I often have a bunch of terminal windows with some various tasks. My problem, however, is that I have a hard time seeing which one is on top. This leads to me often typing [arrow up] + [enter] in the wrong window, one time leading to the execution of "git reset --hard HEAD", trashing a full days work.

So, is there a way to make the inactive terminal window look more... inactive, like changing its background color or something like that?

  • Wouldn't it be nice if user-friendly MacOS allowed one to customise the active/inactive heading colour and border highlight on ALL windows....
    – Ed Randall
    Feb 24, 2020 at 6:06

1 Answer 1


You can add transparency and a blur effect to windows, and you can also set these values seperately for active windows vs inactive windows, making the inactive windows much more transparent for example.

You'll find these settings in Terminal.app Preferences - Settings - Window. Click the colour picker to define them.

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  • Nice! Can't understand how I didn't see that x(
    – oskob
    Sep 6, 2012 at 14:49
  • Oddly, you can't see the settings for inactive windows all the time in the color picker. For me, on 10.8.4, I toggle between a color picker with the "inactive window" settings and one without those settings by double-clicking the color picker in the Preferences pane while the Picker is visible.
    – user54960
    Aug 12, 2013 at 14:28
  • this setting only changes the background of the terminal but not for inactive tab title highlight inside the terminal.
    – pro.mac
    Sep 7, 2017 at 18:37
  • wow that's slick. Thx! Feb 10, 2020 at 21:45

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