Terminal commands are used by many Mac geeks to control their Mac from the inside out, but they can be easily used by any Mac user. Why bother you may wonder? Well for an example, if your CD drive is not properly ejecting the disk, you can use a terminal command to push it out with no problem. These 5 terminal commands listed below will enable you to master specific commands that you would not be able to do otherwise on your Mac OS X. To start though, you will first need to know where Terminal is. So, to get started, go to your Applications folder, click Utilities and Terminal.

Getting Started: Use the Master List For Commands in Terminal

The first Terminal command you must master is the one that will show you how to find out every single command available on your system. The amount will vary from system to system, but the amount should be very large. Follow these steps to find your system’s commands:

  • Open up Terminal and press and hold the Escape button.
  • Display all 1420 possibilities? (y or n) type “y”.

In a second all the commands will be displayed in alphabetical order. You will have to the choice to select more at the bottom of the list. Before you can use these commands, it is very important to understand how to navigate your system using the command line. There are two different commands to start off with. The first one is to change directory command, (cd) and other one is list information command (ls). All the files exist within these directories.

Ready to Master Your Mac? Start With These Simple Terminal Commands

1) Get Software Updates

Software updates are very important on your Mac OS X. When you use the software update command you will get the most updated versions on Apple. You will want to make sure that right the correct code, so you don’t loose any important files on your Mac OS X system. The commands to use are: “sudo softwareupdate –i –a” or “sudo softwareupdate –i –r” (without the “”). Then you will be asked to put in a password if you have one set up for your system.

2) Use Activity Monitor

Another terminal command you must master is the activity monitor command. This command will allow you to monitor what is currently running on your Mac. The activity monitor is a great way to keep you up to date on where you are lacking memory and what applications are taking up the most space. Activity monitor will appear when you place the letters, top.

3) Hide Files

The most useful command line that can be used it to make your Desktop clean is to hide your files. To hide your files, you will want to use the command: chflags hidden `/desktop/*. Then if you want to reveal them again, use the command: “chflags nohidden ~/Desktop/*”.

4) Remove Jammed Disks

Jammed disks can occur sometimes. When this happens you can use Terminal to be able to safely remove the disk from the disk drive. To do this command in Terminal you will want to type in the following command: drutil try ejecting. Then press Enter and watch your disk come out and all of your disk drive problems disappear.

5) Shutdown

Are you ready to shut down your Mac? When you are done for the day you can turn off your Mac, or restart and place your Mac into sleep mode, from the command line. The main word to use is “shutdown” and then use the word “sudo” to execute it. To restart it you will need to add “–r”. To place the Mac in sleep mode you will add “–s”. If you want to add a certain amount of minutes you want before the process happens then you will add the number at the end, “+30” would mean 30 minutes. The command should look like, “$ sudo shutdown –s +30”.

Where a Mac Master Can Find Help For Terminal Commands

Terminal commands are great way to master other areas on your Mac besides these. There are numerous terminal commands that every Mac is capable to do, even ones you no doubt have never thought of. To find out how to use some of these commands, or to find help if you get stuck in command land, go to Apple Support and click through their terminal command info.

You need to be careful though my young Mac master. Because as cool as it may seem to be able to now be entering commands into your Mac like an expert Mac geek, you’re really not an expert and can screw things up faster than you can say “What the Mac happened?”. So be careful in what you enter into that command line or you’ll be the master of a dead Mac, and who wants that? So go now and be master these 5 terminal commands to see how they work for you!

50 Melisse Deering


Melisse Deering is a trained Mac expert as well as a passionate Mac user. She quickly realized the significance of Mac’s user friendliness and advanced features, motivating her to become an avid user and sequentially an expert.