Can't install psycopg2 with pip in virtualenv on Mac OS X 10.7

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I am following Heroku's tutorial to deploy a Django app:

Everything is working fine until I get to this part:

$ pip install Django psycopg2

I can install Django by itself, but the probelm is with psycopg2.

I keep getting this error:

ld: library not found for -lpq

collect2: ld returned 1 exit status

ld: library not found for -lpq

collect2: ld returned 1 exit status

lipo: can't open input file: /var/folders/_4/p6l0y0t51hd4xbq7llbyshmw0000gn/T//cc0L10mI.out (No such file or directory)

error: command 'gcc-4.2' failed with exit status 1

I've installed PostgreSQL 9.1 on my machine.

Also, in the output, there are bunch of lines like this:

gcc-4.2 -fno-strict-aliasing -fno-common -dynamic -isysroot /Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.6.sdk -arch i386 -arch x86_64 -g -O2 -DNDEBUG -g -O3 -DPSYCOPG_DEFAULT_PYDATETIME=1 -DPSYCOPG_VERSION="2.4.4 (dt dec pq3 ext)" -DPG_VERSION_HEX=0x090004 -DPSYCOPG_EXTENSIONS=1 -DPSYCOPG_NEW_BOOLEAN=1 -DHAVE_PQFREEMEM=1 -I/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/include/python2.7 -I. -I/usr/include -I/usr/include/postgresql/server -c psycopg/typecast.c -o build/temp.macosx-10.6-intel-2.7/psycopg/typecast.o

I'm not really sure what it means, but I do notice that it has "macosx-10.6" in it so I'm wondering if that could be the issue? I'm on 10.7.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Refer to official installation guide of psycopg:

Installing on Mac OS X As a first option, please consider using a packaged version of Psycopg from Fink or MacPorts.

If you still want to build Psycopg from source, take a look at these articles.

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Just would like to share. The following code worked for me:

env LDFLAGS='-L/usr/local/lib -L/usr/local/opt/openssl/lib
-L/usr/local/opt/readline/lib' pip install psycopg2==2.5.2

I am using macOS Sierra and psql 9.6.1.

I got the lib path from the pg_config command.

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First, download

Then, before running pip install psycopg2, put the binary in your path:

export PATH=$PATH:/Applications/


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Install postgres with brew:

brew install postgres

Then, in your virtualenv install psycopg2 with this command:

ARCHFLAGS=-Wno-error=unused-command-line-argument-hard-error-in-future pip install psycopg2

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The workaround is to intsall 'psycopg2-binary' package

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  • This worked for me:…
  • Ok, I just installed psycopg2 using macports in the virtualenv. I'm guessing this does the same thing that pip install does in the tutorial? As in, I would just replace this step? Reason I'm asking is because the app is still failing when I launch it. When I type Heroku Logs, this is one of the lines I get: raise ImproperlyConfigured("Error loading psycopg2 module: %s" % e)
  • Using MacPorts to install won't work inside a virtualenv environment. To get your app working, you should check out those articles about building from source :)
  • Ok, I followed the instructions in one of those articles:, and I got psycopg2 to install on my machine. However, i'm still getting the same error within the virtualenv environment. I'm not too sure how I would build from source within a virtualenv.
  • Did you activated your virtualenv before running the last command python install ?
  • That worked! Thank you! A more explicit version for those wondering: I recreated the hellodjango directory and went through the steps, and instead of doing 'pip install psycopg2', I just downloaded psycopg2-2.4.4.tar.gz and installed it using "python install".
  • this was your first answer to SO, and it works great. Thank you for taking the time to put it here. This solution works to install psycopg2 within a virtualenv with postgres and dependencies installed with brew.
  • pg_config --ldflags will give you the specific path for your setup.
  • Works for me on macos 10.14.4 with python 3.7.2 and postgres 11.2. Thanks!
  • This solution works for me in Mojave 10.14.3. Thanks!
  • With last version of psycopg2 (2.8.4) on last version of MAC OS X (v10.15.4) env LDFLAGS='-L/usr/local/lib -L/usr/local/opt/openssl/lib -L/usr/local/opt/readline/lib' pip install psycopg2==2.8.4
  • Thanks, I found this reply most useful, as it does not require MacPorts or any other tools.