The macOS Terminal is the app to use if you ever have the need or desire to dive into the back end of your operating system. Within it, you can write your own commands (with the proper coding, of course) to perform any number of basic and advanced operations. That makes it a good tool to know about if you want to change or control anything specific within your computer.
Even though the app is a great way to gain direct control of the software that allows you to interact with your computer, there are other ways to do that as well. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the best macOS Terminal app alternatives for users who want to explore what else is out there.
Upterm is a good alternative to the Terminal app. It kicks off this list because it’s the first option that I personally used and have the most experience with. It’s a terminal emulator that will give you a coding window similar to what you have with the standard Terminal app. However, it’s also an integrated development environment.
Upterm is an open source download that’s completely free to use. Just visit the site and follow the instructions on how to install the app on your computer. Its multi-functional use makes it a favorite for anyone experienced with coding. It’s also a good way to share terminal sessions with other users over a public internet connection.
Another good option is iTerm2. The design of iTerm2 aims to create a more modern take on your computer’s terminal function. In my opinion, it does a great job. It has some pretty cool features, such as split panes to run multiple sessions at once, hotkey windows that allow quick access to the app, and an autocomplete function that helps out novice coders.
You can also easily configure iTerm2 to your liking through customizable features within the terminal window it provides. This isn’t essential for the code you write, but it does make things a bit more fun to use and explore. The app is free to download and works with macOS 10.12 or newer. As an added bonus, it allows users to quickly report any bugs or problems they experience while using it.
If you’re experienced with running coding windows and want a capable alternative to the Terminal App, Terminator will have everything you need and more. This option will give you the power to run numerous coding windows laid out in any way you want, which is vital when dealing with complicated workflows.
In order to run Terminator on your Mac, you need to be using the Fink project and have your computer set up to run unstable software. After doing that, you’ll be able to download and install the free app and quickly put it to use. Key features of this one included the ability to arrange terminals in a grid, create tabs, drag and drop reordering, and saving multiple layouts.
Alacritty is another macOS Terminal App alternative that’s more than worth checking out. This one might be the easiest to use out of any on the list, which makes it great for anyone regardless of their coding experience. The app has a simple design, which is in large part what makes it so easy to use, and has a focus on power and performance.
In fact, Alacritty is probably the fastest terminal app you can find. If you want speed, this is the option to pick. It’s another open source app that’s totally free to both download and use. This is another excellent option that comes recommended for anyone who wants an intuitive interface for their coding needs.
If you love to customize things, Hyper is the terminal app for you. That is largely in part to the app being built and designed with Java, CSS, and HTML. You can take advantage of that fantastic customizability by installing different themes and plugins right from the command line within the app. It’s a fun way to learn how to improve your coding. It’s also a good option for anyone who wants their system set up just how they like it, from the commands on up.
Hyper allows you to create a unique command terminal within your system. That isn’t a necessity when trying to control everything within your OS, but it does give you the power to add a few cool personal tweaks to the process. As with so many other great Terminal alternatives, it’s open source option and free to download.
MacTerm is another quality alternative terminal app that doesn’t stray too far from the original. It does, however, give you some great upgrades over the built-in terminal app that allow for a customized (and slightly more interactive) experience within your command line. This option can easily become a straight-up replacement for the terminal app once you get a feel for it.
Key features of MacTerm include the ability to support 24-bit color, standard graphics protocols, floating command lines, and iTerm2 images and color schemes. Put all of that together and you have a reliable terminal app that gives you plenty of options. It’s free and open source as well.
If you’re not experienced with using the Terminal app on your Mac, take some time to research it before diving right in. Even though the app and all of the alternatives listed here will give you powerful control over your system, you can really mess things up if you aren’t careful. Coding and running your own system commands can be fun and rewarding, but you always want to do it right.
Do you have any great Terminal app alternatives? Are there any we missed? Let us know below!
Chris is a lifelong tech enthusiast with a broad range of interests including coding, data analysis, traveling, and more. He used to work as a software programmer immersing himself in the world of codes, now he finds it more interesting talking to real people.