You’ll discover that Apple conceals a few files and folders from view for security. Here’s how, if you know what you’re doing, can reveal hidden folders on a Mac.
On your Mac, Apple conceals some files (whole folders, in fact!) from you. But, there are techniques to force your Mac to display hidden files when necessary.
We’ll go through how to view hidden files on your Mac after going over a few crucial points first.
Why Should Your Mac Hide Files From You?
In macOS, certain files must be kept securely intact. If you unintentionally delete or modify one of these files, you might even go so far as to brick your Mac. They maintain the smooth operation of macOS and contain folders, libraries, and files. If you make a mistake, you can be compelled to restore or finish a new macOS installation.
If you mess around with these files without knowing what you’re doing, it’s all too simple to make your Mac unusable or unable to boot. You don’t have to be concerned about damaging your Computer and having to restore everything because Apple hides these files and directories.
When you do need to access these files, it does have the unpleasant side effect of making things a little difficult. Sometimes you need to move a software directory, fix a problematic driver, or take similar action.
This is a valid reason to temporarily unhide these files if you know what you’re doing. On a Mac, there are a few different ways to display hidden files.
How to View Hidden Files on a Mac
On macOS, you can use the Finder app to show hidden files if you prefer to work with a point-and-click interface. This is the procedure.
- Under Locations, click on your hard drive folder, probably named Macintosh HD.
- You won t see much there when you first open it, so press Command + Shift + Period. You ll see a number of additional files and folders, slightly grayed out to mark them as being hidden.
- Press the same key combination, and those files and folders will disappear again.
No matter which folder in Finder is open, the identical key combination will function.
How to Access macOS Library Folder
Let’s imagine you only need to access the /Library folder on your Mac. To get there, you don’t have to search through every folder on your computer.
- In Finder s top menu, click Go.
- At first, you won t see Library listed at all. Hold down the Option key, and a new Library option shows up. Click that, and your Mac s ~/Library folder opens in a new Finder window.
How to Show Hidden Files on Mac Using Terminal
You can turn on showing hidden files in Terminal if that’s how you prefer to operate. Simply key in the following instructions:
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles true killall Finder
Following the execution of those commands, a few things will occur. The Finder app will close and then reopen. Your desktop icons will likely vanish and then reappear. Following that, all of your hidden folders as well as any temporary files stored to your desktop will be visible in Finder.
You issue the same commands again, changing the value true to false when you want to reveal them once more.
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles false killall Finder
Finder will shut down and start up once more. Once more, those hidden files won’t be visible.
How to Hide Files On Mac Using Terminal
You might believe that doing everything in Finder would be more beneficial. But if you have Mac files and folders that aren’t hidden but that you wish to be, Terminal can be quite useful.
Here are the steps you need to take to pull this off.
- Open Finder to the directory with the files you want to hide.
- In Terminal, type
chflags hidden, followed by a space, but don t press Enter.
- Drag the file or folder you want to hide from Finder to the Terminal window.
- The file or folder name will appear at the end of your
- Now press Enter.
Your file or folder will be hidden as a result. To make sure, you can use the Terminal commands listed above to display it once again.
Quickly and Temporarily Show Hidden Files in Terminal
You can list your hidden files in the Terminal if you don’t need to change how Finder shows them or don’t want to. The commandls, list, is used appropriately to accomplish this.
- From Terminal, type
- You ll see all of the files in your present directory, including hidden files and folders.
The-aflag is what distinguishes this situation. It instructs the list command to show every file. It is simple to perform this on a separate folder.
- From Terminal, type
ls -a ~/.config
- Just replace
~/.configwith the folder you want to view.
The opencommand can be used to open this file or folder in the GUI if necessary. Here’s an illustration
open .not_visiblewill launch the file called .not_visible, assuming there s an app associated with it.
The similar technique can be used to access hidden folders in Finder.
open ~/.configwill open the hidden folder .config in a Finder window.
Manipulate Hidden Files With Caution
Keep in mind that such secret files and folders are kept hidden for a reason. You could create some serious issues if you unintentionally move or remove a folder or file that macOS depends on. You might need to use Time Machine to first restore the operating system before continuing with the remainder of your data and applications.
But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt to work with hidden files and directories. So exercise caution, good judgement, and double-check your work before committing to it.
Would you like to learn some additional fun Terminal tricks? This list of Mac OS Terminal tips and techniques is a fantastic place to start.
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