Your Mac has entire libraries and directories hidden from view. But those files don’t become invisible just to keep your folders clean. They’re isolated for a reason: deleting, modifying, or moving one could seriously affect the performance of your macOS. In other words, those hundreds of files are what help your operating system run smoothly.
However, if you need to access one of these files, don’t worry. Apple offers several ways to show the hidden files that Mac has. Let’s take a look at how Mac can show hidden files.
Why show files on macOS?
You may have a legitimate reason to display files. But Apple hides the files to prevent accidental damage to the operating system. Before you do anything, make sure you understand the risks. While there is nothing dangerous about displaying files, many users tend to do so for the purpose of playing games or deleting something. Only delete files that you know are safe to delete.
Lastly, since an important reason to delete files is to get free storage, it might be worth reminding you of alternatives that don’t require touching hidden Mac files. For example, NordLocker. It’s a secure cloud with a free 3GB plan, end-to-end encryption both in the cloud and on-premises, and backup, as well as the ability to download your files and save device storage.
Show hidden files through Mac Finder
The first and easiest method is to use Mac Finder to show
hidden files: Open the folder where
- you want to search for hidden files
- Press the “Command” + “Shift” + “.“ button (dot) keys at the same time.
- Hidden files will appear as translucent in the folder.
- If you want to hide the files again, press the same “Command” + “Shift” + “.” (period) combination.
Mac Terminal: Show hidden files
Another way is by using the Mac Terminal to show hidden files:
Open Terminal by typing “Terminal” in the Mac’s search bar. Alternatively, you can find it by clicking Go on the menu bar, selecting “Applications”, scrolling down to “Utilities”, expanding the folder, and clicking “Terminal
- Type “ defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles true” and press “Enter“.
- Type “killall Finder” and press “Enter” again.
Once you run the script, hidden files should appear in the Finder. When you’re done, save the files again by following these steps:
Open Terminal. Type “
- defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles false
- Type “killall Finder” and press “Enter” again
” and press “Enter”.
You can also use Terminal to hide your specific files from prying eyes. To hide something from view on your Mac, follow these steps:
- Type “hidden chflags“.
- Enter” to hide the files
Drag the files you want to hide to the Terminal window. Press “
Note that anyone can reveal the folders you just hid using the same methods. If you want to protect your data from snoopers properly, consider NordLocker’s Mac file encryption. This way, no one but you will be able to see the contents of the files.
View hidden files
on a Mac
using file managers
Another way to reveal hidden files is by using third-party file managers. File managers make the process relatively easy. Here’s how to show hidden files on Mac with
- Open the ForkLift app
- Click “View” on the top menu.
- Select “Show hidden files“.
That’s it! Now you can play with the files as you see fit. But don’t forget to be careful — accidentally moving or deleting one of these files can disrupt your computer’s performance.