How To View Hidden Files On A Mac

Did you know that there are thousands of invisible files on your Mac? Have you ever needed to locate or delete one of these invisible files? Here are a couple of ways to be able to access the invisible files and folders on your Mac. A cautionary note, Apple makes these files invisible for a reason. They do not think the typical person needs to access these files and they are right. However, there are instances, such as when one is trying to manually uninstall an application or troubleshoot a problem that one needs to be able to access the invisible files on one’s Mac.Please be cautious when working on files that are typically invisible. If you do not know what a file’s purpose is, leave it alone. Some files are critical to the proper functioning of your Mac.

Apple recently added an easy way to view invisible files. Starting with macOS Sierra (aka macOS 10.12), one can press Command-Shift-Period to view invisible files. The files are made visible but displayed in a lighter color. Press Command-Shift-Period a second time to make the files invisible again. If your Mac is running an older version of the Mac operating system then one could use a third party application like InVisible (free, donations accepted). InVisible 2 currently requires OS X Mavericks (aka OS X 10.9) or newer.

Often I do not really need to view all invisble files. Instead, I just want to be able to find one or more invisible files. For this, I use EasyFind, a free application made by Devon Technologies. For example, I recently wanted to completely remove an application named Hermes from my Mac. I know the application would create some preference files and cache files which are typically stored inside of invisible folders. I used EasyFind to search for all files with the word Hermes in its name. There is a checkbox on the left side of EasyFind’s main window that let’s me instruct it to include invisible files and folders.