MacOS ships with a good terminal application as it is responsive and capable of handling virtually any command line task you throw at it. My issue with it, however, is that it isn’t so customizable or as cool-looking as many alternatives in the market.
Continuing my series of alternative applications for popular apps on different platforms, here is the list of the 10 best alternatives to the default terminal app on MacOS.
iTerm2 is a free and open source terminal emulator that offers users a robust search tool coupled with auto-complete commands, multiple panes in independent sessions, multiple profile support, several customization options, etc.
Alacritty is a cross-platform terminal emulator with a strong emphasis on simplicity and performance. It uses the system’s GPU to accelerate its performance, works well out of the box and is both free and open source.
It is 100% free and open source and you can learn more about it in our article here.
Terminator is an open source terminal app built with a focus on arranging terminals in grids. Its behaviour is mostly based on the GNOME Terminal with extra features for regular CLI users and sysadmins e.g. simultaneous typing in arbitrary groups of terminals, tons of keyboard shortcuts, etc. and it is free to use.
Kitty is a speedy, feature-rich, GPU-based cross-platform terminal emulator. It has native support for tiling multiple windows side by side, startup sessions, multiple copy/paste buffers, function extension via Kittens (i.e. its plugins), focus tracking, OpenType ligatures, bracketed paste, etc.
MacTerm is a powerful free and open source terminal app built as a replacement for the MacOS terminal. It supports 24-bit color, notifications, a floating command line, iTerm2 image sequences and color schemes, and standard graphics protocols, among other features.
Byobu is a free and open source text-based terminal multiplexer and window manager with enhanced profiles, configuration utilities, convenient keyboard shortcuts, system status notifications, etc.
Zoc is a professional terminal emulator for Mac and Windows platforms with an impressive list of features including tabbed sessions with thumbnails, over 200 commands of scripting language, communication via several protocols not excluding SSH, Rlogin, and Wse, an address book with folders and color-coded hosts, client automation with macro scripting, etc.
Cathode is a fully customisable vintage-themed terminal application designed for accomplishing even the most complex command line tasks despite its somewhat playful appearance and styling options. It sells for $4.99 and also has a mobile version for iOS users that can connect to any Mac or SSH server.
TreeTerm is a file manager and terminal combined together into a single app with the file tree and terminal tab always in sync. It charges a one-time payment of 9.90 Euros but is free to try for 30 days – enough time to decide whether it meets your criteria.
Now you know all the cool terminal apps that you can replace the Mac Terminal with. Feel free to share your experience with us as well as to add your suggestions and reviews in the comments section below.
2 thoughts on “10 Best Alternatives for the MacOS Terminal App”
Tried iTerm2 and Kitty before, but now using Alacritty with Tmux. It has much better performance than other terminals since it’s implemented in Rust. You could easily perform CPU/RAM benchmarks with various terminals by running `$ time tree /` on them.
tried several of the apps in the list and settled on with iTerm2. it’s native and plenty of options.