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How to Show Hidden Files on Mac
How To / MAC /

How to Show Hidden Files on Mac

When we open any folder on our Mac we find several files that reside inside that folder. But are those the only files that are inside that folder? Then the answer to this question is no. A folder or a drive of your Mac contains some visible and some hidden files. Although Mac deliberately hides these files to avoid the accidental deletion however sometimes for troubleshooting purposes you may need to look into these files. Therefore in this article we will be going to discuss how to view hidden files on Mac.

View Hidden Files on Mac

Like Windows operating systems, Mac operating systems also have some crucial system files that are by default kept hidden from its users. The sole purpose of this is to avoid any accidental deletion of the files that can result in crashing of the operating system. Now although these hidden files contain crucial system files but some of the files and folders can be of no use and are only occupying space on your drive. Therefore to release the space first you have to learn how to view hidden files on Mac.

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How to View Hidden Files on Mac

In this article we will discuss two simplest ways to view the hidden files. And once you are able to get across these hidden files you can view them, edit them, rename them or even delete them similar to what you do with other files.

But before you continue, we would like to make you well aware of the fact that you need to be extra cautious while dealing with these files. As deleting a genuine system file may make your entire system inoperable.

How to See Hidden Files on Mac with a Shortcut in Finder

We all know that shortcut keys eases our task as we do not have to navigate through various settings. Similarly there is a shortcut that very few users know to view hidden files in a Mac.

CMD + Shift + Dot is the Keyboard Shortcut to see hidden files on Mac. Let’s check how and where you use this shortcut.

1. On your Mac click on the Finder icon and from the side pane select Macintosh HD Folder.

2. Now once you are in Macintosh HD Folder, press all three Command + Shift + Dot keys at the same time.

3. As soon as you press the keys you can see all the hidden files in this folder of your mac. The hidden files will appear as greyed out as compared to other files on the screen.

Note: You can follow the exact same steps to find hidden files on your Mac from other folders such as documents and applications folder. Moreover if you have attached any external drive or USB to your Mac then also you can follow the steps to reveal the hidden files.

MacinTosh HD

4. Now once you are done, it is always a good practice to hide the files again, by pressing Command + Shift + Dot keys.

Also Read: Mac Not Starting Up: Possible Fixes To Know!

View Hidden Files and Folders on Mac Using Terminal

Terminal is the same command line tool for Mac users as Command Prompt is for Windows users. The Terminal tool that comes by default with MacOS is one of the most powerful using which you can do almost any task to control your Mac.

Although to work on Terminal you need to use some complex looking commands but the process can be pretty straightforward if you know these commands.

Note: This method will show all the hidden files and folders on your Mac in one go.

1. Open the Terminal from the dock. In case you haven’t added it to the dock, then click on the Launchpad and search for Terminal.

2. Now on the terminal window, type the following command and press the return key.
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

Terminal Windows

3. Once done type the next command given below and again press the return key on your keyboard.
killall Finder

4. The command killall Finder will relaunch the Finder, and you can see all the hidden files and folders on your Mac.

Now once you purpose of viewing the hidden files on Mac is completed, we highly recommend you to hide them back.

To hide back the files and folders follow the steps below:

  • Click on the Launchpad and search for Terminal to launch it.
  • On the terminal window type the following command and press return key.
    defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles False
  • Now type the next command given below and press the return key on the keyboard.
    killall Finder
  • Your Finder will relaunch and you are no longer able to see the hidden files on your Mac.

Also Read: How to Speed Up Mac Using Startup Manager Apps

Wrapping Up

So folks since now you have learnt about the hidden files of mac and how to view these hidden files you can now perform the desired operation on them. But do not forget to hide them back once you are done. Also do share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Recommended Readings:

Best Word Processing Software Alternatives for Mac Users

How to Compress Files in Mac, Windows and Linux PCs?

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Jack

    This was a very helpful article. I had no idea we could do this on mac.

  2. Akshita

    Quite helpful blog especially the shortcuts that can be used in Finder. Thankyou for sharing this.

  3. Sophia

    my all my files icon is gone in the left side do you know how I can put that backup?

  4. James

    Thank you for sharing keyboard shortcuts to open Finder and other menus this really help save time and perform the desired action i.e. viewing hidden files on Mac

  5. Amara Smith

    shortcuts you shared i didnt knew earlier thanks guys for inceasing my tech knowledge day by day

  6. Mansi Vijay

    I didn't know finding and viewing hidden files on Mac was this easy. Kudos to the writer!

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