How to Access Terminal on Mac: A Beginner’s Guide

Starting to navigate a new operating system can be a daunting task, but not to worry! In this article, we will guide you through the process of accessing your Mac’s terminal step by step. Whether you’re a student, a developer, or someone who is just curious about the capabilities of your Mac, accessing your terminal is an important skill to have. So let’s dive in and learn how to access terminal on Mac!


Step 1: Open your Finder

The first step is to open your Finder by clicking on the blue face icon located on your dock. Alternatively, you can click on the desktop and select “New Finder Window” from the drop-down menu.

Step 2: Locate “Applications”

Next, locate the “Applications” folder on the left-hand side of your screen. It should be the second option below “Favorites” and above “Desktop.”

Step 3: Select “Utilities”

Once you have located the “Applications” folder, select it and scroll down until you find a folder named “Utilities.”

Step 4: Open “Terminal”

Double-click on the “Utilities” folder to open it, and then find “Terminal” and double-click on the icon to open it.

Step 5: Use Spotlight

You can also use Spotlight to quickly open “Terminal.” Simply click on the magnifying glass icon located in the top right corner of your screen, type “Terminal” into the search bar, and then click on the “Terminal” application that appears.

Step 6: Use the Terminal Shortcut

Another method to quickly open the “Terminal” application is to use the keyboard shortcut “Command + Spacebar” to open Spotlight, type “Terminal” into the search bar, and then press “Enter” to open the application.

Step 7: Create a Shortcut on Your Dock

If you frequently use the terminal, you can create a shortcut on your dock for quick access. Simply locate the “Terminal” application using the steps above, then click on the icon and drag it down to your dock. You can also right-click on the icon and select “Keep in Dock” for easy access.

Step 8: Use Keyboard Shortcuts

To quickly open or close tabs on the terminal, use the following keyboard shortcuts:

– Open new tab: “Command + T”
– Close tab: “Command + W”
– Switch between tabs: “Command + [tab number]”

Step 9: Customize Your Terminal Window

You can customize the look and feel of your terminal window by accessing the “Preferences” menu. To do so, click on “Terminal” in the menu bar, then select “Preferences” from the drop-down menu.

Step 10: Learn Basic Terminal Commands

Now that you have accessed your terminal, it’s time to learn some basic commands to get started. Here are a few commands that you can try out:

– “ls” – List all files and folders in the current directory
– “cd” – Change directory
– “mkdir” – Make a new directory
– “touch” – Create a new file
– “rm” – Delete a file or directory
– “cp” – Copy a file or directory
– “mv” – Move a file or directory

Step 11: Learn More Advanced Terminal Commands

Once you have become comfortable with the basics, you can move on to more advanced terminal commands. Two great resources for learning advanced commands are the “man” command and the online documentation provided by Apple.

Step 12: Practice and Experiment

The best way to become proficient with the terminal is to practice and experiment. Try out different commands and see what happens. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, as long as you’re not working with critical files.


Now that we have gone through the steps to access terminal on Mac, let’s dive a little deeper into the meaning and importance of the terminal. The terminal, also known as the command line or shell, is an interface that allows users to interact with their computer using text-based commands. It is a powerful tool that can be used for a variety of tasks, such as automating repetitive tasks, navigating the file system, and managing system settings.

One of the biggest advantages of using the terminal is the speed and efficiency it provides. Simple tasks such as renaming multiple files can be done in a fraction of the time it would take to do it through a graphical user interface (GUI). Additionally, the terminal provides access to system functions that are not available through the GUI, making it an indispensable tool for advanced users and developers.

Tips & Tricks

1. Use Tab Completion

Tab completion is a feature that allows you to complete a command or file name by pressing Tab. This saves time and reduces the risk of typo errors.

2. Use Aliases

Aliases are custom shortcuts for frequently used commands. For example, you can create an alias for “ls -la” and name it “ll” so that you can execute the command by simply typing “ll” into the terminal.

3. Use Command History

The command history feature allows you to easily access previously executed commands. Pressing the up arrow key will cycle through your command history, allowing you to quickly recall and reuse commands.

4. Use Command Substitution

Command substitution allows you to use the output of one command as the input of another. For example, you can use the “grep” command to search for a specific string within a file, and then use that output as the input for the “sort” command to sort the results.

5. Use Pipes

Pipes allow you to take the output of one command and use it as the input for another command. For example, you can use the “ls” command to list all files and folders in a directory, and then use the pipe symbol “|” to send that output to the “grep” command to search for a specific file.

6. Use Wildcards

Wildcards are special characters that allow you to match patterns of file names and directories. For example, the asterisk “*” can be used to match any string of characters, while the question mark “?” can be used to match a single character.

7. Use Control Sequences

Control sequences are special key combinations that can be used to perform functions within the terminal. For example, “Ctrl + C” will interrupt a running command, while “Ctrl + Z” will pause a command and put it in the background.

8. Use Terminal Multiplexers

Terminal multiplexers, such as “tmux” and “screen,” allow you to run multiple terminal sessions within a single window. This can be useful for managing multiple tasks at once and maximizing screen real estate.

9. Use Text Editors

Text editors, such as “nano” and “vim,” allow you to edit files directly within the terminal. This can be useful for making quick edits to configuration files and scripts.

10. Back Up Your Files

While the terminal is a powerful tool, it can also be dangerous if not used carefully. Always make sure to back up your files before making any system changes or executing potentially destructive commands.

Advantages of Accessing Terminal on Mac

Terminal is a powerful tool that allows Mac users to execute various commands and perform various tasks easily and efficiently. Here are some of the advantages of accessing Terminal on Mac:

1. Faster and more efficient than using GUI-based tools.
2. Provides access to a wider range of system-level settings and functions.
3. Provides a platform for installing, configuring and updating applications and software packages.
4. Enables users to create and run custom scripts to automate repetitive tasks.
5. Provides a powerful platform for network troubleshooting and configuration.
6. Allows for customization of the user interface, including the ability to change fonts and themes.
7. Provides a command-line interface for programming languages such as Python and Ruby.
8. Provides a way to explore the file system in detail and perform maintenance tasks.
9. Improves productivity by allowing users to perform tasks more quickly and easily.
10. Provides a platform for educational purposes to learn how a computer works and how to program.

Disadvantages of Accessing Terminal on Mac

Despite its many advantages, accessing Terminal on Mac also has some disadvantages worth considering:

1. Can be overwhelming for beginners or those unfamiliar with the command-line interface.
2. Requires a basic understanding of Unix-based operating systems.
3. Can be dangerous if used improperly and can cause irreversible damage to the system.
4. May require installation of additional software packages to access all features and functions.
5. Can be difficult to learn and require extensive practice to master.
6. May require memorization of specific commands or syntax.
7. May not be user-friendly for those accustomed to graphical user interfaces.
8. Can be time-consuming if used to perform simple tasks that can be done more quickly through other means.
9. May not be suitable for all users, particularly those who need specialized software not available through the command-line interface.
10. May be intimidating for users who prefer more user-friendly software interfaces.

Despite its disadvantages, accessing Terminal on Mac provides a powerful platform for a wide range of tasks and is worth learning for those who want to get the most out of their computer.


1. What is a terminal in Mac?

A terminal is a command-line interface through which you can access and control various features of your Mac. It allows you to execute commands and perform tasks that are not possible through the graphical user interface.

2. How do I access the Terminal on my Mac?

You can access the Terminal in two ways:

  1. Open the Finder, go to Applications, then Utilities, and double-click the Terminal app.
  2. Press Command + Spacebar to open Spotlight, type “Terminal” and press Enter.

3. What is the default shell in Terminal?

The default shell in Terminal is Bash (Bourne-Again SHell).

4. How do I change the default shell in Terminal?

You can change the default shell in Terminal by going to Terminal -> Preferences -> General, and selecting a different shell from the “Shells open with” dropdown menu.

5. How do I navigate through directories using Terminal?

You can navigate through directories using the following commands:

  • cd [directory] – Change to the specified directory
  • cd .. – Move one directory up
  • cd – – Change to the previous directory
  • ls – List the contents of the current directory

6. How do I create a new file using Terminal?

You can create a new file using the touch command followed by the filename and extension. For example, to create a new text file named “myFile.txt”, type: touch myFile.txt

7. How do I open a file using Terminal?

You can open a file using the open command followed by the filename and extension. For example, to open a text file named “myFile.txt”, type: open myFile.txt

8. How do I search for a file in Terminal?

You can search for a file in Terminal using the find command followed by the filename or partial filename. For example, to search for a text file that contains the word “report” in its name, type: find . -name ‘*report*.txt’

9. How do I connect to a remote server using Terminal?

You can connect to a remote server using the ssh command followed by the username and IP address or domain name of the server. For example, to connect to a server with the IP address as user “john”, type: ssh [email protected]

10. How do I transfer files to or from a remote server using Terminal?

You can transfer files to or from a remote server using the scp (secure copy) command followed by the source (local) and destination (remote) file paths. For example, to copy a file named “myFile.txt” from your local computer to the home directory of user “john” on a remote server with IP address, type: scp myFile.txt [email protected]:~

11. How do I terminate a process in Terminal?

You can terminate a process in Terminal using the kill command followed by the process ID (PID) of the process you want to terminate. For example, to terminate a process with PID 12345, type: kill 12345

12. How do I view the history of commands used in Terminal?

You can view the history of commands used in Terminal by typing the history command in Terminal. This will display a list of the most recent commands you have executed in Terminal.

13. How do I clear the Terminal window?

You can clear the Terminal window by typing the clear command in Terminal. This will remove all previous output from the Terminal window. Alternatively, you can press Command + K to clear the Terminal window.

How to Access Terminal on Mac

Terminal is a command-line interface that enables you to control and configure your Mac in a variety of ways. It is a powerful tool that allows you to carry out complex tasks, automate processes, and troubleshoot issues on your Mac. In this article, we will show you how to access Terminal on Mac so that you can start using it to your advantage.

Conclusion and Closing

Learning how to access Terminal on Mac is essential if you want to take full advantage of your Mac’s capabilities. Terminal is a powerful tool that can save you a lot of time and effort if you know how to use it effectively. Whether you are a developer, a system administrator, or just a curious user, Terminal can help you accomplish your goals more efficiently and conveniently.

To access Terminal on Mac, you can use any of the methods we have described in this article. You can use Spotlight search, launch Terminal from the Utilities folder, or create a shortcut in your Dock. Once you have launched Terminal, you can start typing commands and executing scripts to control your Mac’s behavior and customize its settings.

We hope that this article has been helpful in showing you how to access Terminal on Mac. If you have any questions or comments about this topic, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Thank you for reading, and we wish you the best of luck in using Terminal to enhance your Mac experience. See you soon!