The macOS Terminal: Commands Every Mac User Should Know

The macOS Terminal: Commands Every Mac User Should Know

Mac users, like most computer users, don’t give much thought to the operating system’s Terminal window, which enables them to access various system settings and interface with the files stored on their computers. However, there are many commands in the macOS Terminal that Mac users can utilize to simplify their computing experience and gain more control over the files stored on their computers. This article goes over some of the most useful macOS Terminal commands every Mac user should know.

Navigate the terminal

Navigating the terminal can be a bit daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s actually pretty simple. Just remember that the basic commands are `cd` to change directories, `ls` to list the contents of a directory, and `pwd` to print the current working directory. To move up one directory, you can use the `cd ..` command. And to move to a specific directory, you can use the `cd` command followed by the path to that directory. For example, if you want to move to your home directory, you would use the command `cd ~`.

You can also create new directories using the `mkdir` command, and delete them using the `rmdir` command. Here are some other common commands you may find useful: `touch` to create an empty file or update the timestamp on an existing file; `cat` to display the content of a file; `mv` to rename or move files; and `rm` to remove files.

To quickly search for a text string in a directory, type in grep -i followed by what you’re looking for. If your desired text is stored in another file within the same directory, then use grep -l instead. It might take some time getting used to these basic terminal commands, but as with any skill worth mastering, practice makes perfect!

 Control processes

  1. The first step is to launch the Terminal, which you can find in the Utilities folder within the Applications folder. Alternatively, you can use Spotlight by pressing Command + Space and typing Terminal.
  2. To see a list of all running processes, type the following command and press Enter:

ps -A grep -v grep

  1. If you want to see more information about a specific process, you can use the top command. For example, to see more information about the Safari process, type the following command and press Enter:

top -pid $(pgrep Safari) This will display detailed information about the Safari process, including how much memory it is using, what it’s been doing recently, how long it has been running for, and its total CPU usage over time.

To quit out of top (without exiting from Terminal), just hit q.

To view all commands available in Terminal at any given time without entering anything on the prompt line, type man followed by whatever term you’re interested in. You’ll get an explanation for that particular command or function so that you know what it does. One very helpful option when working with many commands at once is tab completion.

It automatically fills in part of the name you’ve typed if there are other words that match. So if I type cd b and then press Tab, it would complete cd to cd/var/. Another helpful tip is piping with ‘ ‘. Piping sends the output of one command into another command as input, meaning that we can combine multiple terminal commands together into one easy-to-type-and-read sentence.

Customize your bash profile

Your bash profile is a script that runs every time you open a new terminal window. You can use it to customize your environment, set aliases, and automate tasks. To edit your bash profile, open a terminal window and type `nano ~/.bash_profile`. This will open the file in the nano text editor. Here are some things you can do to customize your bash profile – Set an alias for less to scroll down one page at a time with `alias less=’less -P’`

– Add sudo when opening an application with `sudo /Applications/

– Create two functions: One function makes sure there’s no whitespace after a period with ‘trim()’ and another function which highlights all occurrences of specified strings with ‘grep’

– Add echo statements which let you know how long the terminal has been running, how many words have been written into the current document, and whether or not syntax highlighting is enabled

**I’m not done yet! Check back soon for more!**

This is a great resource that should be in every Mac user’s reference library. Don’t forget to come back later and check out what else I have to add. To follow my updates on social media, click on one of these links below

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Get help in the terminal

There are a few ways to get help when using the macOS Terminal. The first is to use the man command, which will give you information on every command available in the terminal. If you want more specific information on a particular command, you can use the –help flag with most commands. For example, if you want to learn more about the ls command, you would type ls –help into the terminal. Finally, there is also an extensive online documentation for the terminal that can be found at Apple’s website.

Search for hidden files and folders

When you use the Finder, you only see files and folders that are in locations that you have permission to access. But what if you want to find a hidden file or folder? Or view all of the files on your system, regardless of whether or not they’re hidden? That’s where the Terminal comes in.

If you want to see all of the files on your system, use ls -a instead of ls. If you want to see a list of hidden items (items whose names start with dot), type ls -a. If you want to look for an item like this, but don’t know its name, enter find . The final step is just typing in the name of whatever it is that you’re looking for.

 Open, close, move, copy, and rename files and folders

One of the most basic Terminal commands is also one of the most essential: ls. This command lists all files and folders in the current directory. If you want more information about each file, you can add the -l flag, which will show you the permissions, owner, group, size, and modification date for each file.

If you want to open a file in the current directory, you can use the open command. For example, open myfile.txt would open the file myfile.txt in your default text editor.

Hide or show files and folders from Finder

Hiding files and folders on your Mac can be a great way to declutter your desktop or keep certain files private. Luckily, it’s easy to do right from the Finder. Simply select the file or folder you want to hide, then press Command+H (or choose File > Hide). The item will disappear from Finder windows, but will still be accessible via the Terminal.

If you ever want to unhide something, just press Command+Shift+H (or choose View > Show Hidden Files). You’ll need to enter your administrator password first, though. Keep in mind that some items are system-protected, so they won’t show up in Finder even if they’re hidden.

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