How to show hidden files on macOS

Show hidden files on MacOS

MacOS has a specialty that it won’t show many important system files and operating system folders for the users. Unlike the Windows operating system, most of the system files are hidden for a good reason. So it is not easily possible for us to view the hidden files. However, we have a trick to show hidden files on macOS.

These files are hidden for a good reason. Otherwise, a novice user might delete or change some important system files, and that will cause system-wide severe issues and data loss. Unhiding those files only if you are very sure about what you are going to do. You will only have to do this if some malware or any file mismanagement infect your Mac.

How to show hidden files on macOS

There are multiple methods to unhide the files in the library on macOS. However, here we are discussing the easiest method only. It involves a basic terminal operation, and anyone can do it quickly without much struggle. But make sure you are doing it correctly. Otherwise, you will mess up something.

  1. Open ‘Terminal’ app in your Mac.  You can open this by clicking Spotlight and then search for the word “terminal.”
  2. Once the terminal is open, you can type the following command line in the terminal window: If your system is running OS 10.9 or later:
    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -boolean true ; killall Finder
  3. If it is running on OS X 10.8 and earlier, use this command instead:
    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE ; killall Finder.

 Show hidden files on MacOS

These commands will show hidden files on macOS in your library, and you can them. Just make sure you are not accidentally changing or deleting any critical system files or folders.

How to re-hide files in macOS

Now you have successfully unhid the hidden files for your important work. Now it is recommended to re-hide those files and folders again. Otherwise, some other users or you might make some critical mistakes in the system folders. Follow the steps described below to re-hide the files again.

  1. Open Terminal. If you are using OS 10.9 or later, type the following command at the prompt:
    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -boolean false ; killall Finder
  2. If you’re using OS X 10.8 and earlier, use this command instead:
    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles FALSE ; killall Finder.

How to hide files in MacOSX

These are the simple steps to unhide and re-hide the hidden system files and folders in macOS. It involves some very basic command lines only. Follow the commands carefully, and you will be all set. If you use this frequently, you might find this as a very time-consuming thing. Instead, you can set up a terminal alias, and it will save your time. However it is a complicated process, so we are not discussing it here.

About the author

Akhil G

Skilled technology writer and widely-read journalist. Social media Influencer, FB India Media Partner. Managing multiple news portals and writing for many. Google Hall Of Fame award winner. Youth Icon of the year - Government of Kerala 2018.