When comparing TotalFinder vs iTerm2, the Slant community recommends iTerm2 for most people. In the question“What are the best power user tools for macOS?” iTerm2 is ranked 1st while TotalFinder is ranked 15th. The most important reason people chose iTerm2 is:
iTerm has autocomplete features built in. It remembers your past commands and when you are writing something on the terminal, simply pressing `Control-;` it will show you a drop down menu of suggestions from which to choose.
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Pro Copy path to file or directory feature
You can copy the path to a directory or file using the context menu in Finder, options include POSIX Path, URL, Windows Path, UNC Path, HFS Path, and Terminal Path.
Pro Adds dual panes to the Mac finder
A great feature of TotalFinder is the ability to have dual panes. This is really handy for moving files around.
Pro Adds cut/paste context menu functionality to Finder
You can cut and paste with just the mouse.
Pro Autocomplete is built-in
iTerm has autocomplete features built in. It remembers your past commands and when you are writing something on the terminal, simply pressing
Control-; it will show you a drop down menu of suggestions from which to choose.
Pro Any key can be mapped to any function
Using the Preferences Menu you can set up hotkeys to map virtually any action you can think of to a single key or a combination of them. This is extremely helpful as it allows you to use shortcuts to edit commands you are typing in the terminal and while most terminal emulators have shortcuts for this sort of thing, few of them let you define your own.
Pro Extremely customizable
Other than being able to customize the various shortcuts, iTerm2 also lets you customize the colorscheme, font, transparency, etc.
Pro Fine tuning for fonts
It's possible to choose a font and adjust vertical and horizontal spacing.
Pro Complete out of the box
Unlike most terminal emulators, iTerm2 comes with a pretty complete set of features. It has built-in search, autocompletion, tabbed navigation, Growl support and even a built-in clipboard manager for various API keys and such.
Pro Can immediately open files inside a text editor
You can Ctrl+Click on a file path to open said file in a text editor.
Pro Supports mouse actions
Has support for mouse actions like clicking, dragging, selecting, etc.
Pro Active maintainers
Issues resolved fast by quality contributors.
Pro Works well with powerline fonts
Pro Can be configured as a drop-down terminal
Can be configured to work as a drop down terminal like Quake.
Pro Supported by many applications as a terminal app selection
If an application has terminal integration, there is high probability it allows iTerm2 to be selected.
Pro Split panes
Easy to split panes to either horizontal or vertical sections. Makes it easy to observe multiple console windows.
Pro Works well with tmux
The great mouse and clipboard support that are built-in go really well with tmux.
Pro Cmd+D to split plane vertically
Very handy to use multi-tab.
Pro Completely free and open source
iTerm2 is completely free and open source. It's released under the GPLv2 license.
Pro Cmd+Shift+I to Input all
Wanna SSH your server from multiple tabs, here you go.
Pro You only need to type in commands once
iTerm2 can store up to 4M of history of commands you already used. This, coupled with the built-in search features makes it possible to type a command only once and then search for it through the history for subsequent uses.
Con Requires special installation procedure in El Capitan and later due to "System Integrity Protection"
"System Integrity Protection" (also know as "Rootless") is a feature introduced in El Capitan that, among other things, inhibits applications to inject code on system apps (TotalFinder injects code into Finder).
For TotalFinder to work properly one must disable SIP temporarly to install. After installation a user can turn SIP back on without issue.
Instructions are detailed here.