You may not know it, but your Mac has been hiding something from you. Files and folders are something common you interact with on your Mac, but you’re not seeing all of them. Gain full access to your Mac by learning about keyboard shortcuts, how to view and hide files and folders, and how to find them anywhere.
Keyboard shortcut to view/hide hidden files and folders:
- Open any window where you can view, open, or save a file.
- Press ⌘⇧ – you can use this to toggle hidden files and folders on and off from your view. If you don’t have any files or folders hidden in the window you’re currently in, nothing will happen! Hidden files will look slightly faded, like the one I have here on my computer called “Test Hidden Folder”.
Hide and show files on your Mac without terminal
There are a couple of apps that you can choose from when it comes to hiding and showing files on your Mac.
FileUnhider: allows you to show and hide files on your Mac. You can use the menu bar option to toggle the show/hide function on or off. The other nice option to have is that you can use the built-in keyboard shortcut ⇧⌘U to also toggle this option on and off.
- Small menu bar icon
- Doesn’t take up space on the dock
- Has a keyboard shortcut that can be used to hide and show files/folders
- Easy functionality
Isn’t a free app
Funter is a menu bar app that can be used to hide and show files/folders on your Mac in 2 clicks! The best part about it is that it's a free app that is super easy to use.
- Has a contextual in-app menu option
- Offers a “Memory Usage” screen in the menu bar
- Shows your “Disk Usage” in the menu bar
Doesn’t have a keyboard shortcut
Funter can also be used to search for the names of hidden files or folders that you have on your Mac.
How to show hidden files and folders via the Terminal
Launch the Terminal
This can be down by pressing the ⌘SPACE keys at the same time and then searching for “Terminal” and then clicking “Return/Enter”.
Another method of launching the Terminal is by going to your Applications folder and launching the app from there.
Find the Finder icon on your dock and click it to make it active. After doing so, a new Finder window should appear and if one doesn’t, you can create a new one by pressing the ⌘N keys as long as the Finder app is active.
Find your Applications folder on the left-hand column and double-click it to enter it and you will now see a list of your applications that you have installed on your Mac.
Then search for the app named “Terminal” near the bottom and double-click it to launch it.
- We will now have to press ⌘⇧. and make sure the file or folder that you’re wanting to make unhidden is viewable.
- Next, type into the Terminal “defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE” and then press “Return/Enter”.
The last step is to type “killall Finder” into the Terminal as that will cause Finder to quit and relaunch itself.
Things to note:
- Remember Hidden files will have a “Faded” color look to them.
- There aren’t hidden files in each Finder window that we go to.
How do I find hidden files on my external hard drive on Mac?
While this may sound difficult, it's actually quite easy to do so. First we have to download Funter or FileUnhider that were mentioned above. After downloading and installing the app, we will need to launch it.
Select the menu bar icon
Go to “Show Hidden Files” and turn the option on
- Click the menu bar icon
- Toggle to “Show Hidden Files” or use the keyboard shortcut ⇧⌘U to complete the action.
Once you toggle the option “on” for viewing hidden files/folders using either of these apps you will notice that your Finder window may relaunch itself. This is normal as it is refreshing the screen and then you will be able to view the files on your external hard drive.