How to Show Hidden Files on MacOS

Mac Folders

Did you ever try finding a file on your Mac—one that you know has to be in there somewhere, but you just can’t find it? Unlike Windows, which lists hidden files, it’s not so easy to find hidden files on a Mac. In order to show hidden files on your Mac, you’re going to need to use the Terminal application. It’s slightly involved, but stay with us and you’ll find your hidden files in no time.

Open Terminal

Navigate to your Terminal application on your Mac.                                                                                                          Terminal Mac

Maybe you have it already sitting in your dock. Another way to get there is from Finder—click “Go,” scroll down to “Applications,” then scroll to the “Utilities” folder and click on it. Find the Terminal application in the Utilities folder and open it. Another option:

  • In Finder click on “Go,” then scroll down to “Utilities” and click on it.                                                Finder Utilties
  • In the “Utilities” folder, double-click on Terminal, which opens it.                                Terminal App

Why are there so many ways to get to the Terminal application on Mac? No idea; choose the method that’s easiest for you.

Show Hidden Files

Once you have Terminal open:

  1. Type defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES and press the “Enter” key on your keyboard.  terminal default
  2. Next, press and hold the “Option” key on your keyboard and right-click on the Finder icon in your dock. Then, select “Relaunch” in the pop-up list.                                                                                                                                   finder relaunch
  3. After the relaunch, all hidden files will be viewable.

Re-hide Hidden Files

Open Terminal as directed above.

  1. Type defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles NO and press the “Enter” key on your keyboard.  terminal no
  2. Next, press and hold the “Option” key on your keyboard and right-click on the Finder icon in your dock. Then, select “Relaunch” in the pop-up list.                                                                                                                                   finder relaunch
  3. After the relaunch, all hidden files will no longer be viewable and once again will be hidden.

So, by simply typing either of the two commands we’ve listed above, you can either display or re-hide the hidden files on your Mac.

If you’d like to automate the process, you can do that too, by creating a script to simplify things even further. It’s particularly useful if you need to access hidden files often, for whatever reason. We’re not covering that process in this article, but there are many sources available on the Internet (which we may even cover in a future post). Some have already written a script that you can either download or copy and paste into a savable file.

We’re hoping this article has proven to be useful to you. If you quickly need access to hidden files and then want to re-hide them after you’ve found what was needed, then this is the most popular and proven way to do it.

 

 

Posted by Heather on June 21, 2016

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