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How to show hidden files on Mac

hidden files

Automatically, your Mac or MacBook hides thousands of files and folders so you can not modify or delete them by mistake. If you do, your computer settings will also be changed and this could have unintended consequences.

Now, these hidden files can be very useful if we have a technical problem with our device, such as opening a program, or it is also good to know how to show them in order to eliminate them and free up space.

That is why in this article we offer you the basic knowledge you should know about this type of files, as well as the steps to follow to make them visible. We will also delve into the famous hidden folder ‘Library’.

What files are hidden on a Mac?

On all UNIX-based operating systems, such as macOS, hidden files are preceded by a period (“.”), Making them not appear in your Finder’s normal list of files. Some examples are: .htaccess, .bash_profile or .svn.

There are also folders that are not visible, like / usr, / Trash or / etc. The most popular of them, perhaps, is / Library, which we will talk about later. It is where the files and information of your applications are stored.

How to open the ‘Library’ folder on a Mac?

Method 1. Locate the ‘~ / Library’ folder in the ‘Macintosh HD’ folder

. Open the ‘ Finder ‘ of your Mac or MacBook and select the ‘ Macintosh HD ‘ folder that you will see on the left hand side under the ‘ Devices ‘ section.

Mac HD Finder

. Now, open the ‘ Users ‘ folder , followed by the folder that bears your name. It will be easy to identify because it has a house icon .

Mac HD Finder 1

. To see the hidden files in this folder, press the ‘ Command ‘, ‘ Shift ‘ and ‘ keys at the same time ‘. You can already locate the one titled ‘ Library ‘.

make library folder visible mac os x setting

Method 2. Find the ‘~ / Library’ folder from the ‘Go to folder …’ function

. Open the ‘ Finder ‘ of your Mac or MacBook, click on the ‘ Go ‘ option in the toolbar that you will see at the top of your screen and select ‘ Go to folder … ‘ from the drop-down menu.

Go To Folder Menu thumb

. Then enter ‘ / Library ‘ and hit the ‘ Go ‘ button to be redirected to the folder in question.

show library folder mac

. You can now see all the files contained in the ‘ Library ‘ folder .

How to make the ‘Library’ folder always visible?

If you use the first method explained in the previous section, the ‘Library’ folder will be visible only while you have your ‘Finder’ open. When you close it, the hidden files will no longer be visible.

But what if you need to always have the ‘Library’ folder at your fingertips? You simply need to create a shortcut. To do this, press the ‘Alt’ and ‘Command’ keys while dragging that folder onto your desktop.

How to show hidden files with ‘Terminal’ function?

Another method to make hidden files on your computer stop being hidden is by using the ‘Terminal’ application that includes all Macs and MacBooks. Here we explain how.

. Open the ‘ Terminal ‘ app using the Spotlight search engine which you can access using the magnifying glass icon that should appear on the right side of the toolbar.

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. Now, enter the following text: defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE , and hit ‘ Enter ‘.

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. Finally, press the ‘ Alt ‘ key and right-click on the ‘ Finder ‘ icon . Select the ‘ Force restart ‘ option so that from now on the hidden files are no longer hidden. You can identify them by their somewhat more translucent icon.

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