowded logging from the raw xargs output
  • Relying on a Python-to-OS bridge while potentially upgrading it3

The above command uses the simplest and most portable pip syntax in combination with sed and sh to overcome these issues completely. Details of sed operation can be scrutinized with the commented version2.


[1] Tested and regularly used in a Linux 4.8.16-200.fc24.x86_64 cluster and tested on five other Linux/Unix flavors. It also runs on Cygwin64 installed on Windows 10. Testing on iOS is needed.

[2] To see the anatomy of the command more clearly, this is the exact equivalent of the above pip3 command with comments:

# match lines from pip's local package list output
# that meet the following three criteria and pass the
# package name to the replacement string in group 1.
# (a) Do not start with invalid characters
# (b) Follow the rule of no white space in the package names
# (c) Immediately follow the package name with an equal sign
sed="s/^([^=# \t\\][^ \t=]*)=.*"

# separate the output of package upgrades with a blank line

# indicate what package is being processed
sed="$sed; echo Processing \1 ..."

# perform the upgrade using just the valid package name
sed="$sed; pip3 install -U \1"

# output the commands

# stream edit the list as above
# and pass the commands to a shell
pip3 freeze --local |sed -rn "$sed" |sh

[3] Upgrading a Python or PIP component that is also used in the upgrading of a Python or PIP component can be a potential cause of a deadlock or package database corruption.

Is it possible to upgrade all Python packages at one time with pip?

Note that there is a feature request for this on the official issue tracker.

@Ramana's answer worked the best for me, of those here, but I had to add a few catches:

import pip
for dist in pip.get_installed_distributions():
    if 'site-packages' in dist.location:
            pip.call_subprocess(['pip', 'install', '-U', dist.key])
        except Exception, exc:
            print exc

The site-packages check excludes my development packages, because they are not located in the system site-packages directory. The try-except simply skips packages that have been removed from PyPI.

@endolith: I was hoping for an easy pip.install(dist.key, upgrade=True), too, but it doesn't look like pip was meant to be used by anything but the command line (the docs don't mention the internal API, and the pip developers didn't use docstrings).

Here is a scripts that only updates the outdated packages.

import os, sys
from subprocess import check_output, call

file = check_output(["pip.exe",  "list", "--outdated", "--format=legacy"])
line = str(file).split()

for distro in line[::6]:
    call("pip install --upgrade " + distro, shell=True)

Here is my variation on rbp's answer, which bypasses "editable" and development distributions. It shares two flaws of the original: it re-downloads and reinstalls unnecessarily; and an error on one package will prevent the upgrade of every package after that.

pip freeze |sed -ne 's/==.*//p' |xargs pip install -U --

Related bug reports, a bit disjointed after the migration from bitbucket:

I had the same problem with upgrading. Thing is, i never upgrade all packages. I upgrade only what i need, because project may break.

Because there was no easy way for upgrading package by package, and updating the requirements.txt file, i wrote this pip-upgrader which also updates the versions in your requirements.txt file for the packages chosen (or all packages).


pip install pip-upgrader


Activate your virtualenv (important, because it will also install the new versions of upgraded packages in current virtualenv).

cd into your project directory, then run:


Advanced usage

If the requirements are placed in a non-standard location, send them as arguments:

pip-upgrade path/to/requirements.txt

If you already know what package you want to upgrade, simply send them as arguments:

pip-upgrade -p django -p celery -p dateutil

If you need to upgrade to pre-release / post-release version, add --prerelease argument to your command.

Full disclosure: I wrote this package.

I have tried the code of Ramana and I found out on Ubuntu you have to write sudo for each command. Here is my script which works fine on ubuntu 13.10:

#!/usr/bin/env python
import pip
from subprocess import call

for dist in pip.get_installed_distributions():
    call("sudo pip install --upgrade " + dist.project_name, shell=True)

My script:

pip list --outdated --format=legacy | cut -d ' ' -f1 | xargs -n1 pip install --upgrade

One-liner version of @Ramana's answer.

python -c 'import pip, subprocess; [subprocess.call("pip install -U " + d.project_name, shell=1) for d in pip.get_installed_distributions()]'


The following one-liner might prove of help:

pip list --format legacy --outdated | sed 's/(.*//g' | xargs -n1 pip install -U

xargs -n1 keeps going if an error occurs.

If you need more "fine grained" control over what is omitted and what raises an error you should not add the -n1 flag and explicitly define the errors to ignore, by "piping" the following line for each separate error:

| sed 's/^<First characters of the error>.*//'

Here is a working example:

pip list --format legacy --outdated | sed 's/(.*//g' | sed 's/^<First characters of the first error>.*//' | sed 's/^<First characters of the second error>.*//' | xargs pip install -U

The rather amazing yolk makes this easy.

pip install yolk3k # don't install `yolk`, see https://github.com/cakebread/yolk/issues/35
yolk --upgrade

For more info on yolk: https://pypi.python.org/pypi/yolk/0.4.3

It can do lots of things you'll probably find useful.

There isn't a built-in flag yet, but you can use

pip list --outdated --format=freeze | grep -v '^\-e' | cut -d = -f 1  | xargs -n1 pip install -U

Note: there are infinite potential variations for this. I'm trying to keep this answer short and simple, but please do suggest variations in the comments!

In older version of pip, you can use this instead:

pip freeze --local | grep -v '^\-e' | cut -d = -f 1  | xargs -n1 pip install -U

The grep is to skip editable ("-e") package definitions, as suggested by @jawache. (Yes, you could replace grep+cut with sed or awk or perl or...).

The -n1 flag for xargs prevents stopping everything if updating one package fails (thanks @andsens).

This seemed to work for me...

pip install -U $(pip list --outdated|awk '{printf $1" "}')

I used printf with a space afterwards to properly separate the package names.

This seems more concise.

pip list --outdated | cut -d ' ' -f1 | xargs -n1 pip install -U


pip list --outdated gets lines like these

urllib3 (1.7.1) - Latest: 1.15.1 [wheel]
wheel (0.24.0) - Latest: 0.29.0 [wheel]

In cut -d ' ' -f1, -d ' ' sets "space" as the delimiter, -f1 means to get the first column.

So the above lines becomes:


then pass them to xargs to run the command, pip install -U, with each line as appending arguments

-n1 limits the number of arguments passed to each command pip install -U to be 1

Windows Powershell solution

pip freeze | %{$_.split('==')[0]} | %{pip install --upgrade $_}

Windows version after consulting excellent documentation for FOR by Rob van der Woude

for /F "delims===" %i in ('pip freeze -l') do pip install -U %i

You can just print the packages that are outdated

pip freeze | cut -d = -f 1 | xargs -n 1 pip search | grep -B2 'LATEST:'

You can try this :

for i in ` pip list|awk -F ' ' '{print $1}'`;do pip install --upgrade $i;done

here is another way of doing with a script in python

import pip, tempfile, contextlib

with tempfile.TemporaryFile('w+') as temp:
    with contextlib.redirect_stdout(temp):
    for line in temp:
        pk = line.split()[0]
        print('--> updating',pk,'<--')

use awk update packges: pip install -U $(pip freeze | awk -F'[=]' '{print $1}')