An A-Z Index of the Apple macOS command line (macOS bash)

A    
  afconvert Audio File Convert
  afinfo Audio File Info
  afplay Audio File Play
  airport Manage Apple AirPort
  alias Create an alias •
  alloc List used and free memory
  apropos Search the whatis database for strings
  asr Apple Software Restore
  atsutil Font registration system utility
  automator Run an Automator workflow
  awk Find and Replace text within file(s)
B    
  basename Convert a full pathname to just a filename
  bash Bourne-Again SHell
  bc Arbitrary precision calculator language
  bg Send to background •
  bind Set or display readline key and function bindings •
  bless Set volume bootability and startup disk options
  break Exit from a For, While, Until or Select loop •
  builtin Execute a shell builtin •
  bzip2 Compress or decompress files
C    
  caffeinate Prevent the system from sleeping
  cal Display a calendar
  calendar Reminder Service
  caller Return the context of a subroutine call •
  cancel Cancel print jobs
  case Conditionally perform a command •
  cat Concatenate and print (display) the content of files
  cd Change Directory •
  chflags Change a file or folder's flags
  chgrp Change group ownership
  chmod Change access permissions
  chown Change file owner and group
  chroot Run a command with a different root directory
  cksum Print CRC checksum and byte counts
  clear Clear terminal screen
  cmp Compare two files
  codesign Create and manipulate code signatures
  comm Compare two sorted files line by line
  command Run a command (not a function) •
  complete Edit a command completion [word/pattern/list] •
  continue Resume the next iteration of a loop •
  cp Copy one or more files to another location
  cpio Copy files to and from archives
  createhomedir Create and populate home directories on the local computer
  cron Daemon to execute scheduled commands
  crontab Schedule a command to run at a later date/time
  csplit Split a file into context-determined pieces
  csrutil Configure System Integrity Protection (SIP)
  cupsfilter Convert a file to another format using cups filters
  curl Transfer data from or to a server
  cut Divide a file into several parts
D    
  date Display or change the date & time
  dc Desk Calculator
  dd Data Duplicator - convert and copy a file, clone disks
  declare Declare variable & set attributes •
  defaults Set preferences, show hidden files
  df Display free disk space
  diff Display the differences between two files
  diff3 Show differences among three files
  dig DNS lookup
  dirname Convert a full pathname to just a path
  dirs Display list of remembered directories •
  diskutil Disk utilities - Format, Verify, Repair
  disown Unbind a job from the current login session •
  ditto Copy files and folders
  dot_clean Remove dot-underscore files
  drutil Interact with CD/DVD burners
  dscacheutil Query or flush the Directory Service/DNS cache
  dseditgroup Edit, create, manipulate, or delete groups
  dsenableroot Enable root access
  dsmemberutil View user and groups rights
  dscl Directory Service command line utility
  du Estimate file space usage
E    
  echo Display text on screen •
  ed A line-oriented text editor (edlin)
  enable Enable and disable builtin shell commands •
  env List or Set environment variables
  eval Evaluate several commands/arguments •
  exec Execute a command •
  exit Exit the shell •
  execsnoop Snoop new process execution
  expand Convert tabs to spaces
  expect Programmed dialogue with interactive programs Also see AppleScript
  export Set an environment variable •
  expr Evaluate expressions
F    
  false Do nothing, unsuccessfully
  fc Fix command (history)
  fdisk Partition table manipulator for Darwin UFS/HFS/DOS
  fdesetup FileVault configuration, list FileVault users
  fg Send job to foreground •
  file Determine file type
  find Search for files that meet a desired criteria
  fmt Reformat paragraph text
  fold Wrap text to fit a specified width
  for Loop command •
  fsck Filesystem consistency check and repair
  fs_usage Filesystem usage (process/pathname)
  ftp Internet file transfer program
  function Define Function Macros
  fuser List processes that have one or more files open
G    
  GetFileInfo Get attributes of HFS+ files
  getopt Parse positional parameters
  getopts Parse positional parameters •
  goto Jump to label and continue execution
  grep Search file(s) for lines that match a given pattern
  groups Print group names a user is in
  gzip Compress or decompress files
H    
  halt Stop and restart the operating system
  hash Refresh the cached/remembered location of commands •
  head Display the first lines of a file
  hdiutil Manipulate iso disk images
  history Command History •
  hostname Print or set system name
I    
  iconv Convert the character set of a file
  id Print user and group names/id's
  if Conditionally perform a command •
  ifconfig Configure network interface parameters
  iostat Report CPU and i/o statistics
  ipconfig View and control IP configuration state
  info Help info
  install Copy files and set attributes
  installer System software and .pkg package installer tool
  iosnoop Snoop I/O events as they occur
J    
  jobs List active jobs •
  join Join lines on a common field
K    
  kextfind List kernel extensions
  kextstat Display status of loaded kernel extensions (kexts)
  kextunload Terminate driver instances and unload kernel extensions.
  keytool Key and certificate management tool
  kickstart Configure Apple Remote Desktop
  kill Kill a process by specifying its PID
  killall Kill processes by name
L    
  l List files in long format (ls -l)
  last Indicate last logins of users and ttys
  launchctl Load or unload daemons/agents
  ll List files in long format, showing invisible files (ls -la)
  leave Remind you when you have to leave
  less Display output one screen at a time
  let Evaluate expression •
  lipo Convert a universal binary
  ln Make links between files (hard links, symbolic links)
  local Set a local (function) variable •
  locate Find files
  logname Print current login name
  login log into the computer
  logout Exit a login shell (bye) •
  look Display lines beginning with a given string
  lp Print files
  lpr Print files
  lprm Remove jobs from the print queue
  lpstat Printer status information
  ls List information about file(s)
  lsregister Reset the Launch Services database
  lsbom List a bill of materials file
  lsof List open files
M    
  man Help manual
  md5 Calculate a checksum for a file
  mdfind Spotlight search
  mdls List the metadata attributes for a specified file
  mdutil Manage Spotlight metadata store
  mkdir Create new folder(s)
  mkfifo Make FIFOs (named pipes)
  mkfile Make a file
  mktemp Make a temporary file
  more Display output one screen at a time
  mount Mount a file system
  msgs System messages
  mtree Map a directory hierarchy
  mv Move or rename files or directories
N    
  nano Simple text editor
  nc/netcat Read and write data across networks
  net Manage network resources
  netstat Show network status
  networksetup Network and System Preferences
  nice Set the priority of a command
  nl Number lines and write files
  nohup Run a command immune to hangups
  ntfs.util NTFS file system utility
  nvram Manipulate firmware variables
O    
  onintr Control the action of a shell interrupt
  open Open a file/folder/URL/Application
  opensnoop Snoop file opens as they occur
  openssl OpenSSL command line
  osacompile Compile Applescript
  osascript Execute AppleScript
P    
  passwd Modify a user password
  paste Merge lines of files
  pbcopy Copy data to the clipboard
  pbpaste Paste data from the Clipboard
  pbs General helper tool
  pdisk Apple partition table editor
  pgrep List processes by a full or partial name
  ping Test a network connection
  pkill Kill processes by a full or partial name
  pkgbuild Build a macOS Installer component package
  pkgutil Query and manipulate installed packages
  plutil Property list utility
  pmset Power Management settings
  popd Restore the previous value of the current directory •
  pr Convert text files for printing
  printenv List environment variables
  printf Format and print data •
  ps Process status
  pushd Save and then change the current directory
  pwd Print Working Directory •
Q    
  qlmanage Quick Look Server debug and management tool
  quota Display disk usage and limits
R    
  rcp Copy files between machines
  read Read one line from standard input •
  readonly Mark a variable or function as read-only •
  reboot Stop and restart the system
  ReportCrash Enable/Disable crash reporting
  return Exit a function •
  rev Reverse lines of a file
  rm Remove files
  rmdir Remove folder(s)
  rpm Remote Package Manager
  rsync Remote file copy - Sync file tree
S    
  say Convert text to audible speech
  screen Multiplex terminal, run remote shells via ssh
  screencapture Capture screen image to file or disk
  scselect Switch between network locations
  scutil Manage system configuration parameters
  sdiff Merge two files interactively
  security Administer Keychains, keys, certificates and the Security framework
  sed Stream Editor
  select Generate a list of items •
  seq Print numeric sequences
  serverinfo Server information
  set Set a shell variable = value •
  setfile Set attributes of HFS+ files
  sharing Create share points for afp, ftp and smb services
  shasum Print or Check SHA Checksums
  shift Shift positional parameters •
  shopt Set shell options •
  shutdown Shutdown or restart macOS
  sips Scriptable image processing system
  sleep Delay for a specified time
  softwareupdate System software update tool
  sort Sort text files
  source Execute commands from a file •
  spctl Security assessment policy/Gatekeeper
  split Split a file into fixed-size pieces
  sqlite3 SQL database (download history)
  srm Securely remove files or directories
  stat Display the status of a file
  stop Stop a job or process
  su Substitute user identity
  sudo Execute a command as another user
  sum Print a checksum for a file
  suspend Suspend execution of this shell •
  sw_vers Print macOS operating system version
  sysctl Get or set kernel state
  system_profiler Report system configuration
  systemsetup Computer and display system settings
T    
  tail Output the last part of files
  tab2space Expand tabs and ensure consistent cr/lf line endings
  tar Tape ARchiver
  tccutil Manage the privacy database
  tcpdump Dump traffic on a network
  tee Redirect output to multiple files
  test Condition evaluation •
  textutil Manipulate text files in various formats (Doc,html,rtf)
  time Measure Program Resource Use
  times Print shell & shell process times •
  tmutil Time Machine utility
  top Display process information
  touch Change file timestamps
  tput Set terminal-dependent capabilities, color, position
  tr Translate, squeeze, and/or delete characters
  trap Execute a command when the shell receives a signal •
  traceroute Trace Route to Host
  traceroute6 Trace IPv6 Route to Host
  trimforce Enable TRIM commands on third-party drives
  true Do nothing, successfully
  tty Print filename of terminal on stdin
  type Describe a command •
U    
  ufs.util Mount/unmount UFS file system
  ulimit limit the use of system-wide resources •
  umask Users file creation mask
  umount Unmount a device
  unalias Remove an alias •
  uname Print the Darwin OS Kernel version / release / machine name
  unexpand Convert spaces to tabs
  uniq Uniquify files
  units Convert units from one scale to another
  unset Remove variable or function names •
  until Loop command •
  uptime Show how long system has been running
  users Print login names of users currently logged in
  until Execute commands (until error)
  uuencode Encode a binary file
  uudecode Decode a file created by uuencode
  uuidgen Generate a Unique ID (UUID/GUID)
  uucp Unix to Unix copy
V    
  vi Text Editor
W    
  w Show who is logged on and what they are doing
  wait Wait for a process to complete •
  wait4path Wait for given path to show up in the namespace
  wall Write a message to users
  wc Print byte, word, and line counts
  whatis Search the whatis database for complete words
  whereis Locate a program
  which Locate a program file in the user's path
  while Loop command •
  who Print all usernames currently logged on
  whoami Print the current user id and name ('id -un')
  write Send a message to another user
X    
  xargs Execute utility - passing arguments
  xattr Display and manipulate extended attributes
  xcode-select --install = Install the command line developer tools
Y    
  youtube-dl Download video
  yes Print a string until interrupted
  zip Package and compress (archive) files.
  !! Run the last command again

Commands marked • are bash built-in commands. bash is the default shell, it runs under Darwin the open source core of macOS.
In macOS Catalina the default shell will change to zsh and in time this page will be updated to include that.

Discussion forum
See also: Websites, Books, Apps & Utilities for macOS.

“Mac OS X is a rock-solid system that's beautifully designed. I much prefer it to Linux” - Bill Joy


 
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