How to Open Terminal on Mac in 5 Steps, with Photos

how to open terminal on mac

How to Open Terminal on Mac in 5 Steps, with Photos

Key Points

  • Terminal on Mac is a powerful tool that is often overlooked but can help with troubleshooting and customizability.
  • The Terminal app is a command-line interpreter that allows users to directly access and change parts of the operating system.
  • In addition to basic functions, the Terminal can make your Mac talk, force-quit applications, and manage storage media like hard drives.

Terminal on Mac is a powerful tool that often goes overlooked since it is hidden amongst a number of lesser-used applications. Fortunately, it is easy to find and open the Terminal app since Apple keeps it hidden in plain sight.

The average Mac user never uses Terminal because it is a command-line interpreter, like Command Prompt on Windows. However, many commands provide troubleshooting or even customizability. Now, let’s open Terminal and use it in just five simple steps.

Step 1: Select Launchpad from the Dock

how to open terminal on mac
The Launchpad icon features square tiles.


The first thing you need to do is turn on your Mac and go to the home screen. Then, look for the Launchpad, which has a logo with square tiles. The process is the same for all Mac devices, including both desktops and laptops; however, there may be some minor differences between various macOS versions.

Step 2: Go to the “Other” Folder

how to open terminal on mac
Locating the “Other” folder.


With the Launchpad open, you should see all of your installed applications. We’re looking for a folder titled “Other.” MacOS automatically creates this folder, and it contains several utilities that most people don’t use. If you are using an older version of macOS, then you can find the Terminal in the Applications folder.

Step 3: Open the Terminal App

how to open terminal on mac
The Terminal icon is at the end of the second row from the top.


Now, all you have to do is select the Terminal icon in the “Other” folder. The logo is a command prompt with a black background and white text. If the Terminal app does not appear, or you are having trouble locating it, go back to the main Launchpad page and type “Terminal” in the search bar.

Step 4: Run a Command

how to open terminal on mac
With the Terminal now open, we can run a command.


After clicking on the Terminal icon, a new window should open where you can run a command. Be very careful when using it, as settings can be easily changed, with no easy way to reverse the changes. Try to copy and paste lines of code directly into the Terminal to avoid making any mistakes. When you are ready to run a line of code, hit the Return key.

Step 5: Close the Terminal

how to open terminal on mac
Finished running the command.


Once you’ve finished running commands in the Terminal app, you can go ahead and close it. Use the red “X” button in the top left corner to close the window. Check to ensure that the Terminal is not running in the Dock by right-clicking on its logo and pressing “Quit” if available. Finally, check to see if the changes you made have taken effect.

What Is the Terminal?

The Terminal app is a command-line interpreter that allows users to directly access and change parts of the operating system. What you see as an operating system is a graphical user interface that allows for easy navigation rather than typing lines of code.

Although modern computers rely heavily on graphical user interfaces, there must still be a way to access the underlying code. This is where Terminal and Command Prompt come in.

Very advanced computer users rely heavily on the Terminal app to pull data and access system information that is otherwise unreachable. However, average computer users can also use it for an array of tasks.

What Can You Do with the Terminal?

You probably looked up how to open the Terminal for a specific use, so you might not know everything that it can do. One neat trick is that it can make your Mac talk to you. Simply type “say” followed by a space and words, and it will read them aloud.

Of course, there are more practical things you can do, like force-quitting applications. You can even download files without a web browser. But the most common uses involve managing storage media like hard drives, particularly corrupted ones.

Wrapping Up

If you are a Mac owner, then it is worth spending some time learning more about the Terminal app. You may even pick up coding as a hobby once you’ve mastered the basics. But those who only need to open it for one task will better understand the underpinnings of the macOS operating system.

How to Open Terminal on Mac in 5 Steps, with Photos FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Does Terminal come with all Macs?

Yes, Terminal is available on every version of macOS, including other operating systems that predate macOS. Terminal is already installed as part of the operating system, so you will never have to worry about downloading or installing it.

What should you do if you can't find Terminal?

There is a chance that the Terminal application icon was hidden or moved from its default location. The best way to locate it is with the search function in the Launchpad. But if that doesn’t work, you can open the Applications section in Finder and search for it there.

Why do I keep getting errors in Terminal?

The most common reason for errors in Terminal is incorrectly typing a command. Check to make sure that the command is correct and pay close attention to spacing. If that doesn’t work, you should double-check that it is an acceptable command.

Can you run multiple Terminal windows at once?

Yes, it is possible to run multiple Terminal windows at the same time. However, you should do this with caution, as it can cause conflicts if you make changes.

How do I know if changes made in Terminal worked?

You typically don’t get a confirmation that your code worked. However, you will get an error message if it cannot be completed. The best way to ensure any changes made in the Terminal worked is to manually check to see if they took effect.

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