I've noticed that there's a subtle difference in the way fonts are rendered in the Terminal app in El Capitan (vs Yosemite). It seems like it used to be the case that the AppleFontSmoothing property in the plist could be adjusted which would affect how heavy or light the font would be rendered. This no longer seems to be the case. Is there another way to do this? I'd like to use my fonts but have them rendered more heavily.

Related question: Is there a way to make the terminal's font less blurry?

  • This is annoying me, I much prefer the old font weight. I've notice font weight changes across the board...
    – anger
    Oct 11, 2015 at 21:51

3 Answers 3


Starting in OS X El Capitan 10.11, Terminal's font smoothing is reduced for light-on-dark text, so that the overall weight is closer to the weight of dark-on-light text, improving readability by opening up counters (the open spaces inside glyphs like “e”), for example.

You should find that it matches Safari's text rendering for light-on-dark text. It addresses the issue referred to in the question you linked: Is there a way to make the terminal's font less blurry?

This new behavior is automatic and doesn't read the AppleFontSmoothing preference.

If this is important to you, I recommend filing a bug report asking for either Terminal's new behavior to honor the AppleFontSmoothing preference or to add a Terminal-specific preference to control font smoothing.

Update: As of macOS Sierra 10.12, this behavior has been tuned to not reduce the font smoothing as much for light-on-dark text, matching Safari/WebKit more closely, and it does not apply at all to Retina displays. In addition, it once again honors the AppleFontSmoothing preference, making the smoothing lighter relative to the AppleFontSmoothing value. The end result is that the weight of light-on-dark text should look as close as possible to the weight of dark-on-light text with the same AppleFontSmoothing value.


You can change the font, however, it appears to be a font smoothing issue. I just upgraded from Yosemite 30 minutes ago and notice a HUGE difference with the terminal font I've chosen (Menlo) and how it looks now.

It's not as simple as just tweaking the sizing and weight as it's now being rendered differently on a system level. There may be a way to change smoothing back to how it was prior to the upgrade for the Terminal, which is the only issue


It's seems that you can change the terminal font :


So, perhaps you can choose an higher font ;)

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .