How to access private folders on a Mac?

Some parts of your macOS are closed to visitors. Every new macOS update makes it harder for ordinary users to manipulate system-critical components. But “harder” doesnt mean impossible. With tips weve laid out in this article, you can get into the operating systems hidden parts, access private folders, and do other things 99% of Mac users cant. Now, lets break some rules.

Since 2011 the Library folder was closed from regular access. Not only was this a security risk from cyber-attacks and viruses, but people could also too easily alter settings that proved important, and therefore, difficult to fix. However, this Library folder often proves an invaluable source of troubleshooting for those who are confident and comfortable accessing the app files contained within.

For Mac power users, you may have heard the expression to “Delete the applications plist,” which is only something you can do with access to the Library folder. If youve never heard of this before, you might have been lucky with the applications youve been using. The Library folder is also a useful place to make customizable tweaks and changes to applications and programs you use regularly.

Before you do that: are you trying to access some infected folder or a suspicious app? If that is one reason you need access to the Library, I suggest eliminating it with CleanMyMac first. I have used it to clean my drive in the past, and it got rid of a nasty trojan virus in my system folders. Give it a try here — a link to download a free edition. Pro Tip: This app also detects private Large & Old folders on your Mac, those rarely visited by you.

Location of /private/var/folders

The simplest way to find the /private/var folder is through the Finder Go to Folder menu. Press Cmd + Shift + G to bring up the Go to Folder box and enter /private/var/folders. A new Finder tab will open immediately.

How to Make a Secret Folder on a Mac – Hide your Files

#1: Make the Library permanently visible

Before you try this, are you familiar with the Terminal? Its not that scary as it looks.

private folders mac

If you are, we recommend going this route to provide permanent uncovered access to the Library. It will save you a whole load of time if you want and need 24/7 access. But only do this if you are perfectly comfortable and familiar using the Terminal. Making mistakes within Terminal can break things and cause problems that you would rather not have, which is the same for anyone who needs Library access.

Here is how you make the Library visible all of the time:

(1) Launch Terminal, which you can find in /Applications/Utilities (2) Enter this command in Terminal: chflags nohidden ~/Library (3) Click Return. Make sure the command is executed. (4) Quit Terminal. Library should be visible in the Finder > Go menu

If you ever want to restore this to how it was before, enter the following command in Terminal: chflags hidden ~/Library

private folders mac

Click Return again, and it should be back to how it was. If you still dont see the Library, try pressing the Option key while you are in the Finder > Go menu.

private folders mac

#2: Temporarily unhide the Library

As we mentioned, the use of Terminal — and Library — can cause things to break unexpectedly, which might mean involving an Apple specialist to fix an unexpected problem. Whenever possible, Apple prefers people to do things the way they suggest, and there is a suggested Apple way to make the Library visible, albeit temporarily.

(1) Either using Desktop or the Finder Menu, hold down the option key and select the Go menu. (2) Library should show up in the Go menu (3) Double-click on Library, which will open a Finder window containing the contents of that folder; (4) Once you close that window, the Library folder will be hidden again.

#3: Unhide any private folder instantly

Luckily, macOS developers provided a shortcut to access private folders on Mac. Be careful with that one as you may delete something critically important (no wonder they hid it). Press Shift+ Command + Period (a key for period character) Did it work? Now you can browse the transparent folders, hopefully, youll find what youre looking for. To undo this option, press the Shift + Command + Period again.

private folders mac

private folders mac

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