Restore Access to the Hidden MacOS or OS X Library Folder
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.
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.
- Go to Finder—either your desktop or open a Finder window.
- While holding the Option key, click on the Go menu in the menubar. That will reveal some hidden destinations, including the Library folder.
- Click on the Library item on the Go menu to access the Library folder. Voila!
- 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.
- Launch Terminal from your Applications > Utilities folder.
- In terminal type the following command:
sudo chflags nohidden ~/Libraryand pres Return.
- If promoted, enter your password.
- 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.
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.]