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Show hidden files & folders in Mac OS X

This tutorial enlist various ways to view hidden files and folders in Mac OS X (confirmed up to OS X 10.11.5, El Capitan).

Dedicated to my friend who wanted to view hidden files and folders in his usb on his macbook pro!

First we’ll see how to view the hidden files from with in finder. Next, we’ll see different ways to view the hidden files and folders via terminal on a single occasion, without making a permanent change to your system or files visibility in finder.

How to show hidden files and folders in Mac OS X Finder

To reveal all hidden files and folders in finder, follow these steps:

  1. Open terminal
  2. Type (or copy) these two commands one by one:
    1. defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES
    2. killall Finder

You should now be able to see all files and folders from within the finder.

To revert the finder back to the normal state where it doesn’t show hidden files and folders, do the same process after launching terminal, but this time using “NO” in the command, like this:

  1. Open terminal
  2. Type (or copy) these two commands one by one:
    1. defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles NO
    2. killall Finder

 

How to view hidden files and folders in Mac OS X using Terminal

To view hidden files and folders via terminal, simply launch terminal and type these commands (each one works slightly differently, try them all and get comfortable with them so that you can use the one best suited for your needs whenever you need them).

cd your-directory-path

The cd command will take you to the desired directory or usb drive or anything that you need.

cd ..

cd .. takes you one level up, meaning out of the current directory.

ls -a

ls instructs the terminal to list files and folders in the current folder you’re in. -a instructs it to show “all” files and folders, including hidden ones.

ls -al

ls again instructs the terminal to list files, -a instructs it to list all including hidden ones, -l instructs it to list them with details, including their permissions, number of items in that folder, owner user name, owner group name, last modified date and time.

You can use ls -l to view the non-hidden items in the detailed form too.

Let me know if you have any query.

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