Recently iTerm started showing an emoji key instead of the sexy key symbol at password prompts.

It now shows this:

enter image description here

But I don't like the ugly emoji there.

I want to see (this is what it looks like on Terminal.app):

enter image description here

How can I get it to look like the symbol above?

It almost seems like Terminal.app makes the key symbol part of the cursor (it blinks with the cursor).

  • I'm assuming you don't want the answer - use Apple's terminal? Also - have you verified which shell you are using is bash and it's not some customization you loaded there?
    – bmike
    Oct 3, 2017 at 11:02
  • @bmike I'm using zsh, iTerm has Inconsolata for powerline typeface. Oct 3, 2017 at 12:13
  • @theonlygusti as an FYI: you can install Incosolata in Font Book on your Mac and it'll be available in Terminal.app.
    – Ian C.
    Oct 5, 2017 at 21:17
  • @IanC. I didn't know there was another way to install fonts. Oct 24, 2017 at 20:08

2 Answers 2


I found the setting that turns this off, it's in advanced preferences. Not sure you can make it look like the normal terminal one, but this might help folks that want to get rid of the key entirely.

iTerm2 > Preferences > Advanced > Experimental Features > "Show key at cursor at password prompt" => No

  • 1
    Nice! Upvoted because it does get rid of that ugly emoji. Do you know how to make it look like Terminal.app's? Oct 5, 2017 at 17:47
  • No, sadly I couldn't figure that out, so I just removed it. Oct 5, 2017 at 17:57

Looking at the source code for iTerm2 it appears that this is a unicode character hard coded into the password prompt display code. At the time of writing, the relevant line the source code that displays this character is here.

To change the display character you would need to clone the github repository, modify the character on the aforementioned line and then compile iTerm2 from source. Not an impossible task if you're competent with Xcode. The project is well-organized and well-maintained so it's straight-forward to build it from source.

  • I don't think Terminal.app uses a character though, pretty sure it's just a graphic that's overlayed on the cursor. Oct 6, 2017 at 6:56
  • @theonlygusti well, you asked about iTerm2 so I answered for iTerm2.
    – Ian C.
    Oct 6, 2017 at 21:24
  • What? I asked to make it look like Terminal's, you suggest changing the character that's displayed, and I said that that probably wouldn't work. I think there's been a misunderstanding somewhere here. Oct 6, 2017 at 21:26
  • It's not a static image. It changes with the Profile theme being used in Terminal.app. Could be Terminal.app is drawing a custom cursor icon when displays it.
    – Ian C.
    Oct 6, 2017 at 21:47
  • That's exactly what I've already suggested a couple times already Ian. Oct 6, 2017 at 21:50

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