How to open application from terminal

Opening applications from the Terminal in macOS is a skill that can significantly enhance your productivity when using your Mac. We’re going to walk you through the steps of launching applications using the Terminal.

Terminal Basics

Before diving into opening applications, it’s important to understand what Terminal is. Terminal is an application included with macOS that gives you direct access to the Unix part of the system.

It allows you to execute commands, some of which can launch applications.

Launching Applications via Terminal

To open an application from the Terminal, you need to use the open command followed by the path to the application’s .app file.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Open Terminal: You can find Terminal in the Utilities folder within your Applications folder, or you can use Spotlight Search (Command + Space) and type “Terminal.”
  2. Use the Open Command: Type open -a followed by the name of the application. For instance, open -a Safari will launch Safari.
  3. Launching Applications by Path: If the application is not located in your Applications folder, you can launch it by typing the full path. For example, open /Applications/Utilities/Activity\

Advanced Terminal Commands for Opening Applications

Sometimes, you might want to open an application with additional options or parameters.

Terminal allows for this level of control.

  1. Opening with Options: You can pass specific options to the application as it launches. For example, open -a Safari --args -Private would open Safari in private browsing mode.
  2. Using File Paths: To open a specific file with an application, use the path to the file after the application name. For example, open -a TextEdit /path/to/file.txt would open a text file in TextEdit.


Opening applications from the Terminal is a great way to interact with your Mac.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a curious beginner, mastering this skill can open up a new world of efficiency and control over your macOS experience.


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