Change default shell to bash on macOS Catalina

A Unix shell is nothing but a program that accepts Unix commands from the keyboard and executes them. For a long time, the bash was a default shell in macOS. However, Apple replaced Bourne Again SHell with Z shell for licensing reasons. This page explains how to set up bash as your default login shell and interactive shell.

The procedure is as follows:

  • Open the terminal application.
  • List available shells by typing cat /etc/shells .
  • To update your account to use bash run chsh -s /bin/bash .
  • Close terminal app.
  • Open the terminal app again and verify that bash is your default shell.

List your shell options on Unix

Simply run the following cat command:
cat /etc/shells

VMBS:~ VMBS$ cat /etc/shells
#List of acceptable shells for chpass(1).
#Ftpd will not allow users to connect who are not using
#one of these shells.


How to change your zsh to bash on macOS

Simply type the following command:

chsh -s /bin/bash

Close the terminal Window and reopen it again. Next you need to type the following command to make sure your user account is configured to use zsh on Unix using the printf command/echo command:

echo $SHELL


printf “%s\n” $SHELL

Sample outputs:


Find out your bash version

Type the following command:

bash --version

Sample outputs:

GNU bash, version 5.0.11(1)-release (x86_64-apple-darwin18.6.0)
Copyright (C) 2019 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>

This is free software; you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

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