How to Show Hidden Files on Mac

Tracy King updated on Sep 23, 2020 to Mac File Recovery | How-to Articles

If you cannot view some important hidden files on your Mac computer, don't worry. Here, you can find reliable methods about how to show hidden files on Mac external hard drive. Mac file recovery software supports you to find and restore all hidden files on the Mac or external storage devices with simple clicks.

"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?"

Recently we got a question from a user whether it is possible to find hidden files on a Mac hard drive. The answer is YES. You can just follow the provided methods to show the hidden files on your Mac computer or hard disk, external storage devices.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Show 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. View Hidden Files With Terminal Open Terminal > Copy and paste the command into the Terminal window...Full steps
Fix 3. Restore Disappeared Files 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. Show Hidden Files using Keyboard Shortcut

This method shows you how to use the Mac keyboard to quickly find hidden files. Here are the detailed steps.

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, and press Command (⌘) + Shift + . to reveal or hide hidden folders in the Finder.

Step 3. To rehide hidden folders, press Command + Shift + . again.

show mac hidden files with finder

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

Besides using the keyboard shortcut, you can also use the Terminal command-line interface to view hidden files and folders on Mac. 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 Disappeared Files With Mac File Recovery Software

In some other cases, the files got hidden due to virus attack or OS fault. Under these circumstances, you might need help from third-party data recovery software to get back your files. Here we recommend EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac. This tool enables you to find and restore all hidden files on Mac computer or external storage devices. Here are some amazing features of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

  • Recover lost data from the emptied Trash Bin, accidental deletion, or other causes.
  • Supports to repair corrupted Word, Excel, and PDF files during the recovery process.
  • The whole recovery process only needs three steps. Simple and easy.
  • Supports users to preview all recoverable files.

As mentioned before, this method does not require any specific knowledge and can be used by both experienced and novice Mac users. If you have lost files on your Mac, download and install this software and have a try.

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 a location 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.

start scan on the Mac

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

click recover now button to recover lost data on your Mac

Why Do Files Suddenly Disappear on Mac?

Sometimes users find their Mac files got disappeared but usually they don't know the reason. Here we list the most common reasons that would lead to file disappear on the Mac or external hard drive.

1. Accidental Deletion.

Sometimes you might delete your files without notice. Generally, if you haven't emptied the Trash bin, you can find and recover the disappeared files from it.

2. Hidden by the System.

In some cases, files are hidden by the operating system, so you can't see them on the external hard drive. It could be that you accidentally hide files, or the system hides sensitive files by default to keep things simple.

3. File System Error.

Files are not showing in an external hard drive because the disk's file system is corrupted. As a result, the computer system fails to access the entries to your files or show these files.

4. Virus Attack.

Your Mac or external hard drive might be infected by a virus or attacked by malware that would hide, delete, or encrypt the files on the drive.


Here are all about how to show hidden files on Mac. No matter your files are lost or hidden by the system, you can find a way in this guide to get back your files. Please 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.