How to show hidden files on your Mac

  • You can view the hidden files on your Mac by going to the three libraries on your computer.
  • You can also use the Finder or the Terminal app to search for hidden files on a Mac.
  • Or, it is possible to use a third-party file manager to view all your Mac files in one place.
  • Visit Insider’s Technical Reference Library for more stories.

Sometimes computers malfunction, which can mean that your files are moved to folders that you have never visited before. This is when searching your hidden files can help.

On a Mac, there are many areas where a hidden file can appear. Actually, there are three separate libraries where you can search for hidden files.

Here is how to find the hidden files on your Mac.

How to Show Hidden Files on Mac in Finder

1. Click it Searcher app in your bottom toolbar (that’s the halftone face icon). If you don’t see your computer’s name in the Finder sidebar, continue to the next step. Otherwise, go to step four.

2. Click on Searcher in the top toolbar and select Preferences.

Screenshot of Finder menu with Preferences.

Go to your Finder’s preferences.

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3. In the pop-up window, select the Lateral bar tab, then check the box next to your computer name.

Screenshot of the Finder Preferences menu on a Mac

Check the box next to your computer name, under “Locations”.

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4. Go in Searcher and select your computer name from the sidebar.

5. Click on Macintosh HD.

Screenshot of Mac folder in Finder

Select the “Macintosh HD” folder.

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6. hurry Command + Shift + period key. The hidden files will then appear, and some, if not all, will be grayed out.

Screenshot of hidden files in Macintosh HD file on Mac

The keyboard shortcut will expose your hidden files in that area of ​​your computer.

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7. Repeat the keyboard shortcut to hide files again.

How to show hidden files on Mac in Terminal

For those unfamiliar with Terminal, it is essentially a command line system that allows you to take control and interact with your operating system.

For the uninitiated, it might not be worth it. But if you are already familiar with the Mac Terminal, you might find that this process is a bit faster:

1. Open Terminal (if you haven’t added it to your dock, you can find it by clicking on the dashboard and searching Terminal).

Screenshot of the terminal as it appears when you find it using the Launchpad

Search for Terminal in your Launchpad.

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2. To stick on defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles true and hit To recover.

Screenshot of terminal with command to show hidden files pasted in

Paste the command on the Terminal.

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3. Paste or type, Killall Finder and press the return key again.

To hide the files again, change true To false in the original order.

How to find the Library folder and the different types of libraries

Your Mac actually has three libraries, and each can be accessed in different ways:

  • Library: This can be found via Searcher, and can be accessed by following the steps in the first section of this article.
  • ~ / Library: Hidden in your home file, you can find this library by opening Finder, pressing Command + Shift + H, then using the Command + Shift + period key shortcut.
  • System library: To access this library you will need to follow the steps to find the Library. Of Macintosh HD folder, double click System. You will see the System Library folder inside.

Screenshot of the Macintosh HD folder in Finder on a Mac

Open the System folder to view your system library.

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Try to use third party file managers

A third-party file manager can provide a slightly more convenient way to show your hidden files alongside all of your other data, as they would all be visible on one interface. Here are some examples of file managers:

  • Path search: This includes the integration of AirDrop and DropBox as well as a folder synchronization tool. It has a 30-day free trial, after which it costs $ 36.
  • muCommander: You can use universal bookmarks with this manager, customize the interface and configure keyboard shortcuts for easier use. It is available free of charge.


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