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MacOS Catalina will use zsh for the default shell

The News

I'm just catching up on news from WWDC and this seemed to be something that wasn't written in many places. Maybe some of you like me also aren't aware.

Here's a link to an article on The Verge that discusses it more and the potential reasoning.

In case you were wondering, Bash will still be available in MacOS Catalina.

I'm still a bit of a newb with Bash/Terminal/etc. but I've read that a lot of people love zsh. So, I'm going to install zsh right now and write as I go. I'm personally going to hold off on making it my default because I'm going to break something if I do. Actually, a lot of things will break. Will do that later.

How to Install it

  1. On MacOS the easy way is with homebrew: brew install zsh
  2. Open Terminal and type zsh
  3. You will have various prompts for setting up configs.

Want to make it the default shell?

According to this open Terminal preferences > General > "Shells open with" > "Command" type in /bin/zsh/


Explore oh-my-zsh which I have yet to do because WOW there is SO MUCH!

Other Reading

This article from @aspittel here on about using iTerm2 and zsh was linked from elsewhere as well. Read here.

Use zsh in VSCode from @nyanev


Top comments (5)

flrnd profile image
Florian Rand

Interesting move from Apple. While I'm a Fish Shell user myself I'm curious how this change will affect other *nixes with bash as default.

cookrdan profile image

It is curious! But from what I've seen around there are a lot of die-hard bash users. I can understand why. I haven't been around long enough with certain tools to be die-hard anything so I'm in a different boat.

In Catalina new users to the command line will be exposed to zsh. I don't think that's a bad thing. I tried to find what main differences are between bash and zsh - couldn't find anything that's a big deal.

What's good about Fish Shell? Do you like Sushi? Are they related?

flrnd profile image
Florian Rand • Edited you would find a more useful explanation there.

I could argue not a lot of people can say what's different between the two, myself included.

Zsh gained a lot of popularity thanks to oh-my-zsh, not zsh itself.

ronasimi profile image
Ron Asimi

I assume bash will still be installed for accepting purposes?

cookrdan profile image

Yes but I believe it will just continue to be the same version it is now because of licensing.

But Iโ€™m sure you can also install newer versions of bash. Iโ€™ve never looked into that though.