Like any operating system, macOS keeps important files hidden to prevent them from being accidentally deleted and, as a result, from system damage. However, in some cases, you may need to show hidden files on your Mac, for example, to explore the Library folder and clear old logs, caches or other junk files.

There are four possible methods on how to show hidden files on a Mac:

applies to: macOS

Note! You should be very careful with such files. If you delete them by mistake, it may cause damage to your Mac!
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How to show hidden files on Mac with Funter

The easiest way to manage this task is to use the free Funter application.
Funter allows you to find, hide, and search for hidden files on your Mac in just a few clicks.

For this follow the steps below:

  1. Launch Funter.
  2. Click Show Hidden Files in the menu bar.
  3. Done.
  4. Open Finder. There you will see your hidden items.
Funter window

Switching hidden files visibility with Funter

Funter - show invisible files

Funter

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System requirements: macOS 10.13-10.15
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How to view hidden files on Mac using a shortcut

You can use a special keyboard shortcut to see all invisible items on your Mac.
Here is how to view them:

  1. Activate the Finder application.
  2. Open a folder which may contain such files.
  3. Press the Command + Shift + Period (CMD+Shift+.) shortcut.
  4. Preview all the files you have in the active folder.
  5. Repeat the steps given above again if you want to hide the files again.

Finder window - enabling and disabling showing hidden files

Please note, that even if you see all kinds of files with this method, it`s not possible to find them using Spotlight search.
If you need to find hidden files by their names we recommend using Funter.
Funter can find any invisible file on Mac just by entering a file name and clicking Find.


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How to show hidden files with Terminal command

Terminal is a command-line application that allows you to manage your Mac using low-level commands. To operate the app correctly, you will need to be familiar with Terminal commands.

To show latent files on a Mac using the command line, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Terminal application from Launchpad.
  2. Copy and paste the following command into the Terminal window:
    defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool true
  3. Click the Enter button.
  4. Enter the next command to relaunch the Finder application.
    killall Finder
  5. Click Enter to finish.

This command will restart the Finder and then you will see hidden files and folders on your Mac.
If you want to hide the files again, you simply repeat the operation but change the last word in the first command to “false”. So, you should perform these two commands to make the files invisible again:
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool false
killall Finder

Terminal app with a command to show hidden files on Mac
Funter window

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How to show invisible files using AppleScript

AppleScript is a language developed to help you automate repetitive or time-consuming Mac actions.
You can also make files visible using AppleScript. Generally, AppleScripts are created within the Script Editor tool.

Follow these steps to show invisible files with AppleScript command:

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

    display dialog “Would you like to show hidden files?” buttons {“Show Hidden Files”, “Hide Files”}
    set result to button returned of result
    if result is equal to “Show Hidden Files” then
    do shell script “defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool true”
    else
    do shell script “defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool false”
    end if
    do shell script “killall Finder”

  3. Click the Run button.
  4. Save this file to use it later.


Apple Script window - show hidden files script

Each time you need to hide or show latent files and folders, just open this script file and click the Run button.


So what is the easiest way to show hidden files on Mac?

You can display them on your Mac using the Funter app, an AppleScript, a Terminal command or a keyboard shortcut.

If you are looking for the easiest solution to manage your hidden files you may want to use the free Funter tool. Funter will give you access to all invisible files and folders but also will help you to search them by names. More importantly, it can make essential data invisible to prevent its accidental removal.


This article is based on our expertise in understanding the file system of macOS. We’ve been working 10+ years in developing special disk utilities to find hidden files, clean up a Mac from unneeded hidden items. We regularly update our apps and the articles according to the changes in the macOS system. If you have any questions related to this guide, contact us by email.


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