East of the Sun, West of the Moon


iTerm vs. Terminal

Filed under: OS X — Erwin @ 1:32 am

With the introduction of Leopard also came a refreshed Terminal application, which appears to be responding to some of the complaints that have driven people such as myself to using iTerm.

  • I see no keyboard shortcuts to directly go to the Nth tab in a window, for Terminal. In iTerm that is done using cmd-N (for values of N of 1 through 9).
  • In iTerm you can cmd-click on a URL and launch it in your preferred browser. In Terminal you get the same effect with first a right-click (or ctrl-click), then cursor down and hit enter. On the other hand, Terminal has a few more options in its context menu, like searching in Google or Spotlight.
  • Terminal has something called Window Groups. Nice, but aside from importing and exporting the data I don’t see an easy way to edit them? You can pick one of your Window Groups and start up with that. iTerm’s support for an AutoLaunch AppleScript looks more flexible in that respect. Maybe I just haven’t figured out how to do things The Apple Way?
  • In iTerm you have bookmarks with which you can define combinations of terminal/keyboard settings and initial command, allowing me to set up bookmarks for the various hosts I need to access via ssh on a daily basis. I see no way to do this in Terminal.

Please correct me if I’m wrong regarding any of this. 🙂


  1. I finally poked at Leopard’s Terminal.app — for about half a minute. I had totally forgotten that you said there’s no jump to tab N command keys, so when I discovered this for myself, I felt like they could have left out rendering of text in terminals and it’d do less to make it totally useless. 🙂

    Comment by Josh — 2007/11/3 @ 5:14 am

  2. I switched back from iterm to terminal and ‘screen’, using a fancy .screenrc I have tabs now too. Using keystrokes I can go to any tab. Also screen has the advantage of detaching and re-attaching.

    Comment by denis — 2008/1/23 @ 9:19 pm

  3. I know about screen, I’ve been using it for years on headless servers that I work with, but I don’t see how that can replace iTerm or Terminal’s real tabs. Is there some configuration trick that I’m missing here?

    Comment by Erwin — 2008/1/31 @ 10:09 pm

  4. put this in your .screenrc

    caption always
    caption string “%{kw}%-w%{wr}%n %t%{-}%+w”

    Comment by paul Roche — 2008/11/13 @ 12:01 am

  5. so, in Leopard’s terminal, Cmd+double click does not open URLs?
    it sure worked in terminal in prior versions…

    Comment by theperson10 — 2008/12/20 @ 3:52 am

  6. where is the fullscreen on terminal ? iterm => cmd+return

    Comment by pointbar — 2009/12/31 @ 11:48 am

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