MuffinTerm: A terminal crafted for the classic BBS experience.
Dive back into the glory days of dial-up bulletin board systems… just, without the dialing up. (Though we’ll always miss that modem sound.)
BBSes were once the way that almost anyone “online” got online. The modern Internet might have stolen a bit of the spotlight, but BBSes are still around if you know where to look—and MuffinTerm can take you there.
Connect to telnet-enabled BBSes from around the world, with a terminal that’s designed to bring the classic experience to devices of today. (And no more busy signals!)
Select from among text modes and terminal hardware of the DOS and home computer era, with pixel-accurate CP437, PETSCII, and ATASCII support for the popular systems of the time, reproduced in exacting detail to help you really feel at home. (All rendered with a custom Metal shader—it is the 21st century, after all.)
• MDA with white (P4), green (P31), or amber (P3) phosphor
• CGA in 40- or 80-column mode
• EGA in 25- or 43-line mode
• VGA in 25- or 50-line mode
• VIC-II (C64/PETSCII) in NTSC, PAL, or borderless mode
• ANTIC (ATASCII) in NTSC, PAL, or borderless mode
Fuel your nostalgia further by enabling various aesthetic effects:
• Simulated modem speed — from the 110cps teletype crawl of the 1970s to the “blazing fast” 56K of the awesome ’90s. Slow down that ANSI animation to look the way it was originally intended, or just relive the feel of watching the bytes roll in. (Fortunately, without the cross-town toll charges this time around.)
• CRT curvature — Turn your flat-screen device into the spitting image of a classic ’tube. (Especially compelling in full-screen mode!)
• Scan lines — Reject the modernity of your perfect high-DPI display and embrace the scanlines that once reigned supreme.
• Warm tube tint — Harken back to an era of dubiously calibrated picture tubes and iffy RF adapters.
• VIC-II luma bars — Relive the experience of poorly isolated clock lines (and the resulting visual artifacting).
• Overscan borders — View the terminal as it would appear on a typical TV, or flout the factory calibration and show the full borders of the display field.
• Enable a set of traditional modem lights in the title bar of the window. Fully functional, so you can watch them blink away as you do your thing.
Some features are functional as well as fun. For example, who hasn’t stuck a sticky note or two to the side of their monitor at some point? Fortunately, the digital era is no bar to this ancient practice. Each BBS in your dialing directory gets its own digital sticky note (pick a color!), plus another that’s shared between them all. Record notes, make reminders, or be naughty and jot down a password or two. (We won’t peek.)
Of course, the basics are still all there. Traditional ANSI, PETSCII, and ATASCII terminal emulation give you the proper BBS experience; teletype (TTY) and “raw mode” provide support for special-use systems. Upload and download files using the standard XMODEM, YMODEM, and ZMODEM protocols. Save transcripts of your calls as text or raw data logs. There’s even a session timer in the status line to show you how long you’ve been connected. (Not responsible for flashbacks to long-distance bills from the 1980s.)
A comprehensive dialing directory helps you to keep track of your favorite systems. You can also import up-to-date BBS lists from popular online BBS directories. Have multiple devices? Automatically sync your dialing directory and call history between them all—whether iOS, iPadOS, and macOS—via iCloud.
And last but not least, it’s free. No ads, no in-app purchases, no weird tracking shenanigans. It’s just you and the soft glow of the pixels calling out to you.
It’s time to get back online with MuffinTerm.
Fixed a bug that could cause a crash in certain situations on some OS versions.
Ratings and Reviews
The best Mac product for BBSing
Admittedly, it's a niche product but it fills this niche perfectly. Having an iOS version as well is an added bonus. Accessing the BBSes I use from my iPhone was wild.
The sticky notes are a nice touch for saving your login credentials since I didn't see any macro capability. Obviously, that's not safe for modern credentials but you shouldn't have the same credentials on a 1980s BBS as you have for your bank. :)
Adding ATASCII was much appreciated since I call Atari BBSes. I like the fact that it feels like a Mac app. Hopefully, it will be kept up to date as Apple inevitably changes things.
exactly what i needed
iPad has never had a good PETSCII CG terminal emulator until now. this app is perfect for calling old-school retro BBSs. there are some great features including a scroll-back buffer and file transfers. however, there are a couple of bugs. for instance, caps don’t seem to work on some calls and the screen size can get wonky. but that isn’t enough of a problem to knock a star off of the review. go ahead and grab this app and start calling your favorite Commodore 64 bulletin board systems today!
I know this app isn’t for everyone but, if you have an iOS device and you “dial up” retro BBSes, you need MuffinTerm. The iCloud sync of the directory between iOS and macOS is a very nice touch.
Using the swipe keyboard to post on a vintage 1980s BBS is wild! I only wish the “two spaces period and automatic capitalization of the next word” worked in MuffinTerm. That’s a very small complaint though.
I heard about this from another BBS user who mentioned it. I’m surprised someone wrote such a great app for a niche like accessing vintage BBSes, but I’m so glad they did.
If there was a paid version, I would’ve been happy to pay.
Data Not Collected
The developer does not collect any data from this app.
Privacy practices may vary, for example, based on the features you use or your age. Learn More
- Molly Black
- 1.6 MB
- Requires iOS 14.0 or later.
- Requires iPadOS 14.0 or later.
- iPod touch
- Requires iOS 14.0 or later.
- Requires macOS 11.0 or later.
- Age Rating
- © 2023 Molly Black