ryanwhocodes Sep 24, 2018 · 3 min read

Back to Bash - Remove Zsh and terminal themes on a Mac step-by-step

How to remove Zsh along with its themes and configuration tools and change your shell back to Bash.

This tutorial will show you how to change your shell back to Bash and remove the highly customisable Z shell along with its themes, such as Powerlevel9k, or configuration tools, for example Oh My Zsh.

The Z shell with its themes and frameworks is very popular. This article is written for those who might want to carry out a clean reinstall of Zsh, need to revert their shell to the default settings, or want to use Bash instead.

This assumes you are using a Mac and have its package manager Homebrew installed since many commands here are for uninstalling code added with brew install.


Why remove Zsh?

This article further expands on the instructions I wrote to remove Zsh started in response to Make your terminal more colourful and productive with iTerm2, Zsh and Powerlevel9K!

This tutorial is not recommending abandoning using Zsh if you enjoy using it, but could be useful for situations such as:

  • You want to try a new configuration and need to remove the old setup
  • Something went wrong with installing/configuring a Zsh theme and you need a fresh start
  • You tried Zsh and a theme but have changed your mind
  • You would prefer to use the Bash shell

Oh My Zsh is an open source, community-driven framework for managing your Zsh configuration.

Oh My Zsh is an open source, community-driven framework for managing your zsh configuration.

Remove Oh My Zsh

If you installed Zsh and chose to use configure it with the Oh My Zsh framework, this comes with an uninstall script that you can run from the command line.


It will remove Oh My Zsh and revert your previous bash or zsh configuration.

Remove the Powerlevel9k theme

There are many themes for Zsh, one popular one is Powerlevel9k.

Powerlevel9k is a theme for ZSH which uses Powerline Fonts. It can be used with vanilla ZSH or ZSH frameworks such as Oh-My-Zsh, Prezto, Antigen, and many othersPowerlevel9k on GitHub

If you installed Powerlevel9k using without any frameworks or package managers, this is normally done through →

git clone https://github.com/bhilburn/powerlevel9k.git ~/powerlevel9k

You can remove it by running the following from the command line.

rm -rf ~/powerlevel9k

To set up Powerlevel9k, you needed to add some configuration to your ~/.zshrc file - so open that up and delete all these lines, such as…

source  ~/powerlevel9k/powerlevel9k.zsh-theme

Remove Nerd Fonts

Nerd Fonts are one of the fonts that include extra programming icons that you can to enhance your terminal theme and prompt. It is a popular choice when using Powerlevel9k. There are a few steps to remove it.

Assuming you installed Nerd Fonts with homebrew…

brew cask uninstall font-hack-nerd-font

You may then need to set a new font if you are using iTerm2.

iTerm2 -> Preferences -> Profiles -> Text -> Font -> Change Font

Lastly, remove the reference to it in your ~/.zshrc


Revert to Bash and remove Zsh shell

First enter the command to change back to using the Bash shell.

/usr/bin/chsh -s /bin/bash

Then remove the Zsh configuration file.

rm ~/.zshrc

And uninstall Zsh.

brew uninstall zsh --force

Now you should be back to using the Bash shell when you use your terminal.

Find out more

Learning how to manage your shell configuration can help you master your command line workflow effectively as well as improving your knowledge of your Mac’s operating system.

You can read more about using Bash on the Bash official website.