Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023

Quick Links

Key Takeaways

  • Apple now uses Zsh as the default shell on macOS, but the old Bash shell is still included and easily switchable.
  • To change your default shell from Zsh to Bash, simply run the “chsh -s /bin/bash” command in Terminal and reopen it.
  • Alternatively, you can change the default shell graphically in System Settings under Users & Groups by Ctrl-Clicking your profile picture and selecting “Advanced Options”, then choosing either Bash or Zsh.

Apple is now using Zsh as the default shell on macOS. We love Zsh, but the trusty old Bash shell is still included with macOS, and you can quickly switch back to Bash if you prefer. Zsh became the default in macOS Catalina, and has remained the default in subsequent releases.

Zsh is only the default shell on newly created user accounts, so any existing accounts you have on an upgraded Mac will still use Bash by default unless you change it. Each user account has its own default shell preference.

From the Terminal

To change a user account’s default shell on macOS, simply run the chsh -s (change shell) command in a Terminal window.

Change the default shell to Bash by running the following command:

chsh -s /bin/bash

You’ll have to enter your user account’s password. Finally, close the Terminal window and reopen it. You’ll be using Bash instead of Zsh.

MacOS running Bash.

Change the default shell back to Zsh by running this command:

chsh -s /bin/zsh

Enter your password when prompted. After you close the terminal window and reopen it, you’ll be using Zsh. You can always tell what shell the Terminal is using by looking at the top of the window.

The Mac terminal is running ZSH again.

You can see a list of included shells you can select by running the following command:

cat /etc/shells

List of available shells on MacOS.

Change from Zsh to Bash In System Settings

You can also change this option graphically from System Settings if you prefer.

Click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen, then head to System Settings > Users & Groups on your Mac. Hold the Ctrl key, click your user account’s name in the left pane, and select “Advanced Options.”

Go to

Click the “Login Shell” dropdown box or “Change,” then select “/bin/bash” to use Bash as your default shell or “/bin/zsh” to use Zsh as your default shell. Click “OK” to save your changes.

Click the dropdown menu, then click

Bash on macOS Is Still Outdated

Note that the version of Bash (Bourne Again SHell) included with macOS is still pretty outdated, however. If you run bash --version on macOS Ventura, for example, you’ll see that Ventura includes Bash 3.2.57 (which was released back in 2009) when Bash 5.2 is the latest version. Newer versions are licensed under the GPLv3 license, while Apple still distributes a version licensed under GPLv2.

In contrast, the version of Zsh (Z shell) included with macOS (check with zsh --version ), is Zsh 5.8.1, which is the latest version at the time of Ventura release.

The versions of Zsh and Bash installed on macOS Ventura.

If you want the latest version of Bash, you can install it yourself via Homebrew.

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By John P.

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