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How to Show Hidden Files on MacBook in Five Different Ways?

how to show hidden files on macbook

Your MacBook has hidden files that you cannot see. There are valid reasons for the computer manufacturer and administrator to do so. The most important reason could be to prevent you from deleting or damaging system-related files and folders accidentally. However, there could be times when you may need to see those hidden files. In order to do that you must know how to show hidden files on MacBook. And this article is just what you needed.

How to show hidden files on MacBook?

1. Using Finder– You can have a look at the hidden files using the Finder app. Find out how:

  • Click on the Finder app in the toolbar
  • Choose Preferences
  • Click on the Sidebar tab in the pop-up window
  • Check the box next to the computer’s name under Locations
  • Get into Finder and select the computer’s name in the sidebar
  • Select the Macintosh HD folder
  •  Press Command+Shift+Period (cmd + shift + .) together
  • See the hidden files in the folder being displayed and some of them may be greyed out
  • Use the same keyboard shortcut to hide the files again

2. Using keyboard shortcuts– A quick keyboard shortcut can be used to display hidden files on any folder of MacBook. The files will be greyed out but you should be able to see them. This is also a great way to determine the amount of space the hidden files occupy. Here is the shortcut:

  • Open Macintosh HD or the folder whose hidden files you want to display in Finder
  • Press Command+Shift+Period (cmd + shift + .) together
  • See the hidden files in the folder being displayed
  • The same keyboard shortcut can be used to hide the files again

3. Using Terminal– Terminal is a command-line system. It lets you take control over and interact with the operating system as well. This may be a bit of effort for the uninitiated. However, this process would be a bit faster if you are familiar with Terminal. Here is how it is done:

  • Open the Terminal or click the Launchpad to search for Terminal
  • Paste this command on the Terminal- defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles true and click the return key
  • Paste in or type- killall Finder and click the return key again.
  • To make the files hidden again paste this command on the Terminal- defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles false and click the return key

You may find this article useful: Know How to Delete Temporary Files on MacBook

4. Using Finder to locate the Library folder– There are three libraries in a MacBook. All of them need to be accessed differently. Here are the ways to access different libraries:

i. Library

  • Open Finder and click on the Option key (Alt)
  • Click on Go in the menu
  • Select Library
  • Click on Go
  • The hidden files will be displayed

 ii. ~/Library

  • Open Finder or press the Command+Shift+H (Cmd + Shift + H) keys to open the Home folder
  • Press Command+Shift+Period (cmd + shift + .)
  • The hidden files on this library will be displayed

iii. System Library

  • Open Macintosh HD
  • Double click on System to view the system library and the hidden files in it

5. Using a third-party file manager- It is more convenient to view hidden files using a third-party manager since it lets you see other data as well on the same interface. Some of the most popular file managers include:

i. Path Finder- This has the option of DropBox and AirDrop integration along with a folder sync tool. It comes with a 30-day free trial, after which it can be purchased for $ 36.

ii. muCommander- This one allows the use of universal bookmarks. You can customize the interface. If you want, you can set up keyboard shortcuts as well. The best part is that muCommander is free.

For better clarity, watch the YouTube video:

Now that you know how to show hidden files on MacBook in five different ways, tell us which option you find the easiest? A word of caution, please be extremely careful while accessing the hidden system files as you would not want to damage the operating system.