How to Open Terminal in Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide


Ted Stinson

Opening Terminal on a Mac is a quick and straightforward task. All you need to do is find and launch the Terminal application, which is located in the Utilities folder within your Applications. Following these simple steps will have you accessing the command line interface in no time.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Open Terminal in Mac

Before we dive into the steps, let’s clarify what we are aiming to achieve. Terminal is a program on your Mac that allows you to interact directly with the operating system using text-based commands. It can be incredibly useful for various tasks, from simple file management to complex programming.

Step 1: Click on the Finder icon

Clicking on the Finder icon, usually located on the Dock, will open a window where you can access your files and applications.

Finder is your gateway to everything on your Mac. It’s where you can find your files, applications, and other resources. Think of it like your digital file cabinet.

Step 2: Navigate to the Applications folder

Once in Finder, look for the Applications folder and click on it to open.

Your Applications folder is where all the programs installed on your Mac are located. It’s like the app drawer on a smartphone, but for your computer.

Step 3: Scroll down to find the Utilities folder and open it

In the Applications folder, you’ll find another folder named Utilities. This is where the Terminal app is located.

The Utilities folder is like a toolbox for your Mac; it contains all the system maintenance and configuration apps you might need.

Step 4: Look for Terminal and double-click to open it

In the Utilities folder, you will see the Terminal application. Double-clicking on it will launch the program.

The Terminal app has a black icon that looks like a command prompt. Just double-click on it, and you’re ready to start typing in commands.

After completing these steps, you will have successfully opened Terminal on your Mac. You’ll see a window with a text prompt, waiting for you to enter a command.

Tips for How to Open Terminal in Mac

  • You can quickly open Terminal by using Spotlight. Just press Command + Space and type "Terminal."
  • Another quick method is to use the Launchpad. Click on the Launchpad icon and type "Terminal" in the search box.
  • For easy access, you can pin the Terminal to your Dock by right-clicking on the icon and selecting Options > Keep in Dock.
  • You can also open Terminal from any folder in Finder by right-clicking and selecting Services > New Terminal at Folder.
  • If you’re a keyboard shortcut fan, you can create a custom keyboard shortcut to open Terminal via System Preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Terminal used for on a Mac?

Terminal is used for executing commands and scripts, managing files, and performing various system tasks directly through a command-line interface.

Is Terminal the same as Command Prompt on Windows?

They serve similar purposes but have different commands and syntax. Terminal is for macOS, while Command Prompt is for Windows.

Can I damage my Mac using Terminal?

If you’re not careful with the commands you type, you can potentially harm your system. Always double-check commands before executing them, especially if you’re copying and pasting from the internet.

Do I need to know programming to use Terminal?

Not necessarily. There are many simple commands that don’t require programming knowledge. However, having some understanding of command-line basics can be very helpful.

Can I customize the appearance of Terminal?

Yes! Terminal allows you to change the background color, text color, font, and more through its Preferences.


  1. Click on the Finder icon.
  2. Navigate to the Applications folder.
  3. Open the Utilities folder.
  4. Double-click on Terminal to open it.


Mastering how to open Terminal in Mac can open up a whole new world of capabilities for your Mac. This incredibly powerful tool allows you to interact directly with the operating system, perform complex tasks, automate processes, and much more. It can be a bit intimidating at first, but with a bit of practice, you’ll become a command line whiz in no time.

Remember, the key to successfully using Terminal is to be cautious and double-check your commands. The command line is a powerful tool, but with great power comes great responsibility. Mistyping a command can lead to unintended consequences, so it’s important to understand what you’re typing or at least verify the source of the commands you’re using.

If you’re new to Terminal or command-line interfaces in general, start with simple tasks and gradually work your way up to more complex ones. There are many resources available online, from beginner’s tutorials to advanced scripting guides, that can help you expand your knowledge and skills.

So, next time you want to dive a little deeper into your Mac’s capabilities, remember that Terminal is just a few clicks away. Whether you’re looking to automate repetitive tasks, access hidden features, or just explore the underbelly of macOS, Terminal is a gateway to a world of possibilities. Give it a try, and who knows what you’ll discover!