Best Terminal Emulator for Mac

The terminal, console, or command line interface (CLI) is a powerful utility designed to work with operating systems and software on a deeper level than with a classic visual interface. But it’s a must for users to know their way around commands to execute them smoothly. Because it’s primarily used to execute various hidden commands and tasks that are otherwise inaccessible. And macOS has an in-built Terminal utility that works just fine on its own.

But the native macOS Terminal utility is not as advanced as some skilled users want it to be. Therefore, they usually install a more complex terminal alternative that has additional features and functionality. Obviously, every user wants to have the best solution. And our short guide is there to help you choose one for yourself.

Reasons to Use Terminal Emulators for Mac

best terminal emulator for mac

Basically, if you want to use an alternative terminal interface via non-native software, it means that you already know how to use a native one and want enhanced functionality from it. And that’s why the best terminal on mac is different for each user, and the choice hardly depends on the needs and tasks the user needs to complete. And with most terminal emulators available for free, there’s no reason to confine yourself to the native one.

Best Terminal Emulators for Mac

Most of the alternatives to macOS Terminal have a whole list of similar advantages, despite being better than their counterparts in particular areas. Firstly, they’re all highly configurable; you can adjust the UI however you need and make it comfortable for your eyes and aesthetic sense. Also, most of the alternative terminal utilities are way more user-friendly and increase productivity by leaps and bounds with all those shortcuts, plugins, and so on.

Commander One

Commander One review

Actually, it’s not a terminal emulator in the broadest sense. Because it’s an alternative to the Finder file manager in the first place. But this file manager for mac has an in-built, highly functional, fully configurable terminal emulator. You can open the Commander One Terminal using a dedicated hotkey, and you can even run it straight from the Commander One file manager app.


ZOC review

Terminal Emulator that can work as both a CLI and a Telnet/SSH/SSH2 client for Mac. This alternative to the native Terminal is perfect for working with networks and supports a variety of related functions, including rollbacks, multi-session work with separated processes, various script languages, and a lot of other features. So it will serve as an ideal way for a network engineer to improve the macOS user experience.


MacTerm review

A fancier alternative for a ZOC is a Telnet/SSH/SSH2 client with terminal functionality. It was previously known as MacTelnet and is one of the best alternatives to the native Terminal utility if you want to work with networks. And it has an actual UI instead of a plain terminal window, so not all old-school network engineers will like it. But it’s a relatively minor flaw that’s more a matter of personal preference and is actually not important in light of its vast functionality.

PowerTerm InterConnect

PowerTerm InterConnect review

PowerTerm InterConnect is a user-friendly terminal emulator for macOS that enhances the native app to the fullest. It supports a variety of hosts and mainframes, from UNIX and IBM to Wyse and Televideo. Along with supporting network utilities like Telnet and Microsoft SNA.


iTerm review

Fully packed with quality-of-life improvements, iTerm is one of the closest things to the vanilla native Terminal utility used in macOS. But you can’t call it basic because it has a wide variety of features that could be used to configure its UI and usability however you want, from tabs and rollback to full-screen mode and independent processing.


If you need an alternative terminal emulator to replace the native macOS utility, you have a lot of options. And your choice will basically depend on what you need from it and what degree of configurability you want from it. For instance, if you need a powerful all-in-one solution with an integrated file manager, you should use Commander One without hesitation; it has basically everything you might need from the Terminal utility, supports cloud services along with remote servers, and can work with various archive formats as an improved file manager alternative to the native Finder.

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