How to Show Hidden Files and Folders on MAC / MacBook

how to see hidden files and folders on mac

In this tutorial, we are going to look at three ways to show hidden files and folders on MAC devices such as iMac and MacBook laptops. Apple takes device stability and data security really seriously. That’s why on MAC devices you won’t see system files and folder as they are hidden by default in order to protect them getting deleted or changed by user accidentally. For the rest of the files and folders on a MAC devices, there is a useful Spotlight search features from where you can locate any installed item on the Mac OS desktop/laptop. However, like mentioned above there are so many hidden files that are of no use and take up a lot of disk space on your system. You cannot find these hidden files and folders on Mac from Spotlight search. To help you easily how hidden files on Mac, we are going to look at three methods one by one. You can apply whichever you find convenient and easy to use for your requirements.

3 Best Ways to View / Show Hidden Files & Folders on MAC

We are going to look at three best ways to show hidden folders on Mac using Terminal, Special/Apple Script, and using a third-party tool called Funter. You can try any method you like to view hidden files on Mac.

Method 1 – Show Hidden Files & Folders on Mac using Terminal

1 – Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities and open Terminal.

2 – Enter the following command in the Terminal and hit enter:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool true

OR

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles true

3 – Restart Terminal by typing the command below:

killall Finder

4 – This will show all hidden files and folders on a MAC device.

hide-hidden-files-terminal-command

5 – Now, if you wish to hide files once again, type the following command and hit enter key:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool false

OR

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles false

6 – Type Killall Finder to close the Terminal interface when finish.

show-hidden-files-terminal-command

7 – That’s all.

Method 2 – View Hidden Files & Folders on MAC via Script Editor Or Apple Script App

First let’s see how you can view hidden files and folders on MAC using a special Script editor.

See Hidden Files on MAC with Script Editor:

1 – Go to Finder > Application > Utilities to open Script Editor. Or you can launch it from the Launchpad.

2 – Now, copy and paste the following script to the Script editor:

set vis to do shell script “defaults read com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles”
if vis = “0” then
do shell script “defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles 1”
else
do shell script “defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles 0”
end if
tell application “Finder” to quit
delay 1
tell application “Finder” to activate

3 – Save this file as a program on your MAC.

4 – Once done, access the newly created program and run it in Finder. You should now see hidden files.

script-editor-mac-command-show-hidden-folder

5 – That’s it.

See Hidden Files and Folders on MAC using AppleScript Application:

1 – Launch AppleScript app from the LaunchPad.

2 – Copy and paste the following code into the editor:

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 com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -boolean true”
else
          do shell script “defaults delete com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles”
end if
do shell script “killall Finder”

apple-script-show-hidden-files

3 – Hit the play button when done.

4 – You can save this file whenever you want to hide or view the hidden files and folders on MAC.
5 – That’s all.

Method 3 – See Hidden Files and Folders on MAC using Funter

This is the easiest way to view hidden files and folders on your MAC. Download a free third-party app called Funter on your device. All it takes is a few click to show/hide all or selected hidden files on your desktop or laptop.

You can use Funter to show hidden files, search hidden files in system folders and packages, and hide/unhide your files to visible in Finder.

1 – Download Funter here.

2 – Launch the app on your MAC.

3 – Click the Finder icon in the menu bar and select ‘Show Hidden Files’.

4 – When the visibility is enabled, Finder will restart after which you will be able to see all hidden files.

5 – To hide files back again, simply turn the ‘Show Hidden Files’ toggle to OFF position in the menu bar of the Funter tool.

6 – That’s all.

First two method are a bit technical and require some effort to see hidden files on MAC. You can follow some scripts examples here and use them to switch a file’s visibility manually. Otherwise, you can always use the last Funter method, which is the easiest method of the three to hide and view hidden files.

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