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How to Hide and Show Hidden Files & Folders on Mac

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Macs offer a method for hiding files and folders, just like other operation systems. However, Apple wants to keep files and folders hidden away from prying eyes, so you can’t make it as easy as it is on Windows or Ubuntu.

This guide will help you who just want to show/hide files or folder on Mac OS X or macOS Sierra.

How to Hide Files and Show Hidden Files on Mac [Quick Table]

TerminalNote
Show Hidden Files and Foldersdefaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES

killall Finder

Press Return after each line
Hide Hidden Files and Foldersdefaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles NO

killall Finder

Press Return after each line
Hide a File or Folderchflags hidden […][…] = The path of the file or folder
Unhide a File or Folderchflags nohidden […][…] = The path of the file or folder

How to Show Hidden Files and Folders using Terminal

Using the Terminal is the easiest method to show hidden files or folders in macOS. Follow these steps below:

Step 1: Open the Terminal

To open Terminal, just go to the Finder and then click Go >> Utilities.

show hidden files on Mac

A new window appears, you can see the Terminal  app, just double-click on it.

show hidden files on Mac

You can also go to LaunchPad >> Find the Others >> Click on Terminal.

how to hide show files mac 3

Step 2: Use the command lines

Now, you can copy and paste the two lines listed here into Terminal, and hit Return after each line:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

killall Finder

or

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES

killall Finder

show hidden files on Mac

If the last line doesn’t work, you need to relaunch the Finder by pressing and holding Option + Control and clicking on the Finder icon in the Dock, then click on Relaunch.

show hidden files on Mac

Now go to the Finder by clicking on its icon in the Dock,  you are going to view the hidden files. It’s like the image below:

how to hide show files mac 7

Step 3: Exit the Terminal program

Select the Quit Terminal option from the Menu or press Command + Q.

Read Also: How to take screenshots on Mac

How to Hide Hidden Files and Folders Using Terminal

Step 1: Open the Terminal

Step 2: If you want to hide hidden files and folders, you can simply use the following command line below.

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles NO
killall Finder

or

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE
killall Finder

show hidden files on Mac

The result.

how to hide show files mac 9

How to Manage Individual Hidden File and Folder

Hiding a File or Folder

The simplest method to multiple hidden files that change a unique attribute on the file known as a Finder flag. You are able to easily set a file, folder as hidden using the “chflags” command line in the Terminal.

Just open the Terminal and type the following command line:

chflags hidden

Make sure to type a space after “hidden”.

hidden files folders 1

Then Drop and Drag the wanted file or folder to the Terminal window. Hit Return to run the command.

show hidden files on Mac

This is going to set the file as hidden.

Opening a Hidden File or Folder

To access the hidden file from the Finder, you can click the Go menu in the Finder and select Go to Folder.

Put the path of the file into the dialog box and click Go or press Enter. The ~ means your user directory, so if you’ve had already a directory named like HiddenFolder on your Document, you just enter: ~/Desktop/HiddenFolder.

Open the folder which was hidden recently from Desktop

hidden files folders 1

Open the folder which was hidden recently from Disk

show hidden files on Mac

Note: If you aren’t sure the path of folder or file, you can open the Terminal and drag the folder into it. Then, you can see the path immediately.

Unhiding a File or Folder

To unhide a file or folder, just copy and paste the following command into the Terminal, including a space in the end.

chflags nohidden

If you keep in mind the correct path of the folder or file, you can type it inside the Terminal. If you are not sure, just use the above tip to show hidden files and folder in the Finder and then drag the hidden file or folder into the Terminal.

hidden files folders 1

Hit Enter later and the file or folder will come to be unhidden, so you are able to open it as normal.

More Tricks: You can press the Up or Down arrow button from your keyboard to see the command line which you’ve used.

How to Hide & show hidden files Using Funter

There are some apps that allow you to use a hotkey for hiding or showing hidden files and folders on Mac, but we highly offer the Funter which is a free application to operate hidden files and folders.

This app integrates to your Finder, and adds own command to the context menu, so you can easily change file hidden attribute just from Finder with two steps.

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Sadiq Tayyab

Tech Savvy, Avid Reader, Phamacist by Profession and a Passionate Writer who loves to help people by his writing guides and tutorials. Need help on Computer or Smartphone, Shoot a question on twitter: @tayyabsa and don't forget to follow me!

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