iTerm2: Your Mac's Terminal, Upgraded!

iTerm2: Your Mac's Terminal, Upgraded!

Realm Hacking

6 min read

Hey there, tech-curious realmers! Ever stopped working for a mere second, gazed at your MacBook terminal, and thought, "I'm a kickass coder/hacker; why is my terminal such a peasant?" If that's a yes, then you've landed on the blog post set to turbocharge your MacBook's cool factor by +10 at least. 🚀

This guide will not only show you how to make your terminal look cool and all, but it will also show you how to evolve its actions to a new standard. Let's crank up our new terminal guide!

terminal hacker

⼻ 1. iTerm2 installation

Introducing iTerm2, the self-proclaimed macOS terminal replacement! With that application installed, you will literally start feeling sad when you accidentally open the traditional macOS terminal!

but why, meme

But why, you asked? Here is a small list of my favorite iTerm2 features:

  • Split Panes: Divide a tab up (horizontally || vertically) into multiple panes, each one showing a different session.
  • Hotkey Window: Decide which keyboard combination you like the most to bring up a quick terminal and set it up.
  • 🔎Search: A robust find-on-page feature. The UI stays out of the way. All matches are immediately highlighted. Even regular expression support is offered!
  • Configurability: A mind-boggling number of options lets you configure the terminal to suit you perfectly.

And that's just a few features that really stand out when I use iTerm on a day-to-day basis! The full feature list can be found here.

⼻ 2. Oh my Zsh! installation

Oh My Zsh' is an engaging, open-source framework steered by the community, designed for overseeing your Zsh setup. It is packed with countless beneficial functions, tools, plugins, themes, and several features that will certainly impress you...

Let's see how to get this bad boy up and running:

Open your new iTerm2 and choose an installation method.

Via cUrl

sh -c "$(curl -fsSL"

Via wget

sh -c "$(wget -O -)"

oh my zsh! installed

Ain't that a beauty?

⼻ 3. Setup important key mappings

By now we have a newly upgraded terminal experience on our hands, but there is something very important missing. When you are a coder like me you are used to using the MacBook's keyboard mappings, my favorites are:

  • ⌘ (command) + right/left: go to the end or the start of a command.
  • ⌘(command) + ⌫ (delete): delete entire line.
  • ⌥(option) + right/left: navigate command per word.
  • ⌥(option) + ⌫ (delete): delete command per word.

First, we need to open up our iTerm2 settings: Profiles > Pick Profile (Default) > Edit Profiles > Keys > Key Mappings. You should be here:

iTerm2 Settings for Key Mappings

To create a new key mapping or a preset we just have to click the (+) button next to the Presets and we get the following window pop:

iTerm2 Settings: new preset guide

Now all there's left to do is record our key combinations and let the terminal know what to trigger. Let's see all the aforementioned key mappings one by one.

Key Mapping: ⌘ + ⇨

  • Record the key mapping.
  • Click Action.
  • Search: Send Hex Code.
  • On the new input field put: 0x05.

Key Mapping: ⌘ + ⇦

  • Record the key mapping.
  • Click Action.
  • Search: Send Hex Code.
  • On the new input field put: 0x01.

Key Mapping: ⌘ + ⌫

  • Record the key mapping.
  • Click Action.
  • Search: Send Hex Code.
  • On the new input field put: 0x15.

Key Mapping: ⌥ + ⌫

  • Record the key mapping.
  • Click Action.
  • Search: Send Hex Code.
  • On the new input field put: 0x17.

Key Mapping: ⌥ + ⇨

  • Record the key mapping.
  • Click Action.
  • Search: Send Escape Sequence.
  • On the new input field put: f.

Key Mapping: ⌥ + ⇦

  • Record the key mapping.
  • Click Action.
  • Search: Send Escape Sequence.
  • On the new input field put: b.

⼻ 4. Setup Transparency and Colors

That's a personal setting that I like, it's just a small cosmetic change that takes the iTerm2 experience to a new level for me 🧐.


Navigate to Profiles > Pick Profile (Default) > Edit Profiles > Window and make the following changes:

  • Transparency: 15 - 20 (make sure to enable 'use transparency').
  • Blur: 10 - 15.

I really love this change, it makes out iTerm2 window look a bit like a glass.


Navigate to Profiles > Pick Profile (Default) > Edit Profiles > Colors and make the following changes:

  • click Color Presets: Pastel ( Dark Background )

Your terminal should look something like this:

iTerm2 with custom settings

I haven't changed anything else at the moment, but by all means, feel free to change whatever color setting you want. I mean... who doesn't want a terminal looking like Buggy the Clown?

Buggy the Clown from One Piece

Wrapping it up

With the tools and knowledge in your arsenal from this guide, the door to terminal experimentation is now wide open. It's exhilarating to see just how deep the rabbit hole of iTerm customization can go. My hope is that this article sparks an itch of curiosity within you. Don't just stop here; venture further, tweak more, and discover the full spectrum of personalization iTerm offers. Dive in, play around, and let your terminal truly be an extension of your coder/hacker persona. Here's to endless exploration and customization! 🍻

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