Apple Mac users searching for a file that cannot be found might be interested to know that by default Apple makes certain files and folders invisible when searching in the macOS file manager. If you are looking for a folder or file on your Apple Mac computer it may be hidden by the operating system this quick guide will take you through how to show Mac hidden files.
Apple does this make sure that certain files and folders cannot be deleted by accident. Although there is an easy way to enable your macOS to show all hidden files and folders. If you are new to the Apple macOS or wondering how to show hidden files on Mac this quick guide will take you through the shortcuts you can use to quickly reveal them.
Trying to find hidden files on your Mac, can be a little annoying, especially when you’re trying to carry out certain actions or tasks that need access to files within the Library folder or certain system folders. Thankfully Apple has provided a couple of ways to easily show hidden files and the hidden Library folder on your iMac, MacBook or Apples computers. You can do this either graphically using the Finder file manager or using the command-line terminal application. Just choose whichever way you feel most comfortable using.
MacOS shortcut to show hidden files
Simply open the Finder application and select the ‘Macintosh HD’ drive on the left-hand side under the ‘Locations’ section and use the shortcut “Command + Shift + . “to reveal all the hidden Mac system files greyed out, but listed in Finder. Repeating the shortcut will then reverse the process quickly hide the files once again from view.
Sometimes it’s necessary to view the hidden ~/Library folder on Mac computers and this is just a simple to reveal using Finder once again, if you haven’t already used the show hidden file shortcut above. If you have, then the Library folder will already show in the Finder Go menu as in the image above.
To show the Library folder without using the above shortcut, open a new Finder window and then select ‘Go’ to reveal the drop down from the top text menu. Once it shows press the “Option” key on your Mac keyboard, between ‘Control’ and ‘Command’ and the Library folder will be revealed in your list of locations, its position is roughly in the middle of the list just under ‘Home’ as in the image above.
If you would like to permanently show the Mac ~/Library once revealed, you can drag it to the left-hand-side shortcut section of Finder where it will remain for easy access even after closing down your Mac.
Using the terminal to reveal macOS hidden files
If you prefer using the command line you can carry out the same action using the Mac Terminal app by entering the following code one at a time :
defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles true killall Finder
To reverse the process and hide all your files once again on Mac enter the lines of code below one at a time :
defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles false killall Finder
These simple shortcuts and terminal commands provide easy ways for you to reveal hidden files on your Mac permanently or temporarily. Allowing you to carry out certain maintenance on your own computer or others, returning them to a hidden state after completion to avoid accidental deletion.
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