Shedding light on those hidden files that are lurking in the dark.


Nothing annoys me more than backing up files from the sites web server only to find out that my .htaccess file has gone missing. It’s a real pain. Sure having a file named as only an extension is part of the problem, and we’ve shown you how to view extensions in the Finder last week, but another part of the problem is Apple hiding certain files from the Finder, and Save dialogs.

It may come as a bit of a surprise to some of you that a lot of files and folders are not being shown to the average Mac user because Apple has decided to hide them away, out of site, in hope of eliminating some user errors. You know, like deleting stuff you shouldn’t be.

Well, if you’re as obsessive compulsive as I am about controlling your Mac, you’ll probably want to be able to access everything the operating system has to offer. The first step is giving yourself access to all those hidden files.

Turn on those hidden files

  • Open the Terminal
  • Type out this: defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES
  • Done

You should now be able to open up the Finder and see a bunch of washed out folders, or files. These are the ones that were hidden.

Seeing hidden files in a save or open dialog box

On occasion you might find yourself working in a text editor, and realizing that you need to open up a file that was previously hidden by your operating system. You can temporarily turn on these hidden files from an open and save dialog.

Here’s a keyboard shortcut that acts as a toggle switch to turn on/off hidden files and folders.


Not A Pro-Tip: The command key is also known as the Apple key.

Image Credit: Andy-Beal