How to View Hidden Files on Mac

Alicia Santos

Mac, Tutorials

Do you want to know how to view hidden files on your Mac? You’ve come to the right place! In this tutorial, we will guide you through the process step by step.

Why are files hidden on Mac?

Before we begin, let’s first understand why some files are hidden on your Mac. Apple’s macOS operating system hides certain files and folders to prevent accidental deletion or modification. These hidden files often contain important system settings and preferences that should not be tampered with unless you know what you’re doing.

However, there may be instances where you need to access these hidden files, such as when troubleshooting issues or modifying specific settings. Let’s dive into the methods of viewing hidden files on your Mac.

Method 1: Using Finder

The easiest way to view hidden files is by using Finder, the default file manager on macOS. Follow these steps:

  1. Open a new Finder window
  2. Press Command + Shift + dot (.) keys

This keyboard shortcut toggles the visibility of hidden files in Finder. When you press Command + Shift + dot (.), all the hidden files and folders will appear in the Finder window alongside your regular files.


If you want to hide the previously visible hidden files again, simply repeat the keyboard shortcut: Command + Shift + dot (.)

Method 2: Using Terminal

If you’re comfortable with using Terminal, this method provides more control over displaying and hiding hidden files. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Launch Terminal from Applications > Utilities > Terminal
  2. Enter the following command:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles true

This command sets a preference that shows all hidden files in Finder.

  1. Press Enter to execute the command
  2. Relaunch Finder by entering the following command:

killall Finder

Your hidden files should now be visible in Finder.

If you want to hide the previously visible hidden files again, follow the same steps, but replace “true” with “false” in the command mentioned in step 2.

In conclusion

Now that you know how to view hidden files on your Mac, you have more control over accessing and modifying important system files. However, exercise caution when dealing with these files as they are hidden for a reason. Making incorrect changes can cause stability issues or even render your system unusable.

We hope this tutorial has been helpful to you. Happy file exploring!

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