How to Change Volumes in Mac OS X Terminal

by Julius Vandersteen ; Updated September 28, 2017

Apple has made a name for itself by making Mac computers with a user-friendly graphical interface that lets you click on items and drag them around to move, copy and delete files and folders, and to launch applications. The Mac OS X operating system is based on Unix, which you access by typing commands in Apple’s Terminal utility. When you use Terminal to do work on your Mac, you might need to change the current volume, such as from the startup drive to a mounted external hard drive.

Click “Applications” in the Dock on your Mac.

Click “Utilities,” and then click “Terminal” to launch the Mac OS X Terminal. A Terminal window appears.

Type “cd /Volumes” at the Terminal window’s command prompt, and then press the “Return” key to switch to the directory of your Mac’s mounted volumes, including the startup drive, internal and external hard drives, USB flash drives, CDs and DVDs.

Type “cd “ followed by the name of a mounted volume and then press the “Return” key to switch to that volume. For example, if your external hard drive is named “Music,” you type “cd Music” and then press the “Enter” key on the keyboard to switch to that volume. If the name of the volume has spaces in it, such as “November Music,” type the name of the volume in quotes, (as in: cd “November Music”).

Drag the icon of a mounted volume into the terminal window, and then press the “Return” key on the keyboard to switch to a volume without having to type anything.

About the Author

Julius Vandersteen has been a freelance writer since 1999. His work has appeared in “The Los Angeles Times,” “Wired” and “S.F. Weekly.” Vandersteen has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from San Francisco State University.

More Articles

Photo Credits