7 Ways to FIX Unable to Type in Terminal [for Mac & Linux]

The terminal console is a convenient and direct way of communicating with your Mac or Linux systems.

However, you may sometimes encounter an unresponsive terminal or a situation that does not allow you to type into the Terminal.

This results in the Mac terminal not allowing you to type anything, including passwords and commands.

You must rectify this issue differently before you can type into the Terminal again.

This article will show you the different troubleshooting methods you can use to resolve this problem.

How to FIX Cannot Type Anything in Terminal using Mac and Linux

Here are the seven (7) ways to do so.

1. Opening A New Terminal Tab

Sometimes you get messages like “Process completed,” but you cannot type anything into the Terminal.

Try opening a new tab in Terminal by going to Shell > New Tab > Basic

2. Check your Terminal Settings

On Mac, open your Terminal> Settings and check the following configurations;

  • On the General tab, ensure <Default login shell> is chosen
  • On the Profiles tab, ensure the <Run command> option is NOT ticked.

3. Entering Admin Password


Sometimes, you must enter your admin password on specific screens before you can continue, especially when you use the “sudo” command.

When typing passwords on the Terminal, it can look empty, and nothing is on the console screen.

It is a security feature to make your Terminal appear ‘frozen’ when entering the password.

Just type in your admin password and hit the <Enter> key.

The terminal console will resume back to normal after this.

4. Background Apps Running

Two (2) background processes can affect your Terminal from interacting well with the user.

  • Applications running in the background
  • Current terminal processes running in the background

You may need to force quit these apps or the Terminal itself and restart again.

To force quit an app on Mac

  • Press and hold <Option> + <Command> + <Esc>
  • Choose the app to quit and click <Force Quit>

To force quit an app on Linux

You can search for and open your System Monitor utility depending on your Linux distribution.

System Monitor lists all your running processes currently in your system.

Focus on the <Processes> tab.

Right-click the app and select <End> or <Kill> to force quit the application.

Restart your Terminal and try typing again.

5. Keyboard Connection

When using a desktop PC, check if your keyboard is correctly connected to your computer.

  • If you use a direct USB keyboard, check its cable connection. Then, remove and plug in the cable and test again.
  • If you use a wireless dongle for a wireless keyboard, check your dongle connection and if it is working. Use a wired keyboard to test it further.
  • If you are using a third-party Apple keyboard, try using other keyboards. It may be due to incompatibility issues.

6. Reset or Re-install Terminal

You can consider giving the Terminal a fresh start by reverting back to its original configuration settings.

Here’s how to do it on Mac and Linux.

Reset Terminal on Mac


Open the Terminal and go to Shell > Reset

If <Reset> does not effectively terminate the app or process, you can choose <Hard Reset>.

Re-install Terminal on Linux

Use the command below to uninstall Terminal.

sudo apt remove gnome-terminal

Re-install it back below.

sudo apt install gnome-terminal

7. Restart Your Mac or Linux

As a last resort, always restart your Mac or Linux system and give it a try again.

This usually works as the system is given a fresh boot and removes all previous configurations.

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