OS X How To: Show / hide hidden files in Finder.

If you like living on the command line aka Terminal in OS X you already know how to view all files in OS X, but there are a lot of people who don’t.

This short tutorial is for them.

OS X, like all *nix-type operating systems hides many important files (folders are technically files too) from the casual user. This is done to prevent you from accidentally messing around in files that OS X needs to operate smoothly.
The way this is done is by adding a simple . in front of the filename. This makes the file invisible to Finder, and many other apps in *nix-type systems.

If you want to see what OS X is “hiding” from you simply open up Terminal.app (which should be in your Applications folder, or type “Terminal” (without the quotes) into the Spotlight search at the top right hand corner of your screen.
A new, and maybe never before seen, window will appear.

Type the following line into it:

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

Now hit return on your keyboard.
Nothing happened, right? That’s because you also need to restart Finder.


killall Finder

Don’t panic! Finder restarts very quickly, and is now showing you all hidden files – even on the desktop. DO NOT DELETE OR ALTER ANY OF THEM!

Lot’s of interesting stuff, huh?

To reverse this simply type:

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE

and again:

killall Finder

Puh! All done. That was exciting!


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