How Do I Show Hidden Files on My Mac

Show Hidden Files on My Mac

Ever wondered what treasures lie hidden within your Mac? Sometimes, the most essential files are cleverly concealed by your operating system. Whether you're troubleshooting or simply curious, knowing how to reveal these hidden files can be a game-changer. So, how do I show hidden files on my Mac? Buckle up as we dive into this hidden world with easy-to-follow steps, tips, and tricks.

Why Are Files Hidden in MacOS?

Before we dive into the how-tos, let's briefly touch on the why. macOS hides certain files to prevent accidental deletion or modification. These files are often critical to the system's operation and aren't typically needed for everyday use. However, there are times when accessing these hidden files becomes necessary.

Methods to Show Hidden Files

Using Finder

The Keyboard Shortcut Method

One of the quickest ways to show hidden files on your Mac is through a simple keyboard shortcut. Follow these steps:

  1. Open Finder: Navigate to any folder.
  2. Press Command + Shift + Period (.): Voilà! Your hidden files should now appear.

This toggle method allows you to quickly switch between showing and hiding hidden files. Easy, right?

Using Finder Preferences

If shortcuts aren’t your thing, you can use Finder's preferences:

  1. Open Finder: Click on the Finder icon.
  2. Go to Preferences: From the menu bar, select Finder > Preferences.
  3. Select the Sidebar Tab: Check the boxes for the folders you want to appear in the sidebar, making it easier to navigate to hidden files.
  4. Use Command + Shift + Period: Again, this shortcut helps reveal hidden files within the Finder.

Using Terminal

The Terminal Command Method

For those who like to get a bit more technical, Terminal is your friend. Here’s how to use Terminal to show hidden files:

  1. Open Terminal: You can find it in Applications > Utilities.
  2. Type the Following Command:
defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
  1. Press Enter: This command tells Finder to show all files.
  2. Restart Finder: Type killall Finder
  3. and press Enter.

Your hidden files should now be visible in Finder. If you want to hide them again, just repeat the steps with FALSE instead of TRUE.

Automating with a Script

If you find yourself frequently toggling hidden files on and off, you can create a simple script:

  1. Open Terminal.

Create a Script File: Type

      2. and press Enter.

Enter the Script:

 if [ "$1" == "show" ]; then

     defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

 elif [ "$1" == "hide" ]; then

     defaults write AppleShowAllFiles FALSE


 killall Finder

  1. Save and Exit: Press Control + X, then Y, then Enter.
  2. Make the Script Executable: Type chmod +x
  3. and press Enter.

Run the Script: Type
./ show

to show hidden files, and
./ hide

      to hide them.

Using Third-Party Apps

Hidden Files Apps

If Terminal seems intimidating, there are plenty of third-party apps designed to make this process even simpler. Some popular choices include:

  • Commander One: A dual-pane file manager that makes it easy to toggle hidden files.
  • ForkLift: Another powerful file manager with built-in options to show hidden files.
  • Path Finder: A versatile tool that offers many customization options, including viewing hidden files.

These apps often come with additional features that can enhance your file management experience.

Accessing Library Folder

Sometimes, you specifically need access to the Library folder, which is hidden by default. Here’s how to reveal it:

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Go to the Go Menu: In the menu bar, click on Go.
  3. Press and Hold the Option Key: The Library folder should appear in the dropdown menu.
  4. Select Library: Click on it to access your hidden Library folder.


Why does macOS hide certain files?

macOS hides files to protect crucial system components from accidental deletion or modification. This helps ensure the stability and functionality of your operating system.

Can showing hidden files harm my Mac?

Revealing hidden files won’t harm your Mac, but be cautious. Avoid deleting or modifying files you’re not familiar with, as they might be critical to the system's operation.

How can I hide the files again?

To hide files again, you can use the same methods mentioned above. For the Terminal command, just replace TRUE with FALSE.

Are there any hidden files I should never touch?

Yes, many hidden files are essential for macOS to function properly. If you're unsure about a file, it’s best to leave it alone or seek expert advice.


And there you have it! Whether you prefer using Finder, Terminal, or third-party apps, revealing hidden files on your Mac is straightforward and manageable. With these methods at your fingertips, you can explore the depths of your Mac's file system and uncover any concealed documents with ease. Remember, though, with great power comes great responsibility—handle those hidden files with care! Now, go forth and reveal those hidden treasures.


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