Mac Terminal

Last Updated: August 9, 2012

Definition - What does Mac Terminal mean?

The Mac Terminal is a command line interface (CLI) for Mac OS X available in all OS X versions through Lion. It is also a gateway to Unix, or the underlying operating system of OS X. Terminal allows users to modify various characteristics of their Mac desktops, fonts, files and more beyond the standard OS X graphical user interface (GUI). It allows for total customization and command. However, if novice computer users apply modifications incorrectly, this can harm the system or lead to a loss of data.

Located in the Mac Utilities folder, Terminal has a black icon with a gray border.

Techopedia explains Mac Terminal

The Mac Terminal is similar to the Windows Command Prompt. When accessed, a short message displays the user's previous login, identity associated with the login and the Mac that is in use. There is also a gray vertical bar, where commands may be typed by the user. However, nothing may happen when a user clicks the area with a mouse; the gray bar shifts automatically when the user starts typing.

Common commands that may be executed from the Terminal include:

  • ls: list files and directories
  • cd: change director
  • rm: remove files or directories

This definition was written in the context of Mac OS X
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