How to use Terminal on MacOS?

The terminal returns the command line to your Mac. Here’s how to use it to customize and troubleshoot your Mac, as well as the most common terminal commands.

The Terminal provides a command-line interface for controlling a UNIX-based operating system (UNIX) that operates secretly on the underlying layers of the Mac. Here’s everything you need to know about the terminal, and what it can do for you and your Mac.

What is a Mac Terminal?

Of all the Mac gadgets, few are not as well known as the terminal. At first glance, this is in stark contrast to all that Mac should be. Isn’t the graphical user interface the whole story, so we don’t have to worry about learning hidden instructions and typing them on the command line?

Well, yes it is. But learning these commands and using them will allow you to customize your Mac elements, do things that would otherwise be troublesome or require additional software, and can help you quickly if something goes wrong. Troubleshoot.

The first thing that can be said about the terminal is that it is an application and is located in the Utilities folder in Applications. You run it like any other program, and when you do, you will see that Apple is using a Unix command line environment known as the shell. There are different types of shell; Apple uses a shell called Bash.

The title bar of a terminal window shows the current user name, shell type, and window size in pixels. If you look at the command line in the window, you will see that each line starts with the Mac name and is followed by the current user name. The cursor is indicated by a gray box.

You can run other shells with the terminal, but you have to install them yourself. Commands in Unix are specific to the same shell, so it is important to know when you are writing tips in Unix with a different flavor, whether you are using the right shell for commands or vice versa.

How to use the terminal on MacOS?

Using the terminal is simple: you type a command on the command line and press Return to execute it. A command consists of three elements; The command itself, which calls a specific tool; Option to modify command output; And an argument, which invokes the source in which the command will operate.

Often, the argument takes the form of a specific file, in which case you must type the file path at the end of the command. However, there is a shortcut. If you find the file in the Finder, you can drag and drop it on the terminal window and the terminal will extract its path and place it in your command.

There are a few rules to keep in mind when using any command line interface. One of these is that every character, including spaces, is important. So if you are copying a command from a website, magazine or book, you need to make sure that you type it exactly as shown.

You can go back to the previous commands without re-typing them, using the up arrow on the keyboard, and then press Return to execute it. And by pressing the Control + C shortcut keys, you can cut a command.

Terminal commands

To see a list of available commands, hold down the Escape key and press Y when asked if you want to display a certain number of features. You will see a list of commands with the meaning of their actions next to them. If you press the spacebar, more commands will be loaded. Press the Q key to exit and return to the command line.

Unix has its own internal guide and you can call it at the terminal to find out more about a command. To use it, type [command], here command is the name of the command you want to learn more about.

Location in the terminal

When you type a command in the terminal, it executes in your current location, unless otherwise specified. When you run a new terminal window, its location is at the top of your Home list, so each command depends on that location.

To change the location, use the cd and the path of the place you want to go. To return to the default state, type cd ~ / to change your location to your Home directory from wherever you are. You can view the list of files and folders in your current location by typing ls (which are lowercase letters LS) to list them in the terminal.

How does the command line work?

To get acquainted with how the command line works, let’s start with a few basic commands. Create a file in Text Edit called TestFile and save it in a folder called Test inside Documents and in your Home Directory.

In the terminal, type the cd Documents / Test command to go to the Test directory. Now type ls to display the contents of the folder. You must get the result that TestFile.

Copy Command on Terminal

You can make a copy of the file using the cp command. TestFile cp command. rtf TestFile-copy. Type rtf and check the result in Finder. Now we are going to use the terminal to move the copy to another folder, which we will also use the terminal to create.

move a file

Type cd and then drag the Documents folder to the terminal window and press Return. This will put you in the Documents folder in your Home Directory.

Now type mkdir Test2 to create a new directory called Test2. Then type the following line to testFile-copy the file. Move rtf to Test2 directory.

mv ~/Documents/Test/TestFile-copy.rtf ~/Documents/Test2/TestFile-copy.rtf

“~” Is an abbreviation for your Home Directory, so ~ / Documents is the Documents folder in your Home folder. You can also use the mv command to rename files. So, in the example above, instead of TestFile-copy. rtf Give the transferred file a different name. To rename files without moving them, just delete the second directory from the command.

Use the rm command to delete the test files. Therefore, to delete the original Test file, type the following line, which will delete the file without asking for confirmation.


If you are deleting files, it is best to double-check, so add -i immediately before the file name to add the delete confirmation step.

These are just a few of the most common terminal commands, but they should give you an insight into how to use this lesser-known Mac tool. It should also show you that there is nothing to be afraid of using the terminal, as long as you take the time to learn the basics and know what you are doing.

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