12 Best Alternative Terminal Emulators for Mac in 2024

MacOS ships with a good terminal application as it is responsive and capable of handling virtually any command line task you throw at it. My issue with it, however, is that it isn’t as customizable or as cool-looking as many alternatives in the market.

Continuing my series of alternative applications for popular apps on different platforms, here is the list of the 10 best alternatives to the default terminal app on MacOS.

1. iTerm2

iTerm2 is a free and open-source terminal emulator that offers users a robust search tool coupled with auto-complete commands, multiple panes in independent sessions, multiple profile support, several customization options, etc.

iTerm2 - A Terminal Emulator for macOS
iTerm2 – A Terminal Emulator for macOS

2. Alacritty

Alacritty is a cross-platform terminal emulator with a strong emphasis on simplicity and performance, which uses the system’s GPU to accelerate its performance, works well out of the box, and is both free and open source.

Alacritty - OpenGL Terminal Emulator
Alacritty – OpenGL Terminal Emulator

3. Hyper

Hyper is a beautiful, completely customizable terminal emulator written from the ground up in JavaScript with the aim of providing users with a beautiful and extensible command line interface.

It is 100% free and open source and you can learn more about it in our article – Hyper – The Best Terminal App.

Hyper Terminal
Hyper Terminal

4. Terminator

Terminator is an open-source terminal app built with a focus on arranging terminals in grids. Its behavior is mostly based on the GNOME terminal with extra features for regular CLI users and sysadmins e.g. simultaneous typing in arbitrary groups of terminals, tons of keyboard shortcuts, etc. and it is free to use.

Terminator Terminal Emulator
Terminator Terminal Emulator

5. Kitty

Kitty is a speedy, feature-rich, GPU-based cross-platform terminal emulator, which has native support for tiling multiple windows side by side, startup sessions, multiple copy/paste buffers, function extension via Kittens (i.e. its plugins), focus tracking, OpenType ligatures, bracketed paste, etc.

Kitty - GPU Based Terminal
Kitty – GPU-Based Terminal

6. MacTerm

MacTerm is a powerful free and open-source terminal app built as a replacement for the MacOS terminal. It supports 24-bit color, notifications, a floating command line, iTerm2 image sequences and color schemes, and standard graphics protocols, among other features.

MacTerm - Terminal Replacement for macOS
MacTerm – Terminal Replacement for macOS

7. Byobu

Byobu is a free and open-source text-based terminal multiplexer and window manager with enhanced profiles, configuration utilities, convenient keyboard shortcuts, system status notifications, etc.

Byobu - Terminal-Multiplexer
Byobu – Terminal-Multiplexer

8. Zoc

Zoc is a professional terminal emulator for Mac and Windows platforms with an impressive list of features including tabbed sessions with thumbnails, over 200 commands of scripting language, communication via several protocols not excluding SSH, Rlogin, and SCP, an address book with folders and color-coded hosts, client automation with macro scripting, etc.

ZOC • SSH Client and Terminal Emulator
ZOC • SSH Client and Terminal Emulator

9. WezTerm

WezTerm is a highly customizable and GPU-accelerated terminal emulator and multiplexer. It provides an advanced and feature-rich terminal experience for developers, system administrators, and power users.

WezTerm offers a modern interface, various customization options, and powerful functionality to enhance productivity and efficiency in working with the command line.

WezTerm Terminal Emulator
WezTerm Terminal Emulator

10. Fig Terminal

Fig is a command-line utility that adds Visual Studio Code (VSCode)-style autocomplete functionality to your existing terminal. It aims to improve productivity and efficiency by providing intelligent suggestions as you type commands in the terminal.

Fig - Adds Autocomplete to Existing Terminal
Fig – Adds Autocomplete to Existing Terminal

11. Rio Term

Rio is a terminal emulator that is built with Rust, WebGPU, and Tokio runtime, which is designed to be highly performant and customizable, as it uses a hardware-accelerated GPU to render text, which results in a smooth and responsive experience.

Rio terminal renderer is based on a redux state machine, which allows for efficient updates to the terminal screen. It is also designed to be extensible, with support for plugins written in any language.

Here are some of the key features of Rio:

  • Hardware-accelerated GPU rendering.
  • Redux state machine for efficient updates.
  • Configurable to use as little or as much GPU as needed.
  • Extensible with plugins written in any language.
  • Supports both native desktop applications and WebAssembly.

Rio is still under development, but it is a promising terminal emulator with a lot of potential. If you are looking for a fast, customizable, and extensible terminal emulator, then Rio is worth checking out.

Rio Terminal
Rio Terminal

12. Warp Terminal

Warp is an innovative terminal for Mac, designed to enhance developer productivity. It offers a modern interface, lightning-fast performance, and integrates seamlessly with macOS, making command-line tasks more efficient and user-friendly.

Warp Terminal
Warp Terminal

Now you know all the cool terminal apps that you can replace the Mac Terminal with. Feel free to share your experience with us as well as add your suggestions and reviews in the comments section below.

Divine Okoi is a cybersecurity postgrad with a passion for the open-source community. With 700+ articles covering different topics in IT, you can always trust him to inform you about the coolest tech.

Each tutorial at GeeksMint is created by a team of experienced writers so that it meets our high-quality writing standards.

7 thoughts on “12 Best Alternative Terminal Emulators for Mac in 2024”

  1. I’m a big fan of *Warp* – beautiful interface, great tab completion feature, and more that I haven’t been able to find on other apps. You should consider adding Warp to your list!

    • @Pete,

      I completely agree with you! I’ve recently added Warp to the list, recognizing its outstanding features and user experience. It’s indeed a game-changer in the terminal world.

      Thanks for the recommendation!

      • All true, especially the embedded AI is quite powerful.

        I’m only a little baffled by having to create an account even to access my local system, I get why that is but it’s still quite weird.

    • @Roger,

      I agree, Rio is a great terminal emulator that should definitely be included in any list of the best terminal emulators.

  2. Tried iTerm2 and Kitty before, but now using Alacritty with Tmux. It has a much better performance than other terminals since it’s implemented in Rust.

    You could easily perform CPU/RAM benchmarks with various terminals by running `$ time tree /` on them.

  3. Tried several of the apps in the list and settled on iTerm2, which is native and has plenty of options.



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