When I open a fresh terminal window, the title at the top has this format: [house icon][username]-[command]-[terminal size]

The command portion of the title initially says login, then it very quickly rotates through other commands like ps, awk, grep, cat, sed, dirname, then eventually resolves to bash. The title switching happens so fast that I can barely read the words. I'm on OSX 10.9.4 but I believe this used to happen on slightly older versions.

I checked out the history to see if it might be that, but it's not. It doesn't seem to affect anything besides possibly starting the terminal a second or two slower. Why does this happen and is there a way to fix it?

2 Answers 2


The commands shown in the title indicate that something is being run. This is likely to be in a sourced file such as…

  • ~/.bash_profile
  • ~/.profile
  • /etc/profile
  • ~/.bash_login
  • ~/.bashrc (although this is not sourced automatically)

Check the files that your shell is sourcing for the commands that are being run and comment them out or remove them if necessary.

  • 1
    Other possible offenders may be ~/.bashrc, or /etc/profile.
    – aglasser
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 18:00
  • Nice edit, George :)
    – aglasser
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 18:41
  • @aglasser Feel free to edit to include information such as that!
    – grg
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 21:33
  • I always forget that I'm able to edit to add content. I typically just edit to fix formatting, spelling, etc. I'll definitely keep this in mind next time I have more to add.
    – aglasser
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 21:41

I am surprised you are seeing sed and dirname unless you have a heavily modified suite of login profiles, but this is relatively harmless behavior in which the terminal title changes to reflect the currently running program.

To see this in action, type sleep 5 in a Terminal window and for 5 seconds your title bar should say sleep in the middle instead of bash

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