I know macOS 11 is trying hard to convince me to use zsh, but it also says I can choose another shell, which I have: chsh -s /bin/bash. The problem is, it no longer works as it did, as it neither reads my .profile nor my .bashrc when I start Terminal.app or iTerm.app. I just get this:

The default interactive shell is now zsh.
To update your account to use zsh, please run `chsh -s /bin/zsh`.
For more details, please visit https://support.apple.com/kb/HT208050.

If I now manually type bash, things happen as they should:

bash-3.2$ bash
[Timer is unset. Use timer_start] core utils setup finished
[3] Executing $HOME/.bashrc
[7] Reading utility functions and aliases
[10] core utils setup finished
[14] Reading aliases and functions
[22] ssh aliases
[26] conversions
[30] Use htop if available
[36] small utils and aliases
[40] aliases: setting up node aliases
[44] aliases: finished setting up node aliases
[48] webserver aliases
[52] global aliases and functions finished
[56] Reading utils for git prompt
[63] Reading bash completion files
[69] /Users/carlerik/.bash_completion.d/azure
[75] /Users/carlerik/.bash_completion.d/git
[89] /Users/carlerik/.bash_completion.d/npm
[95] /Users/carlerik/.bash_completion.d/tmux
[100] Reading color codes
[105] Read /Users/carlerik/.bash.d/colors
[130] Read /Users/carlerik/bin/z.sh
[135] Reading local settings for this machine
[140] Load personalized bashrc for mac
[152] Read /Users/carlerik/.bashrc.local
This setup is missing 'direnv'. Please install it for per-directory overrides
[157] Finished bash setup
[205] Read /Users/carlerik/.secret

The default interactive shell is now zsh.
To update your account to use zsh, please run `chsh -s /bin/zsh`.
For more details, please visit https://support.apple.com/kb/HT208050.

carlerik at idas-imac in ~

All the timing stuff is due to a DEBUG setting I have enabled (my .bashrc in my dotfiles). So it works as normal.

How can I get macOS 11 to use my .bashrc and/or .profile on startup?

I have even tried overriding the terminal settings in both apps from the standard logon shell to /bin/bash --rcfile $HOME/.bashrc with no further success (just as a temporary workaround to see if it was possible to force it to read my init files).

For reference, this is my .profile:

printf "Reading .profile"
export DEBUG=1

if [ -n "$BASH_VERSION" ]; then
    # include .bashrc if it exists
    if [ -f "$HOME/.bashrc" ]; then
        . "$HOME/.bashrc"

# other stuff
# ...
# other stuff end

if [ -f "$HOME/.profile.local" ]; then
    . "$HOME/.profile.local"
  • /bin/bash --rcfile $HOME/.bashrc is not a login shell so won't read ~/.profile but should read ~/.bashrc
    – mmmmmm
    Jun 22, 2021 at 7:59
  • 2
    Note that in the output from runing bash from the command line it correctly does not show the output of printf "Reading .profile". I would suggest there is a problem with your actual ~/.profile or have you got an empty ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bash_login that bash sees first.
    – mmmmmm
    Jun 22, 2021 at 7:59
  • @mmmmmm: I only tried that to force it to read the basrc, with no apparent effect. I also tried --logon to try and force a read of .profile, to no avail. Weird as hell.
    – oligofren
    Jun 22, 2021 at 13:33
  • Have you got either of the other r files I mentioned?
    – mmmmmm
    Jun 22, 2021 at 13:36
  • I missed that question, but I'll try to check when I get back from work. I have been quite diligent in removing those previously to mostly have settings in .profile that can be used in all shells, but maybe there have been files added by upgrading macOS 11? I doubt it, but worth checking out :)
    – oligofren
    Jun 22, 2021 at 13:38

1 Answer 1


The answer to this was hinted to by @mmmmmm: without my knowledge, a .bash_profile file had been added, thus making bash choose to read that instead of .profile.

The culprit was the installer script for gcloud, the CLI for the Google Cloud SDK.

For my cross-platform dotfiles, I have moved these mac-specific settings to another file which is only read when using mac (in my setup).

  • Or better use .bash_profile rather than .profil unless you do use sh or dash sometimes.
    – mmmmmm
    Jul 1, 2021 at 10:18
  • I use .profile because I use different shells at times. I keep most shell specific things in the rc file.
    – oligofren
    Jul 1, 2021 at 20:59
  • gcloud messed up my terminal prompt too, but there's no new profile script on my root. I know my .zprofile is being run but I cannot find what else it is calling to change the prompt!
    – rogers
    Oct 3, 2022 at 15:48

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