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Change Shell to Latest Bash on macOS

Starting with macOS Catalina, Apple switched the default shell from Bash to Zsh. Also, the built-in version of Bash is horribly outdated. No bueno.

Installing the latest version of Bash

You may be surprised to learn that even the latest versions of macOS ship with Bash 3.2, which dates from 2007:

/bin/bash --version
# GNU bash, version 3.2.57(1)-release (arm64-apple-darwin22)
# Copyright (C) 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

This probably has to do with the licensing change that happened with Bash 4.0, which switched to GPLv3. Anyways, you can install the latest version of Bash via Homebrew:

brew install bash
/opt/homebrew/bin/bash --version
# GNU bash, version 5.2.15(1)-release (aarch64-apple-darwin22.1.0)
# Copyright (C) 2022 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
# License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>

That’s more like it.

Changing the default shell to Bash

Now you just need to allowlist Homebrew’s Bash, and set it as default:

sudo sh -c 'echo /opt/homebrew/bin/bash >> /etc/shells'
chsh -s /opt/homebrew/bin/bash

If you open a new terminal window, you should see your changes take effect:

# 5.2.15(1)-release

If you also want to change the default shell for the root user, run the following:

sudo chsh -s /usr/local/bin/bash

Now if you use sudo su you’ll also see the latest Bash.

Updating scripts

If you have scripts with a shebang line that references /bin/bash, they’ll still use the outdated version:


You’ll probably want to update them to say this instead:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

Alrighty, you should be running the latest Bash everywhere now!

See also