10 - What is Alacritty and how to use it in macOS

How to switch from iTerm and configure the Alacritty terminal emulator


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What is alacritty and why?

  • Alacritty is a fast, cross-platform, OpenGL terminal emulator
  • Why do I use it?
    • I’ve used iTerm for years, and I loved it, but I don’t need all the extra functionality it provides, I don’t need tabs, profiles, arrangements, integrated tmux, etc. I need a terminal that’s simple, and is just a terminal, no addons. If I want to add something, I’ll do it myself
    • Main reason why I switched to Alacritty is because I can save my config in a repo, and easily transfer that configuration to a new machine. No dealing with configuration files that I need to configure in a GUI
    • Another huge reason, is because I can only use iTerm in macos, I want a terminal that I can use in mac, Linux or even Windows, using the same configuration across OSs
    • That’s it, I don’t care if Alacritty is GPU accelerated, maybe I do, but don’t notice the difference

How do I install alacritty?

  • If you’re following my youtube playlist 2024 macOS workflow you should have Alacritty installed and configured by now, that guide will also install the required fonts, alacritty themes and all that’s needed, so it’s the simplest way

  • If you’re not following that playlist and you want to install Alacritty on your own run the brew install command below
    • For this, you will need to have brew installed, if you don’t have it installed yet, watch this video
brew install --cask alacritty
  • Once you have alacritty installed, you need to edit the config file to modify it to your liking, run these commands to create the Alacritty config directory and files if they don’t exist, if they already exist, nothing happens
  • This will open the vim text editor to edit the file, so you have to paste the alacritty configuration found in my github repo (see link below)
mkdir -p ~/.config/alacritty
vim ~/.config/alacritty/alacritty.toml
  • Here’s a link to my alacritty configuration file and the rest of my dotfiles
  • Once you have pasted the config in the file, save it by typying :wq to “write and quit”
  • Quit and re-open Alacritty and that should take care of it
This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.