How to see hidden directories/files on macOS

Finder lists varying files and directories allowing you to browse them with ease. However, inside the organised file structure of finder, certain directories/files are hidden. MacOS hides these files and directories for sake of system security and integrity. However, certain times you’ve to hide/unhide a certain directory for example ~/Library folder is one of those directories hidden by default which you can access.

Unhide files and folders with keyboard shortcut

One of the smartest ways to unhide files/directories is using a keyboard shortcut.

  • Open Finder and go to the directory having hidden files like Home Directory.
  • Press Command + Shift + . (Dot) and instantaneously all files and folders will appear inside the Finder.

Again pressing the same combination of the keys will hide those files/directories.

Hide/Unhide macbook shortcut
Hide/Unhide Finder files and directories

Unhide files and folders with terminal

Suppose, for some reason macbook’s keyboard has sticky keys and the required shortcut isn’t working. Then you can use terminal, follow the procedure:

  • Open Terminal and use command defaults write AppleShowAllFiles true and hit enter.
  • Write another command killall Finder and hit enter, this will quit Finder.

Open Finder again and this time you’ll see that all hidden files are visible. Additionally to hide files/directories using terminal, follow this:

  • Open Terminal and use command defaults write AppleShowAllFiles NO and hit enter.
  • Use another command killall Finder.

This will again hide the files and directories with hidden flags inside the Finder and Apple system.

Hide a new file/directory in Finder

Suppose, you have created a new directory or file in Finder. Now you want to hide this particular folder or file. Then follow this procedure:

  • Open Terminal on macOS and type chflags hidden /FOLDER_PATH and hit enter.
  • Enter killall Finder and hit enter. This will close Finder.
  • Open Finder and go to the directory where you’ve placed hidden file/folder and it’ll not show it unless you press the required keyboard shortcut as shown in the first step (command + shift + dot).

Incase, you don’t know the /FOLDER_PATH then simply use CD command to go to the required folder and then type in the file/directory name, along with the chflags command, which you want to hide.

Additionally, to give the path of the file/folder you can also drag it inside the terminal and macOS will automatically copy paste the path.

Furthermore, incase you want to unhide a particular file or folder permanently inside macOS then use the following procedure:

  • Open Terminal and write chflags nohidden /FOLDER_PATH and hit enter.
  • Use another command killall Finder.
  • Reopen Finder and you’ll notice that the file/folder isn’t hidden anymore.
Hide folder macOS using Terminal
Change Flags to hidden folder


You can show hidden files and folders in macOS using keyboard shortcut or terminal command. Additionally, you can also hide/unhide a newly created folder or directory inside macOS using terminal command chflags. Learning to handle hidden files and folders will give you more knowledge about macOS structure and file system.