Opening specific panes in system settings from the command line on macOS

Most Mac users are familiar with the System Settings application - the primary interface for changing settings on your Mac. Did you know you can open specific settings panes directly from the command line? This is particularly useful for power users who often use the command line.

This article shows you how to open specific System Settings panes from the command line on macOS.

Open a terminal

The first step in this process is to open a Terminal application. Open Spotlight by pressing Command (⌘) + Space and then type 'Terminal'.

Open system settings

The command to open System Settings from a Terminal is straightforward. Here's the basic syntax:

1open '/System/Applications/System'

When you type this command into a Terminal and press Return, it opens the System Settings application.

However, if you want to open a specific pane, you need a slightly different command. Each pane in System Settings is a .prefPane file located in /System/Library/PreferencePanes.

List the contents of this directory to see the available preference panes:

1ls /System/Library/PreferencePanes/

Open a specific preference pane

To open a specific pane, append the name of the .prefPane file to the open command. The general syntax is:

1open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/<PANE_NAME>.prefPane

Here's an example for the Privacy & Security pane:

1open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/Security.prefPane

List of common panes

Here's a list of common preference panes you might want to open, along with their respective commands:

  • Appearance

    1open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/Appearance.prefPane
  • Bluetooth

    1open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/Bluetooth.prefPane
  • Displays

    1open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/Displays.prefPane
  • Desktop & Dock

    1open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/Dock.prefPane
  • Keyboard

    1open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/Keyboard.prefPane
  • Language & Region

    1open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/Localization.prefPane
  • Mouse

    1open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/Mouse.prefPane
  • Network

    1open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/Network.prefPane
  • Notifications

    1open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/Notifications.prefPane
  • Printers & Scanners

    1open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/PrintAndScan.prefPane
  • Privacy & Security

    1open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/Security.prefPane
  • Sound

    1open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/Sound.prefPane
  • Trackpad

    1open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/Trackpad.prefPane
  • Wallpaper

    1open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/DesktopScreenEffectsPref.prefPane


Opening System Settings panes from the command line can save you time and clicks. This technique is particularly beneficial to power users. With a list of commands to open specific preference panes, you're well-equipped to navigate macOS like a pro.