Open the Terminal on a Mac

We are going to show you how to open Terminal on Mac using several different methods.

Before you learn how to use Terminal on Mac, the first thing you need to know is how to open it. There are many different ways to open Terminal in macOS. We'll explain each of them below, starting with the fastest option.

Terminal on the Mac screen

1. Open the Terminal with Spotlight

Spotlight is the fastest way to find and open documents, folders, and applications on your Mac. Press Cmd + Space to open Spotlight and start typing terminal search for.

Terminal in Spotlight on Mac

You should see Terminal at the top of your search results, usually before you finish typing. Beat return to open it.

Check out our beginner's guide to the Terminal if you're not sure how to get started with the Terminal after you open it.


2. Open the terminal with the launchpad

Launchpad in macOS is the easiest place to view and organize your apps, including Terminal. Press F4 on the keyboard to open the launchpad. You may have to press Fn + F4 if the special functions on your function keys are deactivated.

Start typing terminal look for it and hit return as soon as you find it. Alternatively, click to open that Other Folder in Launchpad, then click terminal from this folder.

Another folder in the Mac Launchpad with Terminal

3. Open the terminal with Siri

You might not notice it, but you can use Siri to open apps on your Mac, just as you could use it to open apps on an iPhone. To do this, press and hold Cmd + Space To activate Siri, say "Open Terminal".

Siri in Mac with command to open the terminal

Siri takes a moment to process your request and then opens a new terminal window.

4. Open the terminal with the Finder

You can also use Finder to open Terminal in the Applications folder on your Mac. Open a new one finder Window and select Go to> Utilities from the menu bar. Then double click terminal to open it.

Terminal in the Applications folder in the Finder

Alternatively, choose Applications from the sidebar and open the Utilities Folders embedded in your apps to find Terminal.

5. Create a Terminal Dock shortcut

If you use Terminal a lot, you may want to create a shortcut in the Dock for faster access. You must first open the Terminal using one of the previous methods. Then drag and drop the terminal icon to a new position in your dock.

Terminal shortcut in the Mac Dock

Make sure to move the terminal to the other side of the terminal Current applications Divider. In the future, you can open Terminal on your Mac by clicking this shortcut.

6. Open the macOS Recovery Terminal

Sometimes you need to open Terminal in macOS Recovery startup mode to access or edit certain system files on your Mac.

To do this, press and hold Cmd + R. while your Mac starts to start macOS Recovery. Then go to Utilities> Terminal In the menu bar click on Terminal.

Terminal option in macOS Recovery

How to close the terminal

Once you're done using Terminal, it's best to close it again so your Mac doesn't waste power and keeps it open. Make sure that any commands you are running finish their jobs before attempting to close Terminal.

Use the red X. Click the button in the upper left of a terminal window to close that window but leave the terminal running. This is useful when you have multiple windows open in Terminal but you don't want to close all of them.

To close the terminal completely, including all open windows, press Cmd + Q. or go to Terminal> Exit Terminal from the menu bar.

Quit the Terminal option on the Mac menu bar

Learn all terminal commands for Mac

Now you know how to open Terminal on your Mac. You need to make sure that you learn all that you can use it for.

Check out our Terminal Cheat Sheet for a list of all of the commands available. Then enter one and press return to run it. Avoid typing errors though, as terminal commands can delete important Mac files or lead to other unwanted changes if you make a mistake.

Mac Terminal Cheatsheet

The Mac Terminal commands cheat sheets

macOS is an intuitive operating system so you won't have to spend a lot of time learning the basics. Knowing this, why should you learn and use the Unix command line available on your Mac …

About the author

Dan Helyer
(148 articles published)

Dan writes tutorials and troubleshooting guides to help people get the most out of their technology. Before becoming a writer, he earned a BSc in audio technology, oversaw repairs at an Apple store, and even taught English in China.

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