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How To Hide And Show Apple Mac Hidden Files

by William Linden
Apple Mac

Apple Mac users looking for a file that cannot be located might be happy to know that by default Apple makes some files and folders invisible when searching in the macOS file manager. If you are looking for a folder or file on your Apple Mac it may be hidden by the OS this quick guide will take you through how to show Mac hidden files.

Apple does this to 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 locate hidden files on your Mac, can be slightly 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 delivered a couple of ways to effortlessly show hidden files and the hidden Library folder on your iMac, MacBook, or Apple 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 and quickly hide the files once again from view.

reveal hidden files on Mac

Sometimes it’s essential to view the hidden ~/Library folder on Mac computers and this is just 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 like 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. Letting you carry out certain maintenance on your own computer or others, producing them to a hidden state after completion to evade accidental deletion.

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