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How To Show and Access Hidden Files on Mac?

All models of Apple’s computers, namely Macs, are powered by macOS. The highly-optimized, visually-appealing operating system packs in tons of useful native apps and features that facilitate users to use their Macs to the best of their abilities.

Out of all the features, the option to hide files is one of the most prominent ones. It allows users to prevent others from seeing or accessing files containing confidential information, thereby maintaining their privacy. This article will cover how users can reveal and access both hidden system files as well as hidden user files on their Macs. Let us dive right into it:

How to Reveal and Access Hidden System Files:

As the name suggests, hidden files refer to those files which are not openly visible to users. Although users have the option to hide the required files on macOS, there are specific files, namely system files, which remain hidden from users. Although they occupy many gigabytes of storage, they are practically nowhere to be found.

Users intentionally hide their files on Macs to prevent others from seeing or accessing them. Similarly, macOS hides system files to mask critical data from users to safeguard or prevent them from accidentally messing up with important files.

Two primary examples of hidden files on macOS are the bin and usr folders. The former is a directory of all executable app commands, whereas the latter contains read-only data, libraries, binaries, etc. There are instances when users who have knowledge about macOS’s internal files need to access them.

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In such cases, users wondering where is usr/local/bin Mac, i.e., the location where the files are, first need to make all the files visible by pressing the “Shift,” “Command,” and. “keys together in the Finder app. Then, to locate the folders, users need to click on the menu bar, select the “Go” option followed by “Computer,” click on Macintosh HD, and select the required file path.

How to Show and Access Hidden User Files:

As mentioned earlier, macOS users can also hide the required files on their Macs. However, users wishing to hide files on their Macs must also know how to reveal and access them whenever required. Thankfully, there are multiple methods following which users can easily reveal and access hidden files. Here are two of the most prominent ways of doing so:

  • Using Finder

Out of all the native utilities that macOS offers users, the Finder app is perhaps the most useful one. It is the default file manager and GUI shell that is available on all Macs. Besides allowing users to manage and organize, it also helps them reveal hidden files and access them without hassle.

To reveal hidden files using the Finder utility, users need to follow the given steps:

Step 1 – Click on the hard drive under the “Locations” option.

Step 2 – Open the Macintosh HD folder.

Step 3 – Press the “Command,” “Shift,” and “.” keys to reveal the hidden files.

Besides this, users can also get the job done from within the Applications, Documents, and Desktop folders. macOS automatically grays out the files, which it does not want users to mess with. However, users can still view and access the files. Once the user has done whatever they wanted to do with the hidden files, they can hide it again by pressing the “Command,” “Shift,” and “.” keys.

  • Using Terminal
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Besides the Finder utility, users can also reveal the location of hidden files and access them using Terminal, another useful native utility that macOS features. The top-tier in-built application provides users with text-based access to the OS and its functionalities. To reveal hidden files using Terminal, users need to follow the given steps:

Step 1 – Open the Launchpad utility, click on “Other,” and open the Terminal utility.

Step 2 – Enter the following command in Terminal – “defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles true” and press the “Enter” key.

Step 3 – Enter – “killall Finder” and press the “Enter” key.

After the two commands get executed, users will be able to see their hidden files in the Finder app along with the temporary ones located on the desktop. Once the user is done with the hidden files, they can hide them again by inputting the same commands with a small change, i.e., instead of putting “true” after “AppleShowAllFiles”, users need to enter “False”.

This method of revealing and accessing hidden files on Mac is perfect for users who have a good hold of macOS commands and are familiar with the Command Line Interface or CI.

Final Thoughts:

Hiding files is an effective way following which users can enhance the security of their Macs. However, they must know how to reveal and access them in times of need. Fortunately, users can get the job done in multiple ways, as mentioned above. Any user who wishes to easily access hidden system or user files on their Mac can refer to the aforementioned steps.

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