Installing iTerm on a Mac

Most operating systems come with a built-in terminal application. Macs comes with one simply named "Terminal", however, I've chosen to use a popular alternative terminal emulator named "iTerm". If you want, you can use the built in Terminal application to perform all of the functions I'll describe in this series. However, iTerm has some additional functionality not present in the default terminal application. So, in this video, I'll show you how to install and configure iTerm on a Mac.

  • You can download iTerm from by clicking the big download button at the bottom of the homepage.
  • Once you've done that, unzip that file and drag and drop the "iTerm" application into your "Applications" folder for permanent storage.
  • At this point, you can safely delete the zip file that iTerm came in.

Let's go ahead and open up iTerm by going to the "Applications" folder and double clicking "iTerm". Your system will ask if you're sure you want to open this file, and you do, so click "Open".

Now, as I'm recording this video, the version of iTerm that you get when you click that big button is actually version 2.0 because it's the "Last stable release". However, there have been updates since then, including bug fixes for Yosemite, so the first thing I'm going to do is install the updates.

  • Click "iTerm" in the menu
  • Click "Check For Update"
  • Check the box to "Automatically download and install updates in the future"
  • Click "Install Update"
  • Click "Install and Relaunch"
  • Click "OK"

Now that we're up to date, there are a number of settings you can change to affect the way iTerm works and behaves for you. Since most of them will be personal preference, I won't go through all of them. I will however, change a few of these to suit my preference.

  • To view the preferences pane click iTerm the menu and select preferences.

I won't make any changes in the "General" section or the "Appearance" section but I will make a few changes in the profiles section.

  • Select the "Profiles" section
  • The first thing I'll do is go to the "Colors" section. Once there, I'll click "Load Presets", and select "Pastel (Dark Background)". This is definitely just a personal preference and you can try any of these color presets or create your own combination, but it's the one that I use for my own work, so I'll use it for the series.
  • I won't make any changes in the "Text" section.
  • In the "Window" section I will change the default number of columns for new windows to be 140.
  • In the "Terminal" section I'll change the number of "Scrollback Lines" to be 10,000. This will just allow me to scroll back through more of my previous commands when I'm working in the terminal.

Those are all the changes that'll make to the preferences, but feel free to look through the rest and make the changes that you think will help you out.

Now, I'll close the "Preferences" window, close this terminal window, and click "Shell" from the menu and click "New Window". We'll see the Terminal window is wider, which confirms that it has picked up our new preferences. At this point, we're ready to continue the series.