Timeout Command on Mac OS X?

0 votes
asked Aug 17, 2010 by sheki

Is there an alternative for the timeout command on Mac OSx. The basic requirement is I am able to run a command for a specified amount of time.


timeout 10 ping google.com

This program runs ping for 10s on Linux.

5 Answers

0 votes
answered Jan 17, 2010 by redcube

Unfortunately there is no timeout program on macos afaik, however you can try the answers metioned here: Command line command to auto-kill a command after a certain amount of time

Futhermore if you really want to run "ping" here you can just run

ping -t 10 google.com
0 votes
answered Jan 22, 2010 by sheki

The Timeout Package from Ubuntu / Debian can be made to compile on Mac and it works. The package is available at http://packages.ubuntu.com/lucid/timeout

0 votes
answered Jan 1, 2014 by deadmoto

You can limit execution time of any program using this command:

ping -t 10 google.com & sleep 5; kill $!
0 votes
answered Jan 14, 2014 by kvz

You can use

brew install coreutils

And then whenever you need timeout, use


..instead. To explain why here's a snippet from the Homebrew Caveats section:


All commands have been installed with the prefix 'g'.

If you really need to use these commands with their normal names, you can add a "gnubin" directory to your PATH from your bashrc like:


Additionally, you can access their man pages with normal names if you add the "gnuman" directory to your MANPATH from your bashrc as well:

0 votes
answered Jan 19, 2016 by brad-parks

Another simple approach that works pretty much cross platform (because it uses perl which is nearly everywhere) is this:

function timeout() { perl -e 'alarm shift; exec @ARGV' "$@"; }

Snagged from here: https://gist.github.com/jaytaylor/6527607

Instead of putting it in a function, you can just put the following line in a script, and it'll work too:


perl -e 'alarm shift; exec @ARGV' "$@";

or a version that has built in help/examples:


#!/usr/bin/env bash

function show_help()
  IT=$(cat <<EOF

Runs a command, and times out if it doesnt complete in time

Example usage:

   # Will fail after 1 second, and shows non zero exit code result
   $ timeout 1 "sleep 2" 2> /dev/null ; echo \$?

   # Will succeed, and return exit code of 0.
   $ timeout 1 sleep 0.5; echo \$?

   $ timeout 1 bash -c 'echo "hi" && sleep 2 && echo "bye"' 2> /dev/null; echo \$?

   $ timeout 3 bash -c 'echo "hi" && sleep 2 && echo "bye"' 2> /dev/null; echo \$?
  echo "$IT"

if [ "$1" == "help" ]
if [ -z "$1" ]

# Mac OS-X does not come with the delightfully useful `timeout` program.  Thankfully a rough BASH equivalent can be achieved with only 2 perl statements.
# Originally found on SO: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/601543/command-line-command-to-auto-kill-a-command-after-a-certain-amount-of-time
perl -e 'alarm shift; exec @ARGV' "$@";
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