I couldn’t jump word at a time on iTerm2. Eventually, I found a beautifully elegant solution using BetterTouchTool (an absolute must have, couldn’t live without, fantastic piece of software). I set up a keyboard shortcut, only for iTerm2, where I mapped the alt-left to send a keyboard shortcut to a specific application. The shortcut is ctrl-left and the application is iTerm2. Then the same for right. Works like a charm. Elegance. 🙂
It works because when I’m in iTerm2, pressing alt-left, sends ctrl-left to iTerm2. While actually pressing ctrl-left switches desktops. The ctrl-left never reaches iTerm2, OSX picks it up first, but the BetterTouchTool workaround works, means I can use ctrl-left as normal, and use alt-left as normal on local and remote terminals. This has been bugging me for a couple of weeks now. Solved. Fantastic.