Becoming a Power User: Advanced Mac Terminal Commands

mac terminal

If you are a Mac user, you are probably familiar with the Terminal application. While it might appear intimidating at first, the Terminal is a powerful tool that can greatly enhance your productivity. In this article, we will explore some advanced Mac Terminal commands that will help you become a power user.

1. Aliases

Aliases are a great way to save time and simplify commonly used commands. To create an alias, open the Terminal and type:

alias [alias_name]='[command]'

For example, if you frequently use the 'ls -la' command to list all files with detailed information, you can create an alias like this:

alias lla='ls -la'

Now, every time you type 'lla' in the Terminal, it will execute the 'ls -la' command. You can define as many aliases as you like to suit your needs.

2. Remote Connections

The Terminal allows you to establish remote connections to other servers. This can be useful for managing remote systems or transferring files. Two commonly used commands for remote connections are ssh and scp.

To establish a secure shell (SSH) connection with a remote server, use the following command:

ssh [username]@[server_address]

For example:

ssh john@

This will prompt you for the password associated with the username you provided.

Similarly, to securely copy files between your Mac and a remote server, you can use the scp command:

scp [file_path] [username]@[server_address]:[destination_path]

For example, to copy a file named test.txt from your local machine to a remote server:

scp ~/Desktop/test.txt john@

3. Process Management

When working in the Terminal, it's often necessary to manage running processes. Here are three important commands for process management:

  • ps: This command displays information about active processes. By default, it shows a list of processes running in the current Terminal session. You can use the -e flag to show all processes running on your Mac.
ps -e
  • kill: This command allows you to terminate processes. You can specify a process ID (PID) or use the -name flag to kill a process by name.
kill [PID]
killall [process_name]
  • top: This command provides real-time monitoring of system processes. It displays a list of active processes, CPU usage, memory consumption, and more.

4. Text Manipulation

The Terminal provides powerful tools for manipulating text. Here are two essential commands for text manipulation:

  • grep: This command is used to search for specific patterns within files. It can be particularly useful when searching through large log files or code repositories.
grep [pattern] [file_path]

For example, to find all occurrences of the word 'error' in a log file:

grep "error" log.txt
  • sed: This command is a stream editor that allows you to perform text transformations. It can replace text, delete lines, insert text, and more.
sed 's/[old_text]/[new_text]/' [file_path]

For example, to replace all occurrences of 'apple' with 'orange' in a text file:

sed 's/apple/orange/' fruits.txt


By familiarizing yourself with these advanced Mac Terminal commands, you can take your productivity to the next level. Aliases can save you time by simplifying complex commands, remote connections enable you to manage remote systems efficiently, process management commands help you control running processes, and text manipulation commands allow you to manipulate and search through files with ease. So start exploring the power of the Terminal and unlock its full potential as a Mac power user!

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