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Try Commander One to show hidden files on Mac

Show hidden files Mac tutorial for beginners and PROs

macOS has files and folders hidden from users' eyes. In particular, these are system components and temporary files of installed applications, which usually no one touches. But if you still need to access them, then read the article to know how to show hidden files on Mac.

Commander One offers the easiest and the most convenient way, however, there are also several other ways to reveal hidden files on Mac. Continue reading to know more.

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Commander One
4.7 Rank based on 889+ users, Reviews(524)
Find several ways to show hidden files on Mac in the article below.

Most system files on macOS are contained in hidden folders, which aren’t visible in Finder. A different file manager for Mac will allow you to view or change them. We can suggest some viewer apps and methods that are suited for the task.

File managers that show hidden files Mac

Many file navigators, including Finder, can browse hidden folders in addition to the visible ones. It’s a quick way to show hidden files - Mac Terminal is not needed. All it takes is usually a menu option or a shortcut. Here are two different solutions that rely on file managers.

Finder

If you want to look at the system files, Mac show hidden files in Finder with a handy shortcut. The same key combination also lets you hide them again, if you don’t want to accidentally move or delete these directories later.

Follow the next steps to toggle showing hidden files in Finder.
1
Open Finder. Navigate to the folder that contains hidden files.
2
Press ⌘ (Cmd) + Shift + (Period). Any hidden files or folders will be displayed.
3
Use the combination again to hide them.

Hidden directories and files can be told apart from others by their faded, semi-transparent icons and names. Even when you know how to show hidden files Mac users should be careful with system folders - they can cause a lot of harm to your system if they are removed or altered in any way.

Note that if you use this method to show hidden files on Mac, it’s limited to a single Finder window. All the other currently open windows will not have the setting enabled, and it will be reset as soon as the affected window is closed.

Commander One

Commander One

4.7 Rank based on 889 + users Reviews(524)
Requirements: macOS 10.12
Version: v3.4.1(3580), Released 17 Jun, 2022 Release notes
Category: System Utilities

It’s a high-quality third-party app. Commander One includes a convenient, persistent way to reveal hidden directories. Unlike the option to show hidden files in Finder Mac OS, this one is toggled on both of Commander One’s panels at the same time.

Do the following to see hidden files in Commander One.
1
Install and run Commander One on your Mac.
2
Use the toggle switch on Commander’s toolbar.
3
Alternatively, go to View > Show Hidden Files (also accessible with the ⌥⇧⌘H hotkey).
4
These settings will apply to both panes.

But Commander One isn’t just an utility that can show hidden files in Mac. It’s a multifunctional file manager that combines numerous administration tools in a single easy-to-use interface. Work with folders, archives, text documents, tasks, local disks, remote and cloud drives, and the Terminal - all in the same window.

It’s not just immensely useful. Commander One is also highly customizable, letting the users change a great number of its aspects, including fonts, colors, and hotkeys. This app adapts itself to the users’ needs in other ways, including folder history and unlimited tabs. And if you have lots of files, don’t worry - advanced search and content search will help you find the right one every time.

icon pros Pros

  • Universal app for file and task management
  • Time-tested dual-pane interface
  • Mounts local and network devices.

icon cons Cons

  • Many features are paid.

How to show hidden files on Mac using Terminal commands

The Terminal is a tool with many uses. If you know what to do, there are all sorts of tools for system management, network setup, and so on. It can show hidden files on Mac as well. On Mac, a Terminal can be opened from Launchpad or Spotlight.

Find Terminal in the utilities section of your Mac's applications.
1
Launch the Terminal.
2
You start in the Home folder. Use "cd folder_name" to change directories. Use "cd .." if you need to go one directory higher. Use "ls" to check available folders.
3
Your current location is displayed next to the input field. Once you’re in the right place, type "ls -a", and the hidden files will be displayed.
4
Hidden files are perfectly usable in the Terminal without needing to toggle anything. The same commands will apply.

There’s a method to configure Finder to start with hidden files being displayed by default. It’s redundant due to how easily this can be toggled in the app itself, but it’s worth mentioning for curiosity’s sake.

The following commands will show hidden files in Finder Mac OS.
1

Open the Terminal and run the command:

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE; killall Finder

2
Next time Finder starts, all files will be visible.
3

To undo this setting:

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE; killall Finder

Mac show hidden files in apps

OneSwitch

Various apps can interact with hidden files, even if they aren’t made specifically for the purpose. For example, OneSwitch is a utility with lots of functions, and one of them lets you toggle file visibility. Just click the widget to expand it, and you’ll find the option near the bottom. It affects Finder, so you don’t have to set this option next time you use it.

Find a switch for show hidden files in Mac taskbar.

HoudahSpot

HoudahSpot went for a different way to show hidden files in Mac. It’s a search app that displays the results even if they’re hidden. You could search for a known file, or the name of a system directory. Either way, you’ll be presented with a list of results that you can narrow down according to your liking.

The app shows search results including hidden files.

Show hidden files Mac via Library folders

Library Folders contain most system files on macOS. There are three types of Library - one specific to users, located in "~/Library", one on every Macintosh HD, and a system-wide folder in the root directory, "~/Library". Even though these are hidden folders, you can go to them directly by using the "Go" command in Finder. For example:

Follow the next steps to find hidden Library folder.
1
Open Finder.
2
Click Go > Go to Folder.
3
Put "~/Library" in the text field and confirm your choice.

Once the desired folder has been spotted, you can pin it to the Finder sidebar in order to access it later, without having to enable hidden file visibility.

Why can some files and folders on Mac be hidden

Security is the main reason why certain files and folders are hidden in macOS. Some data must remain invisible to avoid third-party interference. By default, service and system files, caches, logs, and settings of installed applications are hidden. So as you can see, Mac hidden folders and files are systemic and are needed for the normal functioning of the computer's operating system, that is, you should not change or delete them.

However, there are exceptions everywhere and experienced users often resort to methods that allow them to make hidden files visible on Mac - for example, to completely remove applications, to configure some system parameters, or for other operations.

Why the easiest way to work with hidden files is using a third-party file manager

The great plus of using third-party file managers is that they allow you to show hidden folders on Mac as well as files without leaving the app’s interface, without using Terminal or shortcuts.

In other words, you do not have to remember all the commands or hit the panic button each time you hear the work Terminal and pray the Lord your Mac to continue working after executing the command. Or simply using the wrong shortcut and hoping that it will not kill your Mac.

That is why to unhide files Mac users are more likely to choose third-party file managers. As all you need to do is to click the only button. Besides that, third-party file managers save time, which is a great plus in our modern world, and also they offer more enhanced features for perfect file management.

Once you learn how to show hidden files, macOS opens up, providing countless opportunities. But you’ll need more than viewing - working with important files and folders may require cloud backups, task tracking, or Terminal emulation. Any change could topple your whole system, so make sure you’re prepared.

Get informed and use a universal file manager, such as Commander One. As long as you’re careful, you’ll be able to utilize many newly-available hacks and fixes, and get more out of your system.

Frequently Asked Questions:

In Finder, you can use a shortcut (Cmd + Shift + Period). There’s also a Terminal command, "ls -a". Commander One - a Finder alternative - provides a convenient button in the interface, and a customizable hotkey.
You don’t need Total Commander for Mac to see the system folders. In Finder, you can go to View > Options > Change folder and search options. The View tab will contain a setting to show this type of files.
Finder and Commander One alternatives include this function from the get-go. If you’re using Finder, press a key combination (⌘+⇧+.).
If you’re trying to find files on Mac that are hidden, remember: most of them have a period at the beginning of their file name (for example, ".Test"). If you have advanced search software, it can specifically select every file with this trait.

Commander One

This dual panel file manager for Mac is fully compatible with macOS 10.12 and later. Requires 61.07MB of free space, latest version 3.4.1(3580). Released 17 Jun, 2022.

4.7 rank based on 889+ users, Reviews (524)
Editor's Choice