With most linux distros you can hit control + alt + F1 or the like, and get a Console. This is really useful when your X11 / display manager freezes, because you can restart that process / service in a couple of seconds and be back in.

Is there a way to do the same thing with mac (10.8.2)? It's pretty annoying to see your display freeze and know that your kernel is likely chugging along just fine..

I looked around for answers, but all I could find is the login window hack.


  • 1
    Do you want quick access to a terminal, or a way to kill unresponsive programs?
    – Gerry
    Apr 5 '13 at 16:46
  • Restart the window server when it's unresponsive/ recovery terminal. I suppose I could run an ssh server and get into it from my phone or something, but that's a security risk and quite roundabout.
    – pnovotnak
    Apr 5 '13 at 19:05
  • Restarting the windowserver kills all GUI apps. How often do you find yourself in a situation where restarting the windowserver is required? Maybe there is another problem to be solved? In those cases a reboot probably would be better.
    – Gerry
    Apr 5 '13 at 19:57
  • @Gerry - 'Restarting the windowserver kills all GUI apps' right, but shouldn't kill things like GNU Screen or what have you. Probably right, just curious if there is a simple way.
    – pnovotnak
    Apr 5 '13 at 20:26
  • 1
    @pnovotnak it will kill screen as that would be launched from terminal which is killed. OS X != Linux
    – mmmmmm
    Feb 18 '16 at 16:09

No - not only can't you toggle this from your session once logged in, but you actually have to log out of all other graphical based user-sessions before the >console shortcut will work.

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