How to show hidden files and folders on Mac

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Need to find something that Apple doesn’t want you to on your Mac? We’ve got the solution for you and like everything else on macOS, isn’t too hard.

Some files are hidden for a reason, but rules are supposed to be broken. macOS is an odd one, as it desperately tries to be the ‘simpler’ of the two major operating systems, it is built off of the most complex.

You can trace everything back to when Steve Jobs set up NeXT, and was subsequently bought out by Apple. Unix came as a ‘what you see is what you get’ sort of thing.

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When Apple updated to OSX after buying NeXT, it moved to this Unix system. This is partially the reason macOS hides a lot of files. The fairly complex and easily breakable things inside these folders can ruin your PC.

However, we’re all predisposed to fumble around with the operating systems we use every day. Even if Apple tries to cover things up, it’s actually really easy to lift up the sheets.

How to show hidden files on macOS

In folders like your main user folder, or Macintosh HD, if you press the following keys:

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Command + Shift +

You will suddenly see that ‘hidden’ files will appear. To remove them again, just press the same button combination.

Here, you’ll find things like your ssh folder, temp files, and macOS’ built-in Python versions.

That’s all there is to it. These folders will contain sensitive or important files, including things necessary to change how macOS operates. Be sure you know what you’re looking for before you go deleting things.

If you’re just curious, there’s no harm in having a snoop. A lot of the files will be miscellaneous junk that you don’t need to worry about anyway. Who knows what’s in the temporary folder, but we all know not to touch anything with a file name longer than the Mac can display.

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