I'm using iTerm for my command line needs, and when I open a tab using Cmd ⌘ + T I want it to open the tab cd'ed to the same location as the tab that was open when I hit Cmd ⌘ + T (instead of opening in my /Users/kramer65).

I searched around the Preferences, but I can't seem to find it. Does anybody know how I can do this? All tips are welcome!

4 Answers 4


Select "Reuse previous session's directory" from the preferences of your profile:

Alternatively click on "Advanced Configuration" then "Edit..." so you can set the working directory separately for new windows, new tabs & new split panes


This is a year old, but I'd like to add a response that isn't so heavy-handed. The accepted answer will open the previous directory every time you open a new tab, which I personally find frustrating. I feel it's easier to always open in the home directory and then open the current directory in a new tab as needed.

To do that, simply run the following command:

open . -a iterm

That will open the current directory (open .) using the application (-a) that most closely matches iterm.

  • I wonder if you could pass a command to that new iterm using the same open syntax. Putting this inside a postactivate for a python venv you could open the iterm and have it ssh to a remote server as part of your workon workflow
    – boatcoder
    Aug 2, 2021 at 17:43

To bind a special keybinding to this:

  • go to Settings ( Cmd ⌘ + ,)
  • then keys
  • select the + sign
  • choose a keybinding
  • select the duplicate tab action.

If you've just set "Reuse previous session's directory" and the change doesn't seem to be taking effect, it's worth noting that the new changes will only apply to tabs / panes that get opened after you've chosen this setting.

For example:

  • Let's say the current setting is: "Home Directory", and you have a tab open (tab #1)
  • You go to "Preferences" and change to "Reuse previous session's directory"
  • If you open a new tab (tab #2) while on tab #1, it will still use the previous settings
  • However, if you open another tab (tab #3) while on Tab 2, it will respect the new configuration

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