MacOS has always been highly protected from being damaged by an average user’s inaccurate operations.  That’s why it is impossible to access some system folders. They are hidden by default.  However, computer geeks know ways how to show hidden folders on Mac. Let’s learn 4 common methods to see and find hidden files and folders.


How to view hidden files and folders on Mac


View Hidden Folders on Mac with Terminal


  • For the first method, you should write a bit into the Terminal.

    1. Open Terminal application from Launchpad.
    2. Copy and paste the following command into the Terminal window:

    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool true

    3. Then you need to restart the Finder with a command:

     killall Finder

    You will see hidden files and folders in the Finder.

    If you want to hide them back, then repeat the operation but change in the command the last word to false.

    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool false

    killall Finder


Make Hidden Files Visible with Applescript


  • You can make viewing hidden files on Mac quicker. Use for that AppleScript application.

    1. Open AppleScript from LaunchPad.
    2. Copy and paste into the editor’s window the following code:

    display dialog “Show all files” buttons {“TRUE”, “FALSE”}
    set result to button returned of result
    if result is equal to “TRUE” then
              do shell script “defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -boolean true”
              do shell script “defaults delete AppleShowAllFiles”
    end if
    do shell script “killall Finder”

    3. Click Play button.
    4. Save the file and use it whenever you need to hide or unhide folders.


View Hidden Items with Show Hidden Files App


  • You can make viewing hidden files on Mac quicker. Use for that AppleScript application.

    1. Launch “Show Hidden Files
    2. In a search field type the file’s name. As an example we will look for hidden cache files
    3. From the list of hidden files found, select an item and click the “Show in Finder” button (arrow sign)
    4. The selected file or folder will be shown in the Finder. You can view and manage files in this hidden folder until the Finder window is opened
    After closing and relaunching the Finder, the hidden folder will be invisible again.

  • show hidden files - way 4


Use Show Hidden Files App with a Special Script


Instructions for free upgrade to Show Hidden Files app to enable an option for managing hidden files’ visibility.
Follow the steps below:

    1. Install the free app Show Hidden Files from the Mac App Store
    2. Download the archive and unpack it. You will find there 2 script files:
      • HideHiddensAndRelaunchFinder
      • ShowHiddensAndRelaunchFinder
    3. In the Finder window go to the following directory:

~/Library/Application Scripts/com.nektony.FindFiles

For this, open the Finder windows → in the Menu bar click Go → select Go to Folder → type ~/Library/Application Scripts/com.nektony.FindFiles

    1. Move the downloaded files to the com.nektony.FindFiles subfolder. Please note that you don’t have to change the script files’ names

MacOS Show hidden files

    1. Relaunch the Show Hidden Files application. You will see a new option in its window. Click the Grant Access and confirm the access to Home folder
    1. After this, the feature to show or hide hidden items will be enabled. To switch the files’ visibility all you need do is to use the Switch button

Video Guide


Show Hidden Files

Download on the Mac App Store