How to Open Terminal on Mac

Mac Terminal is a powerful application included with every Mac system. If you are interested in learning how to use it or just trying to follow some instructions that require it, you will first need to learn how to open it from your desktop. 

To open Terminal, all you have to do is find it in your list of applications and double-click it.

It may seem a bit scary at first. But once you get comfortable with Mac Terminal, you’ll have no problem jumping into a terminal session and running commands. Starting Terminal is very straightforward, and there are quite a few options to do it. I will show you how below.

My name is Eric, and as a Software Engineer, terminal applications like Mac Terminal are part of my everyday routine. In fact, for many tasks, I enjoy using a terminal interface more than a graphical user interface (GUI). 

If you want to see some of the easy options you can use to open Terminal on your Mac, keep reading below, and I will show the most popular ones.

Quickest Method to Open Terminal

As with any other app, you can quickly use Spotlight on your Mac to find and open it. Just follow the steps below for Mac Terminal.

Step 1: Open Spotlight

You can open the Spotlight search tool by clicking on the magnifying glass on the upper right side of your screen or hitting the command + space bar.

Step 2: Type Terminal in the Spotlight search field

Spotlight will open a small search field on your screen. As you start to type the word Terminal, you will see a drop-down list of choices to choose from. Click on as shown below.

Step 3: The Terminal App Will Open

The terminal app will open in a window on your screen, and you can begin running whatever commands you need to run.

Other Ways to Open Terminal

There are a variety of other ways you can open the Terminal application. You might want to try each of them to see which one you prefer.


Step 1: Click on the LaunchPad icon on the menu at the bottom of your screen.

Step 2: Type Terminal in the search field at the top of the screen.

Step 3: When you see the Terminal app show up, click on it to start it.

Use Finder

Step 1: Open Finder from the menu at the bottom of the screen.

Step 2: Click on the Applications tab on the left side of the screen.

Step 3: Click on the Utilities folder to expand it.

Step 4: Double-click on to start it up.

Use Siri

If you have Siri running, just say, “Siri start Terminal”.

Create a shortcut

If you find yourself using Terminal often, you might want to just create a shortcut on your desktop or pin it to your dock. Take a look here for more information on how to create shortcuts with your Mac’s shortcut app.


Here are the common questions we get about Mac Terminal.

Is Mac Terminal the only command-line app available?

No, there are many other third-party terminal applications available. Many have more features and can do other things. Type terminal in the AppStore, and you will see many of them.

Can I open Mac Terminal in Recovery Mode?

Yes, you definitely can. Once you are in recovery mode, the terminal application is available from the Utilities menu at the top of the screen.

Is it Possible to open Mac Terminal Directly from the Login Screen?

This does work on some Macs but not all. You can always give it a try. At the login screen, choose Other. For the username, type >console and then hit enter. If it works, it will start up a command-line environment.


You can open the Terminal app using the Spotlight search, LaunchPad, Finder, or ask Siri to open it.  

Learning how to open Mac Terminal may be your first step in getting familiar with the application. I hope the steps above have helped you learn how to start up this powerful tool.

As usual, let me know if you have any questions. I would love to hear from you!

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