This blog will explain how to enable and use Telnet on both Windows and Mac.

What is Telnet? 

Telnet is a network protocol used to virtually access devices, establishing a two-way communication.

When Telnet is capitalized, we’re talking about the protocol. When telnet is lower cased, we’re talking about establishing the connection.

Using Telnet on Windows

Verify If Telnet is Enabled on Windows

To verify if Telnet is enabled, open a command prompt and type telnet. If you receive an error, Telnet needs to be enabled.

Windows Command Prompt

Enable Telnet on Windows

Open the Control Panel and select Programs.

Windows Control Panel

Click on Programs. Wait for the Programs window to appear. Under Programs and Features, select “Turn Windows features on or off.”

Windows Programs

A list of features that may be enabled on Windows will appear. Scroll through the list and click Telnet Client.

Turn Windows Features On/Off

Click the OK button at the bottom of the screen. Telnet has been enabled on Windows.

Using Telnet on Mac

Verify if Telnet is Installed

Open a window. may be found under Applications in the Utilities folder.

Mac Utilities Termal App


Open Terminal and type in telnet. If an error message is displayed, Telnet needs to be installed. 

Telnet not installed

Install Telnet on Mac

The easiest way to install Telnet on Mac is using the package manager Homebrew. 

Install Homebrew

Open a Terminal, and past in the following command to install Homebrew:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

Install Homebrew


The script will automatically execute and will explain what it is happening during the installation process.

Homebrew Installing

Once Homebrew is installed Telnet may be installed.

Install Telnet

To install Telnet, keep the window open or open a new window. Enter the following command:

brew install telnet

Install Telnet

Wait until the installation completes.

Telnet Installation Complete

Verifying Telnet Installation

On both Mac and Windows the easiest way to check the Telnet connection is to enter telnet in the command prompt. If successful you will see Telnet prompt for information to establish a connection.


To telnet into a Zebra printer, enter the printer's IP address followed by a space and 9100. Once the connection is established with the printer, commands may be sent to the printer to retrieve and update settings. 



Zebra Technologies’ blog How to Use Telnet is an independent publication and is neither affiliated with, nor authorized, sponsored, or approved by, Microsoft Corporation.

Mac and macOS are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

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