Modern versions of Mac OS offer a super-fast and easy way to reveal invisible files on a Mac, all you need to use is a keyboard shortcut. With a simple keystroke, you can instantly show hidden files on a Mac, and with another strike of the same keyboard shortcut, you can instantly hide the hidden files again too.
This is by far the fastest way possible to show and hide invisible files on a Mac. Here is an example of what the Macintosh HD directory looks like after hidden files are made visible, and after hidden files are made invisible again, this is demonstrated in animated GIF format so that you can see the hidden files appearing and disappearing:. As you can see the hidden files and folders become visible and invisible as the keyboard shortcut is pressed. The hidden files and folders, often marked as hidden via chflags commandsetfilesor by placing a.
The now visible hidden files will be displayed as having slightly faded names and icons, to offer a visual indicator that the file or folder in question is usually hidden. Note that with hidden files made visible, they will become visible in all folders on the Mac, just like what happens if you use the defaults command to show hidden files in Mac OS and Mac OS X.
If you prefer the command line approach for whatever reason, it is still available to modern Mac OS releases. And of course you can quickly toggle to hide the hidden files again and make them no longer visible by using the same keyboard shortcut:. The visual indicator of hidden files and folders is fairly obvious.
Each hidden file or folder is represented by the faded opaque icon and name:. As mentioned before, you can still show and hide hidden files in Mac OS with a defaults command if you want to, or you can enable with a defaults command and hide them again with the aforementioned keystroke, but the defaults string syntax is simply no longer necessary to gain quick access to the hidden files.
Again, this keyboard shortcut trick only applies to modern MacOS releases, earlier versions of system software will need monflo ports use the command line method instead. Whether you show or hide invisible files on the Mac is entirely up to you, but generally speaking having them made visible is most appropriate for advanced Mac users who need to access the hidden directories or files that are scattered throughout Mac OS.
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Enter your email address below:. This is brilliant. So great. Even better is this tip of creating hidden folders simply by just typing a period.
I have it from under Snow Leopard. I forgot about it! French user here also…. MacOS So yes you have to have the bleach low contrast interface to use this tip. I tried this trick and the file has completely disappeared.
Where could it have gone to? The really strange thing is that it put a screenshot of the file in Dropbox at the same time.
Name required. Mail will not be published required. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. January 17, at am. PliSsK says:. October 30, at am.What all of us have in common, however, is a huge range of system files that are hidden just out of view. Those of us who have lived online for long enough will remember the Delete System32 hoax, with which trolls encouraged naive PC users to delete their Windows system directory.
There are, however, times when you need to access those files. What does it contain? How to get your System folder under control? There are a couple of Finder augmentation and replacement apps, for example, that make the process as easy as clicking a single button. After all, these files are hidden for a reason! In fact, you can check out all of the hidden files on your Mac by following just three easy steps:. This process will also work elsewhere, including your Documents or Applications folders.
Be prepared for one very cluttered looking Desktop if you decide to uncover all the hidden files there. Some users have reported success finding documents that they thought were lost forever after their Mac crashed without saving, which is always a useful tip to have in the back pocket.
Terminal, a Mac command-line interface, is included in macOS by default and allows you to use command prompts to control your Mac instead of following a potentially complex series of instructions to do the same thing in Finder.
One reason you might opt to use Terminal is that it allows you to hide any file or folder on your Mac, which is a great way to avoid that sense of residual curiosity felt by others should they come across a password protected. To hide files, just:. How to find the path of a file in Mac? Because these apps allow you to make hidden files and folders visible or invisible using shortcuts or clicking buttons within the apps, they make the whole process incredibly simple.
In Forkliftfor example, you can show hidden files by:. As you might guess from those subtle differences in terminology, we would suggest that Forklift is more suitable for someone looking for something that really looks and acts like Finder. DCommanderwith a larger range of features and toolbar buttons enabled by default, is still intuitive but feels a little more dense.
For some Mac users, the question of how to see hidden files is nothing more than succumbing to curiosity. Somewhere in between are those in the pursuit of a few spare gigabytes as their hard drive rapidly fills up. Best of all, DCommander, Forklift, and CleanMyMac X apps mentioned above are all available for a free trial through Setappa collection of more than macOS apps from top developers all over the world.
Currently Mac-less? Here's how to prepare for all the awesome things you'll do with Setapp. Sign Up. Try free. Repeat step 2 to hide them again! Unhide files on Mac with Terminal commands Terminal, a Mac command-line interface, is included in macOS by default and allows you to use command prompts to control your Mac instead of following a potentially complex series of instructions to do the same thing in Finder.
Use file managers to access hidden files How to find the path of a file in Mac? Leave hidden files to automatic cleanup For some Mac users, the question of how to see hidden files is nothing more than succumbing to curiosity. Get Setapp. More reads you might like. Easily Map a Network Drive on Mac.
Guidelines for organizing files and folders. Setapp lives on Mac. Come back when you've got a bigger screen handy.During these challenging times, we guarantee we will work tirelessly to support you. We will continue to give you accurate and timely information throughout the crisis, and we will deliver on our mission — to help everyone in the world learn how to do anything — no matter what. Thank you to our community and to all of our readers who are working to aid others in this time of crisis, and to all of those who are making personal sacrifices for the good of their communities.
We will get through this together. Updated: December 29, Tech Tested. If you don't have any hidden folders on your Mac, you can make one. Open Finder. Click Go. Click Computer. Double-click your hard drive.
Article Edit. Learn why people trust wikiHow. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
The wikiHow Tech Team also followed the article's instructions and validated that they work.Most Mac users rely on Spotlight to search for files and folders. However, your Mac has thousands of useless hidden files that are out of your view and which take up much of your disk space. The macOS operating system keeps system files invisible and neither Spotlight nor Finder can show hidden files. Enter into the Terminal Window the next command: defaults write com. Finder AppleShowAllFiles true.
Relaunch Terminal with by typing killall Finder. Now you can see all hidden files. To hide the files again you need to copy and paste defaults write com. Finder AppleShowAllFiles false. Then relaunch Finder by adding command killall Finder. Finder AppleShowAllFiles 1" else do shell script "defaults write com. Finder AppleShowAllFiles 0 " end if tell application "" to quit delay 1 tell application "" to activate. Save the file as a program in any directory.
Now get the newly created program and run it in Finder. It will change the file visibility automatically. There is a free app called Funter for the macOS operating system that shows hidden files with one click.
With Funter you can show hidden files, find hidden files, copy, move or delete them easily and quickly. Here is how to use it step by step:.
3 ways to show hidden system files on Mac
Download Funter here. Launch the application.
After switching visibility, your Finder will be relaunched and all hidden files will be visible. The first two methods require a little time and manual labor. You can also write scripts in separate files, and run those commands. Nonetheless, we recommend using Funter to hide and unhide files and folders.
It is more convenient and easy to use. Moreover, Funter is preferable due to the ability to search for hidden files and hide files. Free Download. You are here: Home 3 ways to show hidden system files on Mac Most Mac users rely on Spotlight to search for files and folders.Need to show hidden files on a Mac?
This is pretty common if you find yourself needing to access hidden files on your Mac, like an. This changes the default setting of Mac OS X so that Finder always shows all files, including showing hidden files. For showing hidden files and folders in macOS High Sierra For showing hidden files in Mac OS X Here is what the defaults command string which shows hidden files looks like in the Mac Terminal:.
The Finder will refresh after you hit the Return key, which causes Finder to quit and relaunch itself for the changes to take effect, thus revealing hidden files on the Mac. Examples of how hidden files show up in the Finder are shown below. This setting stays in place until it has been reversed or disabled, which would cause all files to become hidden again just as the default.
Remember the Finder must relaunch to show hidden files and folders, they will appear as slightly translucent icons alongside the normal icons. Then the command to kill and relaunch Finder on Mac, which is where the invisible files will now be shown:.
Note that refreshing Finder is always necessary. That casing is important, however, which is why you must enter exact syntax. To hide files that are intended to be hidden again, thus going back to the default Mac settings of keeping them invisible, you can just type the following defaults command.
Hit return, and again the command will set the file visibility change and relaunch Finder so that it can relaunch for changes to take effect. You will instantly see the change as once-hidden files are revealed. That command sequence can be used to toggle back or forth, thereby revealing and hiding the files again as needed.
For many users, this keystroke is the most appropriate use for when an invisible file must be modified but there is no need to make them all visible all the time. Another way to quickly see hidden files in OS X is by using the ls command within the Terminal, at the command line type the following:.
The -a flag tells the ls list command to show all contents, including hidden files. You then just have to specify a directory if you want to see the hidden files in it:. This trick can also be used to open hidden directories into the Finder, for example with the following syntax:.
Show Hidden Files in Mac OS X
Enjoy this tip? Subscribe to the OSXDaily newsletter to get more of our great Apple tips, tricks, and important news delivered to your inbox! Enter your email address below:.It seems like every day I search Google for the command to show hidden files on Mac OS X, not to mention Googling for the command to then hide those hidden files a few minutes later.
Today I decided to make a short and easy to remember alias to speed up the process. Press once to show hidden files and again to hide them. Thanks to Guido Schlabitz for making me aware of this new shortcut.
This will show all hidden files. To hide them again, follow the same steps but replace the Terminal command with:. A Terminal alias is a name or shortcut for one or multiple commands.How to Show Hidden Files on Mac - Apple Mac Tutorial
Using an easy to remember alias, we can turn the above four step process into just one. An alias can be made temporarily just for the use of one terminal session or permanently. Now when you want to show hidden files, all you need type in Terminal is showFilesthen hideFiles when you want to hide them. This is the command to show hidden files and is ended with a semi-colon ; so we can then use the second command:.
Aliases can be used to speed up your interaction with the Terminal. Set up an alias for navigating to your most used directories, to commit to a GitHub repo and so on. Adding aliases to. Follow IanLunn.Like any operating system, macOS keeps important files hidden to prevent them from being deleted and, as a result, from system damage.
However, sooner or later there may be a reason for making them visible. For example:. Below we have described four possible methods you can use to make the hidden part of your macOS operating system visible. The easiest way to show hidden files is to use the free Funter application. Funter allows you to find, hide and search for hidden files on your Mac in just a few clicks. Free Download. You can use a special keyboard shortcut to see all hidden files on your Mac.
Here is how to make hidden files visible:. If you need to find hidden files by their names we recommend using Funter. Funter can find any hidden file on Mac just by entering a file name and clicking Find. Terminal is a command-line application that allows you to manage your Mac using low-level commands. To operate the app correctly, you will need to be familiar with Terminal commands.
This command will restart the Finder and then you will see hidden files and folders on your Mac. So, you should perform these two commands to make the hidden files invisible again: defaults write com.
AppleScript is a language developed to help you automate repetitive or time-consuming Mac actions. You can also make hidden files visible using AppleScript. Generally, AppleScripts are created within the Script Editor tool. Save this file to use it later. Each time you need to hide or show hidden files and folders, just open this script file and click the Run button. You can display hidden files on your Mac using the Funter app, an AppleScript, a Terminal command or a keyboard shortcut.
If you are looking for the easiest solution to manage your hidden files you may want to use the free Funter tool. Funter will give you access to hidden files and folders but also will help you search for hidden files by their names. More importantly, it can make essential data invisible to prevent its accidental removal.
You are here: Home How to Show hidden files on Mac Like any operating system, macOS keeps important files hidden to prevent them from being deleted and, as a result, from system damage. You should be very careful with hidden files. If you delete hidden files by mistake, it may cause damage to your Mac!