hash - macOS


The hash command in macOS is used primarily to handle command hashing. It maintains and reports statistics on the number of commands that have been processed, their hash table locations, and their resolved pathnames. This utility is useful for optimizing performance by keeping track of how often commands are accessed, thus facilitating quicker execution in subsequent uses.


The basic syntax of the hash command is as follows:

hash [-lr] [-p filename] [-dt] [name ...]
  • -r: Resets the hash table.
  • -l: Displays the hash table in a format that can be reused as input.
  • -p filename: Associates the name with the pathname. This prevents further path searches.
  • -d: Deletes specified hash entries.
  • -t: Displays the full pathname of each name.

Argument name specifies command names whose hash values are being altered or displayed. If no name is given, and no options are supplied, hash shows the contents of the hash table.


  • -l (list): Prints the hash table in a reusable format.
  • -r (reset): Clears the hash table, ensuring that pathnames must be searched again.
  • -p filename (pathname): Manually sets the pathname for the next time the command is called.
  • -d (delete): Removes the hash table entry for each name specified.
  • -t (trace): Prints the fully resolved path to the executable for each name.


  1. View the hash table:


    This will display the current hashed commands along with their frequencies and pathnames.

  2. Adding a command to the hash table:

    hash -p /usr/local/bin/nano nano

    This manually sets the path of the nano command, avoiding further path searches.

  3. Resetting the hash table:

    hash -r

    Clears all entries in the hash table.

  4. Delete a specific command from the hash table:

    hash -d nano

    This removes the hashed path for nano.

  5. Display the full pathname of a command:

    hash -t nano

    Shows the full path to the nano executable.

Common Issues

  • Entry Not Found: If the hash command cannot find an entry for a specified name, it will not be able to display or delete it, potentially leading to confusion.

  • Incorrect Pathnames: Manually setting incorrect pathnames with -p can lead to command execution failures.

Solution: Always verify the paths and entries. Use hash -d to remove incorrect entries.


The hash command can be integrated with shell scripts to optimize performance by managing command executions:

# Example: Reset hash table in a script to ensure fresh path searches
hash -r
echo "Hash table reset successfully."
# Continue with scripts that install new software and require fresh hashing
  • type: Displays information about command type.
  • which: Shows the executable file associated with given command names.

For further reading and more detailed information on command usage, refer to the official macOS command line documentation.