How to Recover and Show Hidden Files on Mac

Tracy King updated on Feb 21, 2020 to Mac File Recovery | How-to Articles


If you cannot view some important hidden files on your Mac computer, do not worry. Here, you can find reliable methods to effectively find and make hidden files show up on Mac. Mac file recovery software supports you to find and restore all hidden files on Mac computer or external storage devices with simple clicks.

Recently we got a question from a user whether it is possible to find files that are hidden on a mac hard drive.

"I got some important files saved on my Mac disk and I hide them on the computer so to avoid accidental deletion. Now I want to use some of these hidden files. So do you have a simple way that can help me to view, see and find hidden files on my Mac?"

The answer is YES. You can just follow the provided methods to find the hidden files on your Mac computer or hard disk, external storage devices.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. View Hidden Files With Finder Open a new Finder window > click on the name of your Mac under "Devices" > click on System...Full steps
Fix 2. Show Hidden Files With Terminal Open Terminal > Copy and paste the command into the Terminal window...Full steps
Fix 3. Restore With Software Download EaseUS file recovery software for Mac > Choose a drive to scan > preview and recover...Full steps

If you are a Windows user, refer to recover hidden files on PC to make hidden files show up on your Windows computer.

Method 1. View Hidden Files on Mac With Finder

When you want to see the hidden files, this is the quickest way to find the hidden files.

Step 1. Open a new Finder window and click on the name of your Mac under "Devices" in the sidebar.

Step 2. Click on System, or whatever you’ve called your startup drive if you’ve renamed it.

Step 3. Press "Command-Shift-. (period)". You should now see lots of files and folders whose name starts with "." become visible.

Step 4. To re-hide the files and folders, hold down "Command-Shift-." again.

show mac hidden files with finder

Method 2. Show Hidden Files and Folder on Mac With Terminal

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can use the Terminal command line interface to view hidden files and folders. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1. Open Terminal application from Launchpad.

Step 2. Copy and paste the following command into the Terminal window:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool true

Step 3. Restart Finder with a command: killall Finder.

Then you'll be able to see all hidden files and folders in the Finder.

Show hidden files on Mac with Terminal.

Method 3. Restore/Show Hidden Files With Mac File Recovery Software

The third way to show hidden files is the easiest one. It does not require any specific knowledge and can be used by both experienced users and novice Mac users. Also, this way is safe and convenient, as it allows you to show hidden files with simple clicks. This is possible thanks to the mac file recovery software.

Here EaseUS file recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac enables you to find and restore all hidden files on Mac computer or external storage devices. Just download and install this software on your Mac computer. 

Note: If your hidden files are less than 2GB, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac Free Edition can help. You don't need to pay anything with this free file recovery software.

Step 1. Select the disk location (it can be an internal HDD/SSD or a removable storage device) where you lost data and files. Click the Scan button.

select the location where data lost and click scan

Step 2. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac will immediately scan your selected disk volume and display the scanning results on the left pane.

scan the selected disk to find lost data on your Mac

Step 3. In the scan results, select the file(s) and click Recover Now button to have them back.

click recover now button to recover lost data on your Mac


If you need to show hidden files on your Mac, whether, for troubleshooting or clearing mac junk files, the methods provided above will help you to complete your task. You can choose which one to use, nevertheless, we recommend that you use the third way as the easiest and quickest method. With a help of EaseUS, you can:

  • Switch files visibility
  • Find hidden files
  • Recover all lost, deleted and formatted data

Also, remember to be careful with hidden files. If you are not sure what you are doing, you can cause some serious damage pretty quickly.


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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files, so verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

About Data Recovery Wizard

It's super easy to recover 250+ types of files after deletion, disk formatting and virus infection. Click the links and compare the difference of each version.