A Beginner’s Guide to Terminal on macOS

In this beginner’s guide, we’ll cover the basics of using Terminal on macOS, including how to open it, navigate the file system, and run simple commands.

If you’re a Mac user, you’ve probably heard of Terminal, the built-in command-line interface that lets you interact with your computer using text commands. Although Terminal might seem intimidating at first, it’s a powerful tool that can help you perform a wide range of tasks, from basic file management to complex system administration.

Opening Terminal

To open Terminal on macOS, you can use one of the following methods:

  1. Open Finder and navigate to Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal.
  2. Use the Spotlight search feature (command + spacebar) and type in “Terminal.”
  3. Use the Launchpad to find and open the Terminal.

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Navigating the File System

Once you have Terminal open, you’ll see a command-line prompt that looks like this:

`your-computer-name:~ your-username$`

The first part of the prompt shows the name of your computer, and the second part shows your current working directory (in this case, the tilde “~” represents your home directory), followed by your username and the “$” symbol, which indicates that you’re using a regular user account.

To navigate the file system, you can use the following commands:

  • `pwd`: Shows your current working directory.
  • `ls`: Lists the contents of the current directory.
  • `cd`: Changes your working directory to the specified directory.
  • `mkdir`: Creates a new directory with the specified name.
  • `rm`: Deletes the specified file or directory.
  • `mv`: Moves the specified file or directory to a new location.
  • `cp`: Copies the specified file or directory to a new location.

Running Simple Commands

Once you’re comfortable with navigating the file system, you can start running simple commands to perform various tasks. Here are some examples:

  • `date`: Displays the current date and time.
  • `echo`: Prints a message to the terminal window.
  • `cal`: Displays a calendar for the current month.]\
  • `top`: Shows a real-time view of the system’s processes.
  • `ping`: Sends a network packet to a specified IP address or hostname to check for connectivity.


While Terminal might seem daunting at first, it’s an incredibly useful tool for any macOS user who wants to become more efficient and productive. With a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to perform a wide range of tasks using simple text commands, and you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.

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Harish Kumar

As a founder of the PcMac YouTube channel and website, Our goal is to provide Free Technical help to people and spread knowledge to everyone.
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