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I have two old Macs, both have iTerm2 installed and could automatically restore window arrangement (tabs with different directories and colors) from last time after launch. I forget what configuration I've made for both.

Now I'm setting up a new Mac with iTerm2, but could never get "automatically restore window arrangement from last time" working there.

What I've tried:

  1. Compared with the working ones, check and set the preferences one by one;
  2. Cloned the working "~/Library/Preferences/com.googlecode.iterm2.plist";
  3. Preferences -> Profiles -> General -> Working Directory -> Reuse previous session's directory (but I think this impacts when you open a new tab, not for launch);
  4. Menu -> Window -> Save Window Arrangement -> and save it as default. But in this case, every time if I launch from start, iTerm always restore fixed window arrangement from the save. I don't want to save any pattern, I just want restore whatever I have from last time.

All the things I've tried could not make it work. Could anyone tell me what should I do please? Thanks a lot.

iTerm version: iTerm2-1_0_0_20140112

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One more hint: both of the working Macs, I haven't used any AppleScript, just checked some options in the preferences. – Jing Li Mar 8 '14 at 14:12
up vote 10 down vote accepted

In iTerm2's preferences (Cmd + ,), change General > Startup from Open Default Window Arrangement to Use System Window Restoration Setting.

In System Preferences, turn off General > Close windows when quitting an app.

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Thanks @George, that solves the problem! So the trick is to turn off one option in System Preferences which is outside app config. – Jing Li May 19 '14 at 5:49

I wrote a program designed to solve this pain point for myself, which allows you to create pre-defined layouts of panes and commands (for different projects/setups etc.) and then load them in iTerm whenever you want.

It is called iTermocil, and you can download it (and the source code) via Github:

enter image description here

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