How to Access Hidden Files or System on Mac OS X

Sometimes due to some reasons, we need to hide some files we don’t want they are viewed by other people on our Mac. But a long time later you want to see these files, guess what happen? You don’t remember how to access the hidden files. Now what?

This experience may happens around us normally. This shot post offers you ways to solve this problem, let’s check it out.

Ways for Access Hidden Files or System

Accessing hidden folders from Finder

If you need to go to a system folder not visible through the “normal” Finder, do the following.

Once you have the Finder dialog open, press “Cmd+G”. Here, enter the path to the folder you want to open.


Accessing hidden files or folders from a dialog

You can show hidden files from any file open dialog by pressing “Cmd+Shift+.”.


If you want to always display hidden files (those starting with a dot or hidden through the extended file attributes), enter the following in a Terminal:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

Then, reload the Finder by option-clicking its icon and selecting “Relaunch”.


You can also toggle this “option” more easily with an AppleScript. See this post for instructions on how to save the AppleScript as an application that you can use to toggle the option without having to use a terminal.

Directly opening system files through the Terminal

As per Andrew’s comment above, of course you can just enter the following:

open -a TextEdit /etc/hosts

open -a TextEdit ~/.somehiddenfile

Or, even shorter:

open -t /etc/hosts


-t Causes the file to be opened with the default text editor, as determined via LaunchServices

Hope this post can help you a lot and you can access your files easily. If you want more technical support for your Mac like recovering files on Mac OS PC, view more articles on our site whenever you want.

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