Apple’s Terminal app on the Mac is a great tool for diving into the command line, but it isn’t the only option available. The Mac Observer rounded up several alternatives to Terminal you can use to flex your macOS command line muscles.
Most people can use their Macs without ever needing to dive under macOS’s graphic interface. If you need to, or just want to, get some command line action going on the first place to go is Apple’s own Terminal app. It’s hiding in the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder on your Mac.
If the Terminal app doesn’t get you all excited, check out these alternatives:
iTerm2 lets you slice up a single window into multiple panes, each with its own independent session. It also sports a robust search tool, auto-complete for commands, multiple profile support, and more. iTerm2 is a free download, and the developers accept donations.
Upterm calls itself “A terminal emulator for the 21st century.” It’s both a terminal app and an IDE, or integrated development environment. In other words, you can bang out terminal commands and code in the same app. Upterm used to be called Black Screen. It’s a free download.
Terminator lets you group together multiple terminal windows in a grid. In fact, you can make some ridiculously complicated layouts if you want. It also supports tabs, and you can even type in multiple terminal instances at the same time. Terminator is a free download.
PowerShell Core lets you work with Microsoft’s PowerShell automation framework and work with the command line at the same time. The idea was to make a tool IT teams can use to automate routine tasks and configure systems, but it’s useful outside of that scope, too. PowerShell Core is a free download.
Alacritty is a terminal app that gets a boost from your Mac’s GPU for better performance. It isn’t overloaded with features, but doesn’t cut out what you most likely need. The developers say its OpenGL support makes it the fastest terminal app around. Alacritty is a free download.
ZOC is a terminal app and SSH client. It emulates Emulations: xterm, VT220, TN3270, TN5250, Wyse, and QNX, plus supports communication SSH, Telnet, Rlogin, Modem, and Serial Cable. You can try out ZOC free for 30 days, and it’s priced at US$79.99.
MacTerm is billed as “a better Terminal” thanks to its tabbed window interface, 24-bit color support, powerful search support, macro support, session management, and more. MacTerm is free to download.
Cathode is a full-featured terminal app that looks decidedly old school with its retro CRT-like interface. You can customize how your terminal window looks and work in full-screen mode—a great way to really confuse people who like to look over your shoulder at coffee shops. The app is also a text editor, so it’s handy for people who don’t need to get at their Mac’s command line. Cathode is priced at $4.99 and is available for download at Apple’s Mac App Store.
Getting Started with the Mac Command Line
Even if you’re content with controlling your Mac from the graphic interface playing with the command line can still be fun, or at least educational. If you want to learn more about Terminal and getting started with the command line check out TMO’s list of the five best Terminal commands.