OS X: Show hidden files and folders in Mac OS X Finder

Posted September 30, 2008 by incursor in Apple Mac

I received a request to show how to show hidden files and folders in the Mac OS X finder. Using this terminal command, any OS X user can unhide all hidden files and folders. This will make them visible when browsing through Finder.

First, open Terminal.

Type this command, then press enter:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
To allow the files to be shown, you must restart Finder. You can do this by holding the Option key, click and hold the Finder icon. When the context menu shows, select Relaunch.

Finder will now restart.

Now all hidden files are showing!

To hide files again, type:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE
In the terminal instead, and restart Finder.

You can also restart finder by using the following command from the terminal:

killall Finder

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • Here is a program that will do these steps for you (I always forget what to type, and I have to toggle nearly every day):


    Program is free; tested on OSX 10.4.11

  • lilly

    Thanks ! Been Needing to know how to do this for ages !

  • enrique

    🙂 thanks

  • Watson

    I did this but then when I put them back by putting the command in with False at the end ALL of the folders are still visible in my user folder. Just my User folder, everywhere eles went back to hidden. Any Suggestions?

  • anon.

    I don’t have terminal for some reason. How do I do it then?

  • akash singh

    seriously you don’t have a terminal…..?? XD

    thats not possible actually. press Command+Space then type terminal and press enter.

  • Ryan

    New to mac, and I can’t believe stuff like this has to be done with a terminal command. I understand this is a “power user” setting and therefore commands shouldn’t be a problem… but burying this deep inside an advanced section of the system preferences would keep the general mac user from accidentally turning it on.

  • david B.

    Thanx 🙂