How to Change Default Shell to Bash on macOS

A Unix shell is a program that accepts Unix commands and executes them. In macOS, Bash was the default shell for a long time, but it was replaced with Z shell due to licensing reasons. If you prefer to use Bash as your default login and interactive shell, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Terminal application on your macOS Catalina.

  2. List the available shells by running the following command in the Terminal:

    cat /etc/shells

    This will display a list of acceptable shells for your system.

  3. To update your account and set Bash as the default shell, use the chsh command:

    chsh -s /bin/bash
  4. Close the Terminal application.

  5. Reopen the Terminal app to verify that Bash is now your default shell.

Listing Available Shells on Unix

To view your shell options on Unix, run the following command:

cat /etc/shells

Sample output:


Changing from Zsh to Bash on macOS

To change from Z shell (Zsh) to Bash on macOS, run the following command in the Terminal:

chsh -s /bin/bash

Close the Terminal window and reopen it. To confirm that your user account is now configured to use Bash, use the printf or echo command:

echo $SHELL


printf "%s\n" $SHELL

Sample output:


Finding Your Bash Version

To check your Bash version, type the following command in the Terminal:

bash --version

Sample output:

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.

Also, you can visit (How to Update or Upgrade Bash Version on macOS).