Show Hidden Files on Mac

Mac OS X has always been oriented to an average user, so in normal operation mode it protects user from himself. Therefore all system files are hidden and it’s impossible to access them. But since Mac OS – is a Unix based OS, if you are an experienced user, you can get access through the Terminal.

This article will tell you how to view hidden files and folders. To do this you should write a bit into the Terminal.

Method 1

Type the following command into the Terminal:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool true

Then you must restart the Finder with a command

killall Finder

Now, the hidden files will be displayed in the Finder. If you want to hide them again, then the procedure must be repeated by changing the last word on false.

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool false

killall Finder

Method 2

If you need to make visible a particular file or folder, you can use the command:

chflags nohidden ~/Library

After that, the Library folder will no longer be hidden and will appear as a normal folder.

To restore everything as it was use a similar command

chflags hidden ~/Library

This method is used in case you want to perform actions that are unacceptable for hidden files. To view files we recommend to use Method 1.

Method 3

If you need to view hidden files frequently, it makes sense to use AppleScript and paste into the editor’s window the following code:

set dialogResult to display dialog “Show hidden files?” buttons {“Yes”, “No”}

copy the dialogResult as list to {buttonpressed}

if buttonpressed = “Yes” then

do shell script “defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool true”


do shell script “defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool false”

end if

do shell script “killall Finder”

Then, compile the script and move it to an appropriate location (such as Desktop) as an application.

After running the script, a dialog box that will ask if you want to show hidden files will be displayed. Depending on your answer files will be shown or hidden.

Method 4

You can use our free application Funter. It allows to switch displaying of hidden files in the Finder in 2 clicks. The principle of operation is shown in the demo video.