Using serial console on a Macintosh

Tags mac hardware


How to connect to a serial (RS-232) or USB device on a Macintosh.


Serial is a serial console application for Macintosh. The main advantage over other apps is that it can work with most USB to serial devices without having to install drivers, as it has its drivers built-in. It also provides full terminal emulation for devices that require it.  It is a licensed product, but may be used free of charge during its seven-day trial period.


  1. Download and install Serial.
  2. Start the application and accept the EULA.
  3. Select the free trial period.
  4. Connect the serial cable to one of the Macintosh's USB ports.
  5. In the Open Connection box that appears (or you can display it using File | Open) select the USB device listed on the right.

External resources

Other serial console applications for the Macintosh include:

  • CoolTerm is a (currently) open source application that provides serial port access.  It also accepts and displays binary (hexadecimal) data for applications that require this.
  • Terminal can also be used for serial console with the Screen command, but often requires hardware drivers. If the devices shows up in the /dev/ folder then screen can assess it with the command screen device_path baud_rate. For example, screen /dev/tty.usbmodem823101 9600 connects to a minimal micro-controller that presents itself as a tty device. Exit screen using the commands Ctrl-a Ctrl-/.
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Article ID: 2803
Fri 5/29/20 2:11 PM
Wed 3/29/23 1:07 PM