How to Show or Hide Hidden Files on MacOS Sierra

It seems like some of your files are hidden by default on Mac OS X Sierra. You can make your Mac show those hidden files or hide some more files by changing some of the settings manually. It just requires few steps.

For those who have recently upgraded to Sierra and willing to know the process to show/hide hidden files, here are the two easy and simplified approaches.

#Method 1: Sometimes it is better to take a long way home!

So here we go with the long way to show or hide Mac OS Sierra hidden files…

  • Select ‘Finder’icon on the Mac dock, then go to Applications > Utilities and choose Terminal icon
  • In the terminal window, type the command defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES and press enter
  • Select ‘Quit Terminal’ from the terminal menu and return from the Terminal program
  • Press and hold the ‘Option/alt’ key, then right click on the Finder icon in the dock and click Relaunch as shown below

This must show all the hidden files. To undo this process, meaning to hide the files again the same above steps must be followed but with a modified Terminal command which is:

‘defaults write AppleShowAllFiles NO’

#Method 2: Using Aliases

Well, an Alias is a simple shortcut for one or more commands.

In this method you need to first setup the alias command for hiding and showing up the files on Mac Sierra. Later, you can just use that alias name as command any number of times. Thus reducing the long way. Below is the procedure to make the lengthy command lines to be executed in a single command:

Here is the setup to create alias commands: This is one time requirement, just set it up and use Alias every time you want to hide / show files:

  • Open Terminal
  • Type the command - sudo nano ~/.bash_profile
  • Enter your Mac’s administration password if required, then hit return
  • At the bottom of the open .bash_profile file, type the command –

alias showFiles='defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES; killall Finder /System/Library/CoreServices/'

  • Then type – ‘alias hideFiles='defaults write AppleShowAllFiles NO; killall Finder /System/Library/CoreServices/'
  • Now press ctrl + O and hit return to save the file
  • Then press ctrl + X to exit the file and return to the command line
  • Type the command – ‘source ~/.bash_profile to refresh your profile and make the aliases available

From now on, whenever you want to show hidden files, all you need is to just type showFiles in Terminal, and hideFiles to hide the files back.

These are not just 2 terminal commands on Mac, if we dig in a bit deeper on Terminal commands you find many such tricks using which you can customize your Mac and master over Mac Terminal. Actually, it is also possible to make your Mac automatically restart after a crash! Here is the command to do this:

‘sudo systemsetup –setrestartfreeze’

“Sometimes, a Mac crash may turn into a major problem, due to which there are chances of losing important data. If you want to skip the crying and the yelling at this situation, then use Remo Data Recovery software for Mac and restore back entire data from a crashed Mac hard drive in simple steps.”

The Terminal commands presented in this article will boost your work flow and you can use those commands on OS X El Capitan and Yosemite, along with Sierra. The commands used in the first method might seem to be the longest set of instructions but it’s worth spending few minutes. If you wish to hide / show files very often then method #2 will be the best opt.

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John Harris

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

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