Not all documents and other sorts of files can be seen with the naked eye. Those users who are aware of the hidden items on Mac, search for the ways to detect and display those files. Another dilemma once you finally discover the way to command “Show all my files!” is how to make them hidden again. After all, having too many items in front of your nose all the time may distract you from the main tasks. From one side, an average user can use a couple of simple commands to hide or, vice versa, show those files. On the other side, a special third-party app can help to uncover hidden files much faster just when you need them.

If you want your system to display all hidden items, stick to this guide:

  • 1. Launch Terminal from Finder. Go to Applications -> Utilities;
  • 2. Copy-paste the given code: defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES and push the 'Return' button;
  • 3. Press and keep holding Option/Alt. Next, pick the Finder icon in the Dock and push Relaunch.

Now, a Mac owner can view all the files that were hiding previously. When you get tired of observing them or once you realize there is nothing interesting for you, hide them back again by entering:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles NO

You may argue that this command seems quite short, but it will take a while to insert and re-insert it in the Terminal app when ‘playing’ with the hidden files.

Hide System Files on Mac

Watch Out! Hide System Files on Mac Carefully Not to Lose Necessary Data!

The principle of hiding and displaying the hidden files on Mac is everywhere the same. At least, it looks similar. Be ready that you will have to type as many commands in your Terminal app as many categories of hidden items you have or wish to view.

This section talks about the system files – critical computer items necessary to let the device function properly. They usually are part of the operating system. By default, Apple computers do not show essential system files and folders. Why? Well, the chances a Mac user will delete some of the critical items by accident are rather high, so the system tries to prevent you from falling into the trap. In order to avoid large-scale system issues, it is better to keep those files hidden until you really need them.

One of the cases when a Mac owner might need to see the hidden system files, is the one associated with malware. If a malware problem alters system files or starts renaming critical folders, it is time to alarm and call the hidden files. The only way to re-activate the damaged files is through showing the hidden files.

Let your Finder help. You may toggle hidden files in Finder: shift + cmd + 'period'. To view the hidden items, enter the offered commands: defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -boolean true killall Finder. Once the issue is solved, do not overwhelm your vision with all those elements. Return to a state where there is no need to see all invisible items by entering: defaults delete com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles killall Finder.

Hide Desktop Files on Mac: Make Your Desktop Look Free of Garbage

A desktop is like a window, which allows you to access various files once it is opened. Even the most dedicated Mac users often have their items scattered on the desktop. It does not look organized and accurate. Besides, it leads to rather confusing situations when a user needs a specific item from the pool of other desktop stuff. Then, it looks like one big garbage can instead of a modern computer’s desktop. The best method to awake from this nightmare is to clean up your desktop.

On the whole, there are three options to organize the 'frontpage' screen on your Mac:

Wipe the desktop

Group files into folders: choose items, right-click and pick “New Folder with Selection”

Hide the files

The first and the second options are widely known and implemented. Our task is to discuss the third option in this mini-guide. The process reminds of sweeping everything under the rug. The procedure may take up to five minutes of your time.

  1. Launch Terminal;
  2. Enter defaultswrite com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool false;killall Finder;
  3. Watch all desktop files disappearing. Yet, this evanescence does not mean they are gone forever.

To prove the files are not erased, try the reverse procedure to view the desktop items again. Instead of the line from step 2, type in defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool true;killall Finder this time. Here you go!

How to Unhide Files on Mac: Guide for Curious Users

Unhide Files on Mac

If you want to unhide/hide the hidden files on Mac with the short commands mentioned above in days to come, it is important to activate Terminal aliases. Another method is to show/hide the system files with the help of CMD or third-party program, which minimizes the time and efforts. You will have to pass this thorny way once, but the results are worth your efforts:

  1. Launch Terminal in Utilities;
  2. Copy-paste the command: sudo nano ~/.bash_profile;
  3. Type in the admin’s password if needed and press Enter;
  4. You will see the open .bash_profile This time, enter alias showFiles='defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES; killall Finder /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app';
  5. Now, it is time to type in: alias hideFiles='defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles NO; killall Finder /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app';
  6. Push CTRL + O and press the Return button;
  7. Push CTRL + X to quit the item and come back to the command line;
  8. Back in the Terminal app, add this line: source ~/.bash_profile. This step will update user’s profile to refresh and enable the Terminal aliases.

macOS Sierra and High Sierra users have a unique opportunity to do the same within a shorter period of time. Thanks to the Finder keyboard shortcut, it is possible to unhide and hide the items of various types quickly. Here are the steps:

1. Launch the Finder application;

2. Move to your Macintosh DH folder. You will need Devices to get over there;

3. Click CMD+Shift+'period' at the same time;

4. While you hold those keys, the invisible files will become visible. Magic!

5. Keep holding CMD+Shift+'period' once you have done the necessary actions to the hidden items. It will take about a second for them all to disappear again.

This way is just one of the numerous advantages macOS versions have.

Is There a Simpler Way ‘Cause I Am Getting Sweaty?!

Now that you have gone through all these commands and numerous steps, would you like to minimize your efforts? Thanks to the third-party developers, you can solve the issue with hidden items with a single click of a button.

Download and install one of the corresponding apps. If you get a freeware, mind that you will have to watch ads all the time. Enable/disable this annoying factor with the help of the tool’s drop-down menu or purchase a full version to obtain more features. Anyway, such software is simple to install and start using. Just launch the application and command to show/hide the files in locations of your interest.