How to Open the Terminal on a Mac

How to Open the Terminal on a Mac

Mac Terminal App Icon

While using a Mac, sometimes you need to dig deep into settings or perhaps pull off some developer-grade command-line tasks. For that, you’ll need the Terminal app to access the command-line on macOS. Here’s how to launch it.

How to Open Terminal Using Spotlight Search

Perhaps the easiest and quickest way to open Terminal is through Spotlight Search. To launch Spotlight, click the small magnifying glass icon in your menu bar (or press Command+Space).

Click the magnifying glass icon in the menu bar to launch Spotlight Search.

When the Spotlight Search bar pops up on your screen, type “” and hit Return. Or you can click the icon that appears.

Open Spotlight Searcha and type "" then hit enter.

Terminal will launch, and you’ll be ready to go.

How to Open Terminal from Launchpad

You can also open Terminal quickly from Launchpad. If you have Launchpad in your dock, click the rocket ship icon—or press “F4” on your keyboard to launch it.

Click Launchpad in your Mac's dock to launch it.

When Launchpad opens, type “Terminal” and hit return. Or you can click the “Terminal” icon.

Open Launchpad and type "terminal" then hit enter.

The Terminal app will open.

How to Open Terminal from Your Applications Folder

If you’d prefer to go launch Terminal from the program icon in Finder, you’ll usually find it located in the /Applications/Utilities folder. This is its default location on fresh installations of macOS.

To open Terminal from your Applications folder, click your desktop to bring Finder into focus. In the menu bar, click “Go” and select “Applications.”

Click "Go" in Finder and Select "Applications."

Your Applications folder will open. Scroll through until you find the “Utilities” folder. Double-click the “Utilities” folder to open it. Inside, you will find Terminal.

Double click the Terminal icon in the Applications/Utilities folder.

Double-click the icon and the Terminal will open.

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Keep the Terminal in Your Dock for Faster Access

After launching Terminal, if you’d like to quickly access it again in the future, you can choose to keep its icon in your Dock. Just right-click the Terminal icon on your Dock and select “Options > Keep in Dock.” The next time you need to run Terminal, just click its Dock icon. Have fun on the command line!

Starting with macOS Catalina, the default command-line shell is Zsh, but you can switch back to the Bash shell if you prefer it.

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Lucila is a freelance writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to study new things. She enjoys checking out the latest grammar books and writing about video games more than anything else. If she's not running through Colorado’s breathtaking landscape, she's indoors hidden away in her cozy game room trolling noobs and leveling up an RPG character. She is a Final Fantasy IX apologist (although she loves them all… except XV), coffee aficionado, and a bit of a health nut. Lucila graduated from Western Kentucky University with a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing.

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