10 Beginners Commands for macOS Terminal Usage

New to the Apple line of Mac Computers? Want to know how to make use of the macOS Terminal application? Let's cover some basics for the macOS Terminal and learn 10 Beginners Commands.

What is a Terminal?

The Terminal is an application that is built into all Apple computers (iMac, Mac Mini's) and laptops (MacBook Air's and Pros), it is an application that provides test-based access to the operating system. Just the way you access your computer using the User Interface, you can make use of the Terminal to fire some commands and perform certain actions.

The default shell in macOS is Zsh shell, you can also choose/switch to other shells like Bash, tsch, or bash.

How to open the Terminal?

There are various ways in which you can open the Terminal application,

  1. Spotlight Search:Click Spotlight search icon next to your menu time - type Terminal, open the app.
  2. Using Finder: Open Finder, Go to Application -> Utilites and look for Terminal
  3. Keybroad Shortcut: Press Command + Space and type Terminal, open the app.

10 Beginners Commands for macOS Terminal

  1. pwd command: To know the present working directory.
    code2care@mac ~ % pwd
    code2care@mac ~ % 
    1. macOS Terminal pwd command
    1. macOS Terminal pwd command
  2. cd command: To change the current directory. Example if you want to move from the correct location to the Documents directory type cd /Users/your-user/Documents
    code2care@mac Documents % cd /Users/code2care/Documents 
    code2care@mac Documents % pwd
    code2care@mac Documents % 
    2. macOS Terminal cd command
    2. macOS Terminal cd command
  3. ls command: Displays the list of files and directory in current location you are in,
    code2care@mac Documents % ls
    ErrorLogs	JVM.key		books		myApp
    Gradle.key	VPC.key		c2c notes
    code2care@mac Documents % ls -ltrh
    total 17528
    drwxr-xr-x   2 code2care  staff    64B Feb 13 12:57 c2c notes
    -rwx------@  1 code2care  staff   3.0M Feb 19 22:30 VPC.key
    -rw-r--r--   1 code2care  staff   130K Feb 28 00:18 ErrorLogs
    -rwx------@  1 code2care  staff   3.4M Mar  6 00:03 JVM.key
    -rwx------@  1 code2care  staff   1.9M Apr 10 00:57 Gradle.key
    drwxr-xr-x@ 11 code2care  staff   352B Apr 11 14:00 myApp
    drwxr-xr-x   7 code2care  staff   224B Apr 11 14:01 books
    3. macOS Terminal ls command
    3. macOS Terminal ls command
  4. clear command: this command will clear the screen.
    code2care@mac Documents % clear
    4. macos ls command
    4. macos ls command
  5. touch command: to create a file.
    code2care@mac Documents % touch sample.txt
    5. macOS Terminal touch command
    5. macOS Terminal touch command
  6. cal command: to display the calendar,
    code2care@mac Documents % cal
         June 2021        
    Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa  
           1  2  3  4  5  
     6  7  8  9 10 11 12  
    13 14 15 16 17 18 19  
    20 21 22 23 24 25 26  
    27 28 29 30
    6. macOS Terminal cal command
    6. macOS Terminal cal command
  7. cat command: to display the contents of a file,
    code2care@mac Documents % cat sample.txt 
    is my
    file with 
    some text in 
    it on my MacBook Pro
    7. macOS Terminal cat command
    7. macOS Terminal cat command
  8. uptime command: This command will tell you how long your Mac has been running before the last shutdown.
    code2care@mac Documents % uptime
    17:09  up 4 days, 19:35, 2 users, load averages: 1.52 1.50 1.45
    8. macOS Terminal uptime command
    8. macOS Terminal uptime command
  9. mkdir command: To create a new directory,
    code2care@mac Documents % mkdir myDir
    code2care@mac Documents % cd myDir 
    code2care@mac myDir % pwd
    code2care@mac myDir % 
    9. macOS Terminal mkdir command
    9. macOS Terminal mkdir command
  10. history command: to display the list of last ran commands on terminal,
    code2care@mac myDir % history
     1029  clear
     1030  touch sample.csv
     1031  who
     1032  pwd
     1033  clear
     1034  cal
     1035  clear
     1036 ls -ltrh
     1037  nano sample.txt
     1038  cat sample.txt
     1039  clear
     1040  uptime
     1041  clear
     1042  mkdir myDir
     1043  cd myDir
     1044  pwd
    10. macOS Terminal history command
    10. macOS Terminal history command

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