I spend most of my time working on a Windows machine for work-related projects, and for some personal projects I use my still trustworthy MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2012), and on both systems I spend some of my time working on the Terminal. On Windows I use the new, aptly named, Windows Terminal, and on macOS I still use the Terminal; both with a certain level of customization, but more on that on another post.

Also, on both systems I have installed Python and some packages, which include black, flake8, isort, pipgrip, pip-autoremove, pre-commit, pydocstyle, and toml. And at some point I wondered if there was a way to update all outdated packages with one single command, so I did what every decent human being does: I asked the Internet.

Here are the top results provided by the most common search engines:

And all of them agree on a command like this on Linux, macOS, or Git Bash for Windows:

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

And for PowerShell:

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

And I agree that both work fine, but I wondered what would happen when pip itself was outdated and had to be upgraded.

Since pip freeze only outputs the installed packages in requirements format, but not pip itself, we must run pip list --format=freeze instead.

As for the recommended command to install or upgrade packages, I found that pip documentation suggests the following:

To install a package:

python -m pip install black

And for upgrading a package:

python -m pip install --upgrade pip

So, considering all of the above, this is what I ended up using:


python -m pip list --outdated --format=freeze | grep -v '^\-e' | cut -d = -f 1 | xargs -n1 python -m pip install --upgrade


> python -m pip list --outdated --format=freeze | %{$_.split('==')[0]} | %{python -m pip install --upgrade $_}

But of course I don’t type those commands each and every time I am curious about checking for upgrades, so I recommend creating an alias on macOS, and a function on Windows PowerShell.

Add this alias to your .zshrc:

alias pipu="python -m pip list --outdated --format=freeze | grep -v '^\-e' | cut -d = -f 1 | xargs -n1 python -m pip install --upgrade"

Add this to your $PROFILE:

function global:Update-Pip {
  $packages = python -m pip list --outdated --format=freeze
  foreach ($package in $packages) {
    $pkg = $package.split("==")[0]
    python -m pip install --upgrade $pkg

And that should do the trick.

Thanks for reading.