How to Show hidden files on Mac OS X?


Unlike Microsoft Windows, by default OS X hides system files from end users. There is a perfectly reasonable explanation for this. Some of the files which are hidden, are important and damaging them could prevent your system from booting all together.

To do this all you need to do is:

  1. Open Finder
  2. Open the Utilities folder
  3. Open a terminal window
  4. Copy and paste the following line in:
    SUDO defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES; killall Finder
  5. Press return
  6. Enter your administrator password when prompted
  7. Press return

You should find the finder window will disappear, along with the icons on your desktop. However, if you now launch a new finder instance you will now be able to see any hidden files or folders. Once you are done, perform the steps above however, replace the terminal command in step 4 with:

SUDO defaults write AppleShowAllFiles NO; killall Finder

If the above is not working for you, you may want to try switching YES/NO to TRUE/FALSE .. Beware that this is case-sensitive!

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

If you are experiencing issues using the examples above, please post a comment using the comments system below.