Herr Bischoff

iTerm2 vs. Alacritty on macOS

For a couple of years now, I went all-in on Alacritty for my terminal shell needs. For most of the time it worked exactly as expected. Due to its very minimal approach, I credit it for nudging me towards setting up a proper tmux environment. I’m better off for it now.

There are however some long-standing issues, small annoyances, that eventually compounded. For me, most have to do with text rendering and are possibly exclusive to macOS. One such issue is the improper rendering of umlaut characters. Another one is the rather “fat” typeface rendering. Every font is displayed slightly heavier than in other applications. Also, its rendering of character spacing appears to deviate from the system defaults.

Today, I gave iTerm2 another spin.

As soon as I removed all the distractions like scrollbars, window decoration, tab display and native full-screen capability, it now works similar to Alacritty for me. The added bonus of rendering text perfectly (according to my taste), no umlaut issues, tmux integration and a feature of adding Powerline glyphs to any font without modifying it, won me over. It’s GPU-accelerated now as well.

My final verdict will depend on how this setup works out for me longer term. For now, it appears that iTerm2 truly is the best terminal emulator for macOS.