How to Show Hidden Files on Mac?

A hidden file is any file that is not visible to the user. As you might expect, a hidden file or folder is invisible when viewing folders. You cannot see any of them without explicitly allowing them all to be viewed. Most macOS computers are configured by default not to show hidden files on Mac.

The reason why some files and folders are automatically marked as hidden is that these are not files you should change, delete, or move (unlike other data, such as your pictures and documents). Often these are important files related to the operating system.

So, we’ve prepared instructions on how to enable the display of hidden files and folders in macOS.

Method #1: Use the Terminal

Open a terminal, then copy and run the command:

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles 1 && kill Finder

Now you’ll be able to see hidden files both in the Finder and in the file opening dialog boxes in various applications.

show hidden files on mac

Method #2: Key Combination

You can use a simple key combination to see hidden files and folders in macOS 10.12 or higher. Typically, invisible on a Mac are system files and folders, configuration data, or other files and folders hidden from ordinary users for some reason. Such folders are commonly used by more advanced users who need to view, edit, or modify a folder or its contents.

  1. From the Finder, navigate to any folder that may contain hidden files (such as the Macintosh HD root folder or home folder).
  2. Press ⌘Cmd – ⇧Shift – Point to display hidden files. As you can see, pressing the above keyboard shortcut in the folder displays all the hidden content. Hidden files are easily identified by slightly faded names and icons. It is worth noting that when displaying files, hidden files will be visible in all folders on the Mac, as well as when using the appropriate commands.

The main difference between modern releases and earlier versions of macOS is that the new editions have a method of displaying hidden content using the combination ⌘Cmd – ⇧Shift – Point, while previously for this purpose had to enter commands in the terminal (instructions below). But if you like to act the old way, modern versions of macOS also support this method.

Method #3: Use an Off-the-shelf Solution

If you want to use one of the ready-made solutions that allow you to view hidden files and folders instead of creating your own script, you can use the Funter app. It is available free of charge on the developers’ website.

finder show hidden files

This program is simple and easy to use. The important thing is that the application consumes almost no computer resources. To work with the Funter program, you need to download and install it. After that, the corresponding icon will appear in the top menu bar. By clicking on it, you can enable or disable the display of hidden files and folders by using the “Show Hidden Files” switch.

Resume

We are sure that the methods we have described to show hidden files will solve the problem on the macOS for most users.

Cyril Kardashevsky

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