How to Open the Terminal on macOS

In this quick guide, you will learn how to open the terminal on macOS.

macOS Open Terminal

The terminal application is your command line tool for the Mac operating system. Using this tool, you can perform various tasks on your system you couldn’t do with the desktop interface.

For example, some applications can only be easily installed using the terminal on macOS such as the super useful Homebrew package manager.

Over the following couple of sections, we will show you a several ways you can easily open the terminal.

While macOS doesn’t have a specific keyboard shortcut to open the terminal like Ubuntu, several other simple methods exist.

Opening the Terminal using Spotlight

By far the easiest way to open the terminal on macOS is by using spotlight. Spotlight has been a key feature of macOS since the release of OS X Tiger that was released back in 2005.

Spotlight is a tool that allows you to search your Mac system for anything quickly. If you type in the name of an application, it will enable you to launch the application in a few short key presses.

For example, using this feature, all we need to do to open the command line is type “terminal” in Spotlight and press ENTER.

1. The easiest and quickest way to bring up Spotlight on macOS is to press COMMAND + SPACEBAR.

You can also open Spotlight by clicking the magnifying glass icon in the top-right of the screen.

Open Spotlight

2. With Spotlight now open on your Mac, type in “terminal” into the search box.

Search for Terminal

3. You should now be able to open the terminal on macOS by pressing the ENTER key

You can also click the “Terminal” application that should now be located at the top of the list.

Open Terminal on macOS using Spotlight

4. At this point, you should now have the terminal application open on your device.

Terminal Running on macOS

Open Terminal Through the Utilities Folder

If the Spotlight option isn’t working, you can also open the terminal on macOS by using Finder. Finder is the file browser for the macOS and enables you to quickly scroll through the Utilities available on your system.

1. Start by opening Finder on your Mac. Typically, this is the face icon in your dock.

Alternatively, you can also press OPTION + COMMAND + SPACEBAR to open Finder.

Open Finder

2. With Finder now open on macOS, clickGO” in the toolbar and select “Utilities“.

You can also press SHIFT + OPTION + U to go straight to this directory.

Change to the utilities directory

3. Now that you are in the utility’s directory, look for and double-click the “Terminal” icon to open the terminal on your macOS device.

Open the terminal on macOS using Finder

Using Launchpad to Open the Terminal on macOS

Another way of opening the terminal on macOS is through Launchpad. If you haven’t used this before, Launchpad is a place where you can easily find the applications installed on macOS.

1. Start by opening the Launchpad on your device.

Typically, this is easily accessed through the Dock, as shown below.

Open launchpad

2. If you don’t see the terminal application within your Launchpad, you can use the search bar at the top of the application.

Type in “terminal” (1.) in this search bar to look for the Terminal application.

Search for terminal in launchpad

3. After typing in “terminal“, click the application labeled “Terminal” to open it on your Mac.

Open terminal on macOS through Launchpad

How to use Siri to Open the Terminal on macOS

If you like to use your voice, you can even use Siri to open the terminal application on macOS. It can actually be one of the quicker ways to open the terminal.

1. First, you need to activate Siri on your Mac.

If you have it set up, you can start it by simply saying, “Hey Siri“. Alternatively, you can click the Siri icon in the top-right corner of your screen.

Activate Siri

2. After activating Siri, say, “Open the terminal“.

After Siri processes your question, it should immediately open the terminal on your Mac.

Talk to Siri to Open Terminal on macOS

Creating a Shortcut for the Terminal on the macOS

If you use the terminal on your Mac often, consider adding it as a shortcut on your Dock.

Adding it as a shortcut will pin it to the dock, allowing you to open the terminal quickly at any time.

1. To create a shortcut for the terminal on macOS, you must open it first.

Use one of the previously mentioned methods to open the terminal before proceeding with this section.

2. Once the terminal is open, hold CONTROL and click the terminal icon in the Dock. You can also simply right-click the icon.

Hover over terminal in Dock

3. After opening the context menu, hover over the “Options” label (1.).

You should see a few different options listed under this. You must now click the “Keep in Dock” option (2.).

Keep terminal in macOS dock

4. You can now easily open the terminal on your macOS device by clicking the terminal icon in the Dock.

Launch terminal on macOS from the Dock


Hopefully, you will now have learned how to open the terminal easily on your macOS device.

Please feel free to comment below if you have any issues opening the terminal on your Mac.

If you found this guide to be useful, check out our numerous other macOS guides.

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