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The Best Terminal for MacBook: Our Top 7 Picks

The Terminal is the default text-based interface used to interact with your Mac. It is where applications can be launched, files and folders managed, and commands executed.

If you’re seeking an alternative to the Terminal, there are several options worth considering and in this article, we will examine some of the best Terminal alternatives for Mac.

Best Alternatives to Terminal for Mac


terminal on Mac

iTerm2 is a popular alternative to Terminal that offers a host of features that are not available in the default Terminal application.

iTerm2 is available for free and you can download it from the iTerm2 website. iTerm2 supports split panes, search, Paste History and a wide variety of customization options,…


terminal on Mac

MacTerm is a terminal emulator for macOS that supports true color and inline images. It also includes search and completion lists, notifications, and keep-alive. MacTerm can be customized to fit your needs and preferences. It is free software licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. You can extend MacTerm’s capabilities by installing Python 3.

MacTerm is a powerful terminal emulator that gives you plenty of options to customize your experience. You can install Python 3 to extend its capabilities even further. Whether you’re a power user or just getting started, MacTerm is a great choice for your terminal needs.


terminal on Mac

Hyper Terminal is an open source tool with a clean design and easy to use features. The focus of Hyper is on performance, extensibility, and ease of use. It is built on Electron, which is a framework for creating native applications using web technologies. This allows Hyper to be cross-platform and run on Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Hyper is fully extensible, which means that you can install themes and plugins to customize the look and feel of your terminal. There are many extensions available on npm, and you can install them from the command line. It also comes with a few built-in keymaps, but you can also create your own. The configuration is stored in JSON, which makes it easy to customize.,,

The source code for Hyper Terminal is available on GitHub. If you are interested in contributing to the project, or simply want to browse through the code, you can find it here.


terminal on Mac

ZOC is a powerful and highly customizable SSH client and terminal emulator for macOS. ZOC allows you to open multiple sessions in tabs, which can be helpful if you need to work with multiple servers at the same time. You can also create folders to organize your address book, and color code your hostnames for easy identification.

ZOC also includes a scripting language with over 200 commands, so you can automate tasks or customize your workflow. It’s also fully compatible with Windows 10/11 and macOS 12 Monterey. Plus, it’s administrator friendly, making it easy to deploy and configure.

It offers free 30 days, so you can try it before you buy it. If you decide to purchase it, you can do so through their website. However, the fee is a bit high at $79.99 for unlicensed usage.


terminal on Mac

MacWise is a powerful terminal emulation program that supports multiple sessions, transparent windows, on-screen text selection, clipboard support, large font options, and more. It makes it easy to connect to and work with different hosts, or to run multiple sessions simultaneously.

MacWise also features page forward/back capability, support for ANSI color and Wyse 370 Esprit Color, and the ability to capture text and save it to a file. It is compatible with Monterey, Big Sur and backwards compatible to Sierra,…. It also offers built-in modem, Telnet / TCP/IP, SSH Secure Shell and Kermit support, as well as Serial ports via USB to Serial adaptor connectivity.

MacWise is a paid program, but it doesn’t offer a free trial. You can purchase a license for $95.


terminal on Mac

Byobu is a text-based window manager and terminal multiplexer. It was originally created to provide an enhanced user interface for the GNU Screen terminal multiplexer, but it has since been extended to support other terminal emulators as well.

Byobu provides a number of features that are not available in traditional terminal emulators, such as keybindings, configuration utilities, enhanced profiles,… Byobu is available on most Linux, BSD, and Mac distributions. It is not available on Windows.

PowerTerm InterConnect

terminal on Mac

PowerTerm InterConnect is a powerful terminal emulation software that supports a variety of hosts, including IBM Mainframe (zSeries), IBM AS/400,…. The user-friendly interface of this program includes drag-and-drop functions for simple data access, various file transport and printing options, and a Power Script Language for recording activities.

PowerTerm InterConnect supports over 30 languages, including English, German, French, Spanish, and more. This allows users to work in their native language and improves communication and productivity. However, the last updated was in 2019. So, it might not be the best idea to use this software if you’re looking for something that is regularly updated.

Bonus: Commander One

terminal on Mac

Commander One is a dual-pane file manager for macOS that offers a wide variety of features, including support for popular archive formats (ZIP, RAR, 7z), cloud storage support, and more. This app is one of the best FTP clients for Mac and can be used to connect to remote servers via SFTP, FTPS, and WebDAV.

It also includes a powerful search function that makes it easy to find the files you’re looking for, even if you don’t know their exact location. Commander One is available in both free and paid versions. The free version offers limited features, while the paid version (Commander One Pro) unlocks all the features and costs $29.99. There is also a 14-day free trial available for the Pro version.

Setapp is a subscription service that gives you access to a wide variety of Mac apps. A good news is that Commander One is included.

With Setapp, you pay a monthly fee of $9.99 and get access to all the apps in the catalog. There is also a 7-day free trial available, so you can try before you buy.

How to Open Terminal on Mac

In a previous post, we showed you how to open applications using Terminal. You can review that post to get started, or you can simply follow the steps below to open Terminal.

1. Find Terminal in Launchpad

terminal on Mac

From Launchpad, you can find Terminal by typing “terminal” in the search bar at the top of the screen. When Terminal appears, click on it to launch the application.

2. Find Terminal in Finder

If you are using Finder, you can find Terminal by opening the “Applications” folder. Once you have opened the “Applications” folder, locate the “Utilities” subfolder and open it.

terminal on Mac

Inside the “Utilities” folder, you will find the Terminal application. Double-click on Terminal to launch it.

3. Open Terminal from Spotlight

You can open Terminal by pressing the Command + Space bar keys and typing “Terminal.”

terminal on Mac

When Terminal appears in the search results, press Enter or click on it to launch the application.

4. Use Siri to open Terminal

You can ask Siri to “open Terminal” and she will launch the application for you.

More: Add Terminal to the Dock for Quick Access

You can also add Terminal to the Dock for quick and easy access. To do this, open Terminal and then drag the Terminal icon from the Applications folder to the Dock.

Top 8 Basic macOS Terminal Commands

1. How to Show hidden files and folders on Mac

By default, macOS keeps all files and folders that start with a “.” hidden from the Finder. This is usually done in order to keep things tidy and prevent accidental deletion of important files. However, there are times when you need to access/show these hidden files and folders.

Open the Terminal application. Type the following command and press Enter:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES

You will need to relaunch the Finder for the changes to take effect.

You can do this by holding down the Option key while clicking on the Finder icon in the Dock, or by pressing Command+Option+Escape to bring up the Force Quit dialog and selecting Relaunch from the list.

2. Check all active processes on Mac

To see all the processes that are currently running on your Mac, open the Terminal and type the following command:


This will give you a list of all the processes, along with information on the CPU usage.

3. Stop sleep mode on Mac

To disable sleep mode on your Mac, open the Terminal and type the following command:


4. How to Flush DNS cache on Mac

If you need to flush the DNS cache on your Mac, open the Terminal and type the following command:

dscacheutil -flushcache

This will clear the DNS cache and resolve any issues with domain name lookups.

5. How to Empty the Trash on Mac

If you want to empty the trash on your Mac, open the Terminal and type the following command:

rm -rf ~/.Trash/*

A new line will appear that warns you about “sure you want to delete all the files…” Type “y” and Enter. This will delete all the files in your Trash.

6. How to Restart the Finder on Mac

If you need to restart the Finder on your Mac, open the Terminal and type the following command:

killall Finder

This will kill the Finder process and relaunch it.

7. Login to VPS via SSH on Mac

If you need to login to your VPS via SSH on your Mac, open the Terminal and type the following command:

ssh username@server_ip

Replace “username” with your actual username (“root” is the default for most VPSs) and “server_ip” with the IP address of your VPS. This will connect you to your VPS via SSH.

If you need to connect a VPS with a port other than 22, use the -p option.

ssh -p 2222 username@server_ip

8. View Wifi Password on Mac

You can view the password for the Wi-Fi network you are currently connected to in Terminal. We have shared how to view Wifi password on Mac before in a different article. Take a look!

10/3/2023 – Update
  • Add more images and content to enhance the appearance of the post.

Wrapping Up

Terminal is a necessary part of any Mac workflow. There are a variety of different options to choose from, including the apps mentioned above. These are just a few of the most popular ones, but there are many more out there.

We hope this article has helped you learn more about the best terminal for Mac. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below. And if you know of any other great terminals that we didn’t mention, be sure to let us know about them as well!

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Jacob Duduvier

Have been using Rio terminal and just loving it

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