Is there even a Terminal? I can't seem to find one anywhere in Applications or Utilities.


Before Mac OS X, Mac OS wasn't even Unix based. Steve Jobs liked things simple and easy, so much so that he forced it on users, instead of giving them the option for advanced or simple. (This still happens with things like iOS, but I won't get into that.)

Mac OS 9 and below DOES NOT have a terminal. Even if it did, it would probably have its own special set of commands, as, like I said before, Classic is not Unix-based like OS X. Classic also didn't have a true filesystem. I believe HFS was introduced some time with OS 7, but even then the OS did a lot of the sorting. Even with a limited filesystem, it was nothing like Unix's filesystem, so there would be none of the files you might expect.

I believe that the only reason OS X has a terminal is because the CLI environment is native to Unix, and there was pressure from consumers to include a terminal. The only reason the terminal is usable is because OS X is a Unix OS and takes much of its CLI tools from its base.

  • So there's nothing even like a terminal? – Zac Jul 4 '16 at 17:52
  • nope, nothing even close. – Tetsujin Jul 4 '16 at 17:53
  • oh, that's a shame – Zac Jul 4 '16 at 17:54
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    @Zac it is a shame, but a G3 will run OSX 10.5.8, if somewhat slowly. It's not the most recent OS, and not compatible with much, but it at least has a Terminal and the Unix features. – TheWanderer Jul 4 '16 at 17:55

There is no terminal, Mac OS 8.5 [& in fact all the way from 1 - 9] is not unix-based at all.

The Unix/BSD/Darwin kernel & its attendant Terminal came with Apple's transition to OS X [Mac OS X as it was originally known, macOS as it will be known from later 2016]

From Wikipedia: OS X

OS X is based on technologies developed at NeXT between the second half of the 1980s and Apple's purchase of the company in late 1996.
OS X's core is a POSIX compliant operating system built on top of the XNU kernel, with standard Unix facilities available from the command line interface. Apple has released this family of software as a free and open source operating system named Darwin.


Not completely correct. They had a console environment, the MPW Shell (or Macintosh Programmer’s Workshop Shell), which was very nicely done, with screen editing features combined with terminal features. Fun fact, it distinguished Return and Enter keys. One was used as newline, the other to execute the line. It came with both compilers and common command line tools

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    Providing more details on this item, which OSes it was included with, and information on HOW one accessed this may make this a better answer, especially considering several other answers emphatically state that no such terminal/shell existed. – music2myear Dec 10 '18 at 18:43
  • a good starting point would be downloading it from one of the few existing mirrors, like <staticky.com/dl/ftp.apple.com/developer/Tool_Chest/…> mounting the disk image and copying that to a hard disk. Then just double click the “MPW Shell” app and you will be in. The splash page gives a brief tutorial on some commands. It should even be possible to find MacPerl and some other classic unix tools still around some mirrors. Hope this helps – IridiumFX Dec 11 '18 at 20:29
  • Then this is not an answer. OP was not asking for extra software to add a terminal-like environment, they were asking for a terminal built-in to the OS, and the MacOS versions noted in the question are not UNIX-based and so "classic unix tools" won't work. Further, rather than adding information in comments, you should use the EDIT button to add the information to the body of your answer. – music2myear Dec 12 '18 at 18:07

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