Mac Terminal app is a powerhouse for users who want to dive deep into their operating system, execute commands, and automate tasks. But did you know that there are alternative terminal emulators which can enhance your experience even further? In this article, we will explore the top five alternative applications for Mac Terminal that can supercharge your command-line experience.
Top Mac Terminal Emulators
From iTerm2 to Hyper, Kitty Terminal, and Alacritty, we will walk you through their prominent features, helping you to choose the one that best suits your needs. Make sure to download and install the correct app based on whether you use Intel or Apple chip on your Mac.
iTerm2 is a robust, and highly customizable terminal emulator for macOS. It offers a plethora of features that go beyond the standard Terminal app. With its powerful split panes, you can effortlessly multitask by running multiple terminal sessions side by side with just a keyboard shortcut. This is particularly handy when you are working on coding projects that require constant testing and debugging.
Moreover, iTerm2’s search and autocomplete functionalities will significantly boost your productivity by making it easier to find and execute commands.
This Terminal emulator app has a lot of standout features, including:
- Split Panes for Multitasking: As mentioned, iTerm2’s split panes empower you to work on multiple tasks concurrently. You can slice the terminal horizontally or vertically in any arrangement. To split a pane vertically, use the keyboard shortcut “Command + D” and use “Command + Shift + D” for horizontal pane splitting.
- Powerful Autocomplete: iTerm2 makes it really easy to search and execute commands with autocomplete feature. You can type a keyword and press “Command + ;” keys to view auto suggestions in a dropdown.
- Customizable Keyboard Shortcuts: Simply press “Command + ,” keys to open the app “Preferences” and navigate to “Keys” tab. Here, you can see all existing key bindings and adjust them to better suit your preferences.
- Hotkey Window: It is possible to setup a keyboard shortcut to bring iTerm2 app to the front whenever you want. Under the “Keys” tab in app’s settings, go to “Hotkey” section and click on “Create a Dedicated Hotkey Window…” button. Provide your hotkey combination for triggering iTerm2 app.
Go to official iTerm2 website to download the app or use the following command via Homebrew:
brew install --cask iterm2
Hyper is a beautiful, modern, and highly extensible Terminal emulator that stands out for its sleek design and abundant customization options. Its interface not only looks great but also makes it super easy to add plugins and themes, enhancing your overall Terminal experience.
Some of the prominent features of Hyper are:
- Built with web technologies (Electron and React) for flexibility: Hyper leverages Electron and React to provide a highly flexible and customizable terminal emulator that feels familiar to web developers.
- Plugins: Hyper offers a wide range of plugins that let you customize and enhance terminal’s features. What’s even better is that you can easily install these plugins with just one simple command. For instance, if you want to add a plugin called “hyperpower”, all you need to do is type ‘hyper i hyperpower‘ into your terminal and press enter key.
- Themes: Hyper provides a variety of themes that allow you to personalize and style your terminal to your liking. Similar to the plugins, you can install a hyper theme just by executing a single command. For instance, ‘hyper i verminal‘ will install a theme named verminal. You can explore the available themes and plugins for Hyper to create your favorite command-line setup.
Simply visit Hyper’s official website to download Hyper and experience these features for yourself.
3. Kitty Terminal
Kitty Terminal is the next Terminal emulator app for Mac in our list known for its speed and is favorite among developers who demand high performance. Beyond its speed, Kitty Terminal offers a range of features that cater to power users.
- GPU Rendering: Kitty Terminal utilizes GPU rendering for swift and smooth text rendering. It also enhances performance by using threaded rendering.
- Tiling Window Manager: Its tiling window manager feature helps you multitask efficiently by arranging terminal sessions in tabs. Just press “Command + T” to open a new tab and “Command + W” to close the tab.
- Ligatures and Unicode Support: Kitty Terminal seamlessly handles ligatures, a wide range of Unicode characters, and emojis, enhancing its versatility. Just press “Ctrl + Shift + U” in the app to access these characters:
Visit GitHub releases page and select the appropriate version for your system to download Kitty Terminal on your Mac.
Alacritty is an open-source, cross-platform, lightweight, blazing-fast Terminal emulator. It aims to provide a no-nonsense command-line experience, making it an excellent choice for users who value simplicity and speed.
Here are a few notable features of Alacritty:
- Designed for simplicity and speed: Alacritty does not overwhelm you with excessive features or settings. It is a minimalistic Terminal that just works fast. It ships out with a minimal configuration and dependencies mean you spend less time setting up and more time getting things done.
- Vi Mode: The Vi mode in Alacritty lets you navigate the Terminal’s viewport and scroll back using keyboard commands. To activate it, you can use the default key combination “Control + Shift + Space”.
- Fast Search: Alacritty’s search enables you to locate specific content within the Terminal’s scroll back buffer. You can initiate a forward search by pressing “Control + Shift + F” and perform a backward search by using “Control + Shift + B”. Apart from this, you can search in Vi mode using “/” for a forward search and “?” for a backward search.
Visit the official GitHub repository to download Alacritty app.
Terminator is the last Terminal emulator app for Mac in our list. It is a feature-rich app that excels in managing multiple Terminal sessions with its split Terminal functionality. It is a valuable tool for users who juggle various tasks and need an organized workspace.
Here are some of the key features of Terminator app for Mac.
- Powerful split Terminal feature: Divide your Terminal window into multiple panes, each running its own command, for efficient multitasking.
- Tabbed interface for managing multiple Terminals: Easily switch between different Terminal sessions within a single window, keeping your workspace organized.
- Advanced customization through profiles: Create distinct Terminal environments tailored to specific tasks, ensuring a personalized experience.
- Scripting support for automation: You can also use the power of scripting to automate repetitive tasks and streamline your workflow.
You can install the Terminator by using the following homebrew command:
brew install terminator.
As you can see, there are many powerful Terminal emulator apps available for Mac if you do not like the default command-line interface. Each of these apps offers unique features and advantages, from advanced customization to lightning-fast performance and innovative multitasking capabilities. Whether you are a developer, sysadmin, or power user, there is a Terminal emulator on this list that can use to take your Mac Terminal experience to the next level.