NeoVim recently added support for True Color mode in terminals that support it. I've tried both Terminal 2.5.3 (343.7) and iTerm 2.1.1, and neither one can display more than 256 colors by default.

This is a script used for testing terminal color capability. When I run it, the 3-byte color mode section at the bottom is just black and green, indicating that support is absent.

Is there a way to enable True Color mode in any OS X Terminal application?

terminal color test

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    AFAIK. Only iterm2 in nightlies support true colors. Its available in homebrew cask brew cask install iterm2-nightly Even I'm interested to know if any other terminal support true colors. – 465544 Jun 8 '15 at 4:09
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    I've discovered that the Chrome Secure Shell plugin can support it, although that's obviously a bit inconvenient since you can't easily use it as a regular terminal app. There's also this actively maintained list of terminals which support True Color. – James Jun 8 '15 at 20:22

True color mode is enabled by default in iTerm 3.0+.

The default MacOS Terminal.app is still limited to a 256 color palette.

  • Empirically, this is incorrect. The command printf "\x1b[38;2;255;100;0mTRUECOLOR█\x1b[0m\n" should render text in (255, 100, 0); iTerm2 v3+ (specifically, I'm using 3.0.14) seems parse the escape, but maps it to the nearest 256-color color. I.e., the resulting text is (237, 110, 45). (I.e., the truecolor escape is mapped to a nearby 256-color escape, and that is rendered.) – Thanatos Mar 20 '17 at 18:25
  • Actually, it seems a bit more nuanced. When I output █s at different colors, the entire character isn't even the same RGB, with neighboring pixels differing by ±1 on various channels; IDK how this is even possible. It's like I'm getting JPEG'ing for free. (I'd expect some fuzziness due to anti-aliasing around the edges, but in the middle?) The typical values even in the middle are still well off the requested value, but it's not "mapping to 256 colors" off. If I output a cyan scale (#000 to #0ff), I get ~256 different shades, but the red channel seems to get progressively more off. – Thanatos Mar 20 '17 at 18:47
  • Here's a possibly related bug with iTerm's color escape codes from a few days ago. – James Mar 21 '17 at 20:11
  • Just note, echo $TERM will still return xterm-256color even if it's working. – Sridhar Sarnobat Aug 5 '19 at 17:37

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