The private school here in Chicago where I work as a Mac and PC system administrator and problem troubleshooter has a wide variety of Mac users. Many staff and faculty members have used Apple products for years. Students, not so much.
With hundreds and hundreds of machines in use, there’s always a user with a need that goes just beyond the ordinary. One that doesn’t come up often but needs attention anyway is how to find hidden files and folders on a Mac. There are many ways, but here’s one that’s free and easy.
Show. Hidden. Files.
Well, duh. What a perfect name for Mac utility which displays hidden files. Show Hidden Files. This free app goes beyond just a toggle to turn hidden files to visible files. It’s also a little search engine which lets you view the files Apple doesn’t want you to see.
Show Hidden Files is easy to use, too, and does more than the Mac’s built-in Spotlight search utility because it finds what Apple won’t display. Use it as a built-in search engine that searches for folders and files you can’t see in Finder.
Open the app, select the location to search– including the Mac’s entire disk drive if you want– and let the search for what you can’t see begin.
There’s more going on that just turning on what is hidden. You can even use it from the Mac’s Menubar for more convenience, and to perform a search from within any open Mac app.
Show Hidden Files also lets you operate a hidden file, dig through Package file contents, and even navigate– or see what’s inside– hidden files. For example, your Photos library might look like a folder of files, but if you click on the actual Photos library file you’ll see it’s a single file, not a folder with your photos inside.
That’s called a Package file and it works like a folder because it holds many files inside, but you can’t open it without a little help. Show Hidden Files opens Photos and other Package files so you can see what’s inside (to be fair, you can also Right-Click on most Package files and view the contents, but Show Hidden Files is more fun to use because it lets you see inside many files which the Finder does not.
Not bad for free, right?
Also free is the Terminal.app method from Tom Nelson.