fg - macOS


The fg command in macOS is used to bring a job to the foreground from the background. This command is critical for managing multitasking in a shell environment. It is most effective in controlling the execution of processes in a terminal, allowing the user to continue interacting with a process that was previously running in the background.


The general syntax of the fg command is:

fg [job_spec]
  • job_spec: Specifies the job to bring into the foreground. If omitted, fg will default to the current job.


The fg command typically does not have any options or flags. Its functionality is primarily influenced by the job specification provided as an argument.


  1. Bringing the most recent job to the foreground:

    Simply type:


    This command will move the most recently backgrounded job to the foreground.

  2. Bringing a specific job to the foreground:

    First, list all jobs with the jobs command:


    Then bring a specific job to the foreground by using its job number:

    fg %1

    Here, %1 refers to the job number.

Common Issues

  • No job control: This error occurs if fg is used in an environment where job control is not enabled. To solve this, ensure you are using a shell that supports job control, such as Bash or Zsh, and that it is enabled.

  • Ambiguous job specification: When more than one job matches the job specification, fg cannot decide which job to bring to the foreground. Be more specific in the job reference.


Combine fg with other commands to manage tasks effectively:

  • Start a long-running process in the background:
    sleep 300 &
  • Use jobs to list all background tasks:
  • Bring a background task to the foreground:
    fg %1

This allows for multitasking in scripts or when manually controlling processes via the command line.

  • bg: Resumes suspended jobs without bringing them to the foreground.
  • jobs: Lists all jobs with their statuses and job numbers.

For more information and advanced usage, refer to the Bash or Zsh manual available through the man command, such as man bash or online resources dedicated to Unix-like operating system environments.