Restore Access to the Hidden MacOS or OS X Library Folder

The OS X library IS still there... Just hidden.

Updated for MacOS.
Updated for OS X Mavericks and Yosemite.

In recent updates to MacOS né Mac OS X, the Library fold­er has become, well, it’s just gone. At least, that’s how it looks. It’s still there; we just can’t get to it. For many of us, that’s a prob­lem. Manual unin­stalls and a num­ber of oth­er com­mon tasks require the user to work with­in the Library fold­er. But since Lion and up through Sierra, it sim­ply isn’t pos­si­ble to nav­i­gate to that fold­er through Finder.

The OS X library IS still there... Just hidden.

The MacOS library IS still there… Just hid­den.

There are two sim­ple meth­ods to restore your access to the Library fold­er. First, the eas­i­er, non-Terminal method for those hes­i­tant to use Terminal.

  1. Go to Findereither your desk­top or open a Finder win­dow.
  2. While hold­ing the Option key, click on the Go menu in the menubar. That will reveal some hid­den des­ti­na­tions, includ­ing the Library fold­er.
  3. Click on the Library item on the Go menu to access the Library fold­er. Voila!
  4. To make sure you always have access to the Library fold­er, with­out hav­ing to remem­ber the Option-click Go menu trick, add Library to your Finder Favorites list.

The sec­ond method is for those com­fort­able with using Terminal.

  1. Launch Terminal from your Applications > Utilities fold­er.
  2. In ter­mi­nal type the fol­low­ing com­mand: sudo chflags nohidden ~/Library and pres Return.
  3. If pro­mot­ed, enter your pass­word.
  4. Close Terminal. You will now be able to nav­i­gate to the Library fold­er in Finder just as you could in ear­li­er ver­sions of OS X.

The sudo direc­tive exe­cutes com­mands at the super user lev­el, forc­ing MacOS to do what­ev­er you tell it fol­low­ing sudo even if your account wouldn’t have had the nec­es­sary per­mis­sions. For this rea­son you should be very, very care­ful in using it on oth­er com­mands. Sudo bypass­es all safe­guards and can wreck your sys­tem.

Whichever method you chose, you should now be able to access the Library fold­er as need­ed. Hallelujah!

[This post orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished 15 July 2013, updat­ed 16 December 2014 and 3 February 2017.]

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