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Restarting a Mac from the command line is quite easy, although it should be noted that most Mac OS X users are best served by using only the standard Apple menu method to reboot the system.
However, for advanced Mac users, using the terminal reboot command can be invaluable trick for troubleshooting, remote system management, remote management via SSH, after installing software updates on a Mac via command prompt, and a host of other reasons.
How to Restart a Mac from the Mac OS X command line
To immediately reboot from the Mac OS X terminal, type the following command string at a prompt (local or remote):
sudo shutdown -r now
Next, you have to enter the administrator password when prompted, that’s because the command has the prefix sudo, which gives the shutdown command superuser privileges needed to run the restart command.
The Mac will immediately reboot no matter what’s going on, so make sure not to use this if important documents are open and you’ve turned off something like auto-save.
Another option is to use the following other command to reboot a Mac from the command line:
osascript -e ‘tell the’ System Events ‘app to restart’
How to Reboot from the command line with a message
You can add a message to the restart notification for those logged in via SSH by adding a quote at the end, such as:
sudo shutdown -r now “Restart now for OSXDaily.com”
This would look like this for everyone logged into the Mac:
*** LATEST System shutdown message from user @ hostname *** System will shut down IMMEDIATELY
Restart now for OSXDaily.com
The time to shut down the system has come
The reporting refers to shutdown, whether you are restarting, shutting down, or sleeping, so it can be useful to add a message to the command, which will be reported as the second to last line. The “user @ hostname” is also the one whose reboot was initiated.
Using this shutdown command it would also be easy to change a past trick to put a Mac to sleep remotely to restart or shut down a Mac remotely instead.
The shutdown command has been around since the earliest days of Mac OS X and still exists in Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks and Yosemite, Sierra, Mojave, and beyond. As you may have guessed, the shutdown command can be used for other tasks such as actually shutting down the Mac, immediately hibernating the Mac like pmset, and more.
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