I’m using iTerm2 (version 3.1.beta.5) and like it. But something that it has been doing for a while that's really annoying is that the command history is shared between tabs. E.g., in your first tab, run command foo and command bar, then go to your second tab and run say Hello, and then go back to the first tab; I would like and expect the up arrow to suggest bar and then foo, but instead it will suggest say Hello.

Is there a way to correct this behavior?

  • 2
    If you are using zsh, append these two lines to .zshrc : unsetopt inc_append_history and unsetopt share_history. – harrymc Sep 6 '17 at 6:42
  • @harrymc If you made this a full answer, I could accept & award bounty… I ended up finding superuser.com/a/412439/60337 which is really my answer. I’m an Oh My Zsh user – Alan H. Sep 6 '17 at 22:58
  • Done as requested. – harrymc Sep 7 '17 at 5:41
  • What about if you're using bash? – Ben Wilson May 3 '19 at 3:02

If you are using zsh, append these two lines to .zshrc

unsetopt inc_append_history
unsetopt share_history

From zshoptions(1) - Linux man page :


This options works like APPEND_HISTORY except that new history lines are added to the $HISTFILE incrementally (as soon as they are entered), rather than waiting until the shell exits.


This option both imports new commands from the history file, and also causes your typed commands to be appended to the history file (the latter is like specifying INC_APPEND_HISTORY).

The poster has indicated that this was rather the option he was looking for:


If this is set, zsh sessions will append their history list to the history file, rather than replace it. Thus, multiple parallel zsh sessions will all have the new entries from their history lists added to the history file, in the order that they exit.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    someone give this person a raise! – jaydel Feb 13 '19 at 14:13
  • working for me. – Tinkaal Gogoi May 19 at 12:48

You can set your HISTFILE environment variable to something unique, but what I do is simply unset it in my .bashrc file:

export HISTFILE=""

but I don't care to keep my history in a file. By unsetting, history is just kept in memory.

| improve this answer | |

Extra info to the perfect answer of harrymc.

This is not Iterm2 but a feature of zsh which gets activated by default if you use oh-my-zsh

(see: https://github.com/robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh/blob/master/lib/history.zsh)

So put these in your .zshrc file after source $ZSH/oh-my-zsh.sh (see harrymc's answer)

unsetopt inc_append_history
unsetopt share_history
| improve this answer | |

For Bash users, just add these two lines into your ~/.bashrc

shopt -s histappend
PROMPT_COMMAND="history -a;history -c;history -r;$PROMPT_COMMAND"

Make sure you open a new tab for this to take effect

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.