How to

MacOS Telnet In Mojave Or High Sierra

MacOS Telnet In Mojave Or High Sierra
Written by Hassan Abbas

Do you want to use MacOS Telnet? Well, lots of Mac users noticed that Telnet has been erased from the advanced model of the system software. It includes macOS High Sierra or macOS Mojave. Also, this is to inspire using the ssh client. But there are lots of Mac users who want Telnet for lots of reasons. Telnet continues to become a valid tool for lots of network or systems administrators, security professionals. Also, people working with Cisco hardware or towards MUD enthusiasts, Cisco certification, amongst various other purposes.

Our guide detail with lots of different methods to get Telnet back in the advanced model of Mac OS system software. You’ll learn to install Telnet with Homebrew, backing up Telnet from a prior system software launch or backup, compiling Telnet from source, or some other options to telnet.

How To Install Telnet in MacOS via Homebrew

Telnet In Mojave Or High Sierra

Well, the simplest choice is for Mac users to install Telnet via Homebrew. Also, it means that you want to install Homebrew on the Mac first. But if you’re an advanced user that spend too much amount of time in the command line you’ll then appreciate having Homebrew for various reasons since you:

Step 1:

Initially, install the Homebrew on Mac OS if you can’t do so already. However, if you already have Homebrew ignore this step

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Step 2:

In this step use Homebrew to install telnet with the command given below:

brew install telnet

Step 3:

Press return and allow Homebrew to download and install Telnet to the Mac

Step 4:

When the installation completes, you can execute Telnet as usual:

telnet server-or-ip-address

One simple method to test that Telnet is working efficiently after installation is to connect to the crazy Star Wars telnet server. As it plays Star Wars in ASCII art:


You should remember that Telnet is working when you are welcomed by Star Wars rendered in ASCII characters.

How To Install Telnet MacOS Mojave & High Sierra through Older MacOS Model or Backups

Once you happen to have access to a Mac that is executing a prior model of MacOS or you have an older MacOS system software backup laying around from Time Machine or otherwise. You can simply copy the old binaries from that PC or backup to your advanced MacOS installation, and telnet will work just well.

Step 1:

Using Mac OS X and Mac OS models that include telnet, you can easily find Telnet at the following location.


The telnet binary is very small weighing in at only 114 kb So it’s just an instant simple task.

Step 2:

Simply copy that telnet binary into the following location in advanced macOS releases. It includes MacOS High Sierra 10.13.x or MacOS Mojave 10.14. They both enable telnet to run on the latest system software releases:


Step 3:

At that point, you can also run the ‘telnet’ command as usual.

Another option that needs more caution is to request the telnet binary from a trusted friend or coworker who is executing MacOS Sierra or prior. They just zip up and send you their /usr/bin/telnet binary file. Don’t try and find a random telnet binary zip file using the internet as it must be compromised or alternatively untrustworthy. It becomes the best idea to use sha1 checksum or md5 hash on the real telnet binary if you’re having this route.

Well, if you’re depending on binaries of telnet from Sierra or earlier. Then you probably interested in seizing ftp as well. As it is also erased from the advanced macOS releases. Also, it is located at the following location in prior MacOS builds:


Again you like to put the ftp binary into /usr/local/bin/ on the latest model of system software.

For those finding, while Telnet (and ftp) has been erased from High Sierra, Mojave and presumably anything moving forward. Well, MacOS Sierra remains the last model of system software to add Telnet by default. However, any MacOS / Mac OS X launch prior to Sierra adds Telnet and ftp. It includes El Capitan, Yosemite, Snow Leopard, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Cheetah, Tiger, etc.

Telnet Choices for Mac: SSH, Netcat

Well, there are some options for Telnet, relying on what you want to use telnet for in the first place.

For remote connections, ssh is the latest standard as it is secured. However, both the ssh client or ssh server is available by default in all advanced models of MacOS system software. Just, connecting to a remote IP with ssh would seem as follows:

ssh [email protected]

For testing of Wifi network connectivity, or for testing of an open / listening port, netcat can fulfill the same requirements that telnet provides. For instance, you can simply confirm that the connection to the above-mentioned ASCII Star Wars server and port 80 works with the following netcat command string:

nc -vz 80

Make sure that netcat for this purpose needs specifying a valid TCP or UDP port number of the host protocol is.

Backing up Telnet to MacOS Mojave & High Sierra after Compiling Telnet from Source

If you don’t like to use Homebrew for some reason, you can then compile Telnet yourself from inetutils source. As a prerequisite, you’ll still want to install the Mac OS command-line tools to fulfill this, however.

Step 1:

Initially, you’d download the newest inetutils package from

curl -o

Step 2:

Then, you would decompress the tarsal:

tar xvzf inetutils-1.9.4.tar.gz

Step 3:

Now modify it into the appropriate directory:

cd inetutils-1.9.4

Step 4:

Issue the configure command to start:


Step 5:

When the configure complete, make from source:


Step 6:

And at last, simply use make install to fulfill the installation of inetutils and telnet:

sudo make install

Well, I think using Homebrew is quite simpler or easy. Also, plus there are lots of other great and essential Homebrew packages available. If you’re familiar while compiling from source and you are this far. However, you’ll almost appreciate having Homebrew anyway.

What about Telnet for iOS?

Well, there are also telnet users available for iOS. How practical this is for you likely depends on your specific device and what your purpose with telnet is. However, a free suggestion for iOS is iTerminal and an amazing paid option is Prompt. After using ssh and telnet from an iOS device can be quite challenging without any external keyboard. So you probably want to connect one to your iOS before moving to that route. Not just this but also this is a better choice for the iPad just because of the big screen. Also, iOS is not MacOS however, so this is a type of off-topic.


So, here is a comprehensive tutorial of getting Telnet in advance MacOS releases. But if you know another technique or another method to getting Telnet in MacOS High Sierra or returning Telnet to MacOS Mojave. Then share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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About the author

Hassan Abbas

Tech enthusiast with too many items on his wish-list and not nearly enough money! Specializing in all things tech, with a slight Apple bent he has been writing for various blogs for the best part of (too many) years

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