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This is the default completion of Bash. However, programmable completion goes much beyond that, because it allows command-specific completions that can depend on the context.
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Imagine, for example, typing cmd -[tab][tab] , and then seeing a list of all options that are applicable to this command. Programmable completion allows to do that. Programmable completion logic is defined by the creators of commands in completion specifications, typically in the form of completion scripts.
These completion scripts have to be sourced in your shell to enable the completion functionality for a command. The problem is that the programmable completion features of Bash have been extended since version 3. By upgrading to a newer version of Bash, you become able to use these completion scripts, which can be extremely useful. I wrote an entire article called Programmable Completion for Bash on macOS , which explains all you need to know to take full advantage of programmable completion on macOS after upgrading to a newer Bash version.
To upgrade the default shell of your macOS system to the latest version of Bash, you have to do three things:.
Each step is extremely easy, as explained in the following. I recommend to use Homebrew to install the latest version of Bash:. To verify the installation, you can check that you now have two versions of Bash on your system:. The first one is the new version, and the second one is the old version:. So far, so good. Now you have make this version the default. UNIX includes a security feature that restricts the shells that can be used as login shells i. Since you want to use the newly installed Bash shell as the default shell, it must be able to act as a login shell.
You can edit this file as the root user:. At this point, if you opened a new terminal window, you would still be using Bash 3. To change this to your new shell, execute the following command:.
The default shell for your current user is now set to the new version of Bash. If you close and reopen the terminal window, you should now be using the new version already. You can verify this as follows:. The chsh command changes the default shell only for the user who executes the command. Most importantly perhaps you might want to change the default shell for the root user, which you can do as follows:.
In this way, if you use sudo su to open a shell as the root user, it will also use the new Bash version. The two versions of Bash exist side by side on your system:.
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