Does anyone know if there's a way to get rid of the GUI in Mavericks? (Or at least disable it?)


2 Answers 2


Yes - you can simply log in to a console on OS X.

  1. Set log in preferences to show username and password field.
  2. Enter >console as the user and press return.
  • Whoa. How did you figure that out? :S
    – Dan J
    Feb 13, 2014 at 15:41
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    @DanJ - As an old unix and mainframe, VAX, etc user, I was overjoyed when OS X came with a unix command-line core. This has been present in all builds of oh-ess-ten. You can also use >shutdown and >reboot as a user ;-)
    – bmike
    Feb 13, 2014 at 15:58
  • That is awesome. :)
    – Dan J
    Feb 13, 2014 at 18:01
  • although amazing, that is not what I want (I think): I want to get rid of all the processor intensive, and disk space hungry GUI stuff. The Mac I'm using is quite old and does not support lots of RAM. I would like to use it as a headless home-server...
    – pdeli
    Feb 14, 2014 at 15:46
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    @pdeli Here's an experiment. Make a new user account. restart your Mac and log in to the new account. Start nothing except Activity Monitor (or open terminal and run vm_stat 60 or io_stat 60) My guess is after 5 minutes you will have a 99% idle machine and no processor usage whatsoever. You might have a slow, over committed RAM situation but it's likely not the system causing it. You could install server.app and ssh into the server after boot and see that it will be idle until you start serving load. I have several servers that run Time Machine with less than 4% load daily average.
    – bmike
    Feb 14, 2014 at 16:07

You mean that you want to boot into a Terminal view instead of the OS X graphical view?

If so, by using the key combination of Command+s just after the startup sound, you can boot into single user mode which is just a command line screen.

  • That eliminates far more of the system than just the GUI, but for some limited maintenance tasks it's good enough, I suppose.
    – bmike
    Feb 13, 2014 at 14:56
  • No, I really would like to use the computer as a home server. The machine is quite old with limited RAM. I desperately tried to install Ubuntu-Server on it, but failed miserably. So I am reverting in trying to use Mavericks, but without all the GUI bling-bling I don't need for a headless server...
    – pdeli
    Feb 14, 2014 at 16:01
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    @pdeli Rather than expand the scope of your question in comments - why not start a second thread / new question on what CPU usage you get after a clean reboot and help diagnosing why your server is using CPU at idle.
    – bmike
    Feb 14, 2014 at 16:27

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