- Therefore, you can quickly learn how to find lost files on Mac with this approach. Just go to the Apple logo on the top left corner of the screen and click on the 'Recent Items' option. This will give you a list of the recently accessed folders, apps, and documents.
- Organize files in folders on Mac. Everything on your Mac—documents, pictures, music, apps, and more—is organized in folders. As you create documents, install apps, and do other work, you can create new folders to keep yourself organized.
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“Foldr helps us cross and dot the T’s and I’s with many data protection laws, this was really important to us.” Current Slide “It seamlessly glues together the Windows and Mac environments. Staff are able to access their files and documents anywhere and at anytime.” “It allows us to access documents directly off the network and obeys all our existing file and folder security.
When you look at your desktop, or inside any folder for that matter, on your Mac you’ll see a number (one that will vary depending on how well-organized you are) of file and folder icons. What all of us have in common, however, is a huge range of system files that are hidden just out of view.
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Those of us who have lived online for long enough will remember the Delete System32 hoax, with which trolls encouraged naive PC users to delete their Windows 2000 system directory. It’s not a shock that, since those days, developers have taken more care to hide away files that are essential to their operating systems.
There are, however, times when you need to access those files. Most of them are hidden away in the ~/Library folder, but the truth is that the average Mac holds a treasure trove of files and folders that you either no longer need or may want to access for troubleshooting purposes.
Is it normal that 'System' takes up 90GB+ of storage? What does it contain? How to get your System folder under control?
Three Ways to See Hidden Files on Mac
There’s good news for anyone out there who’s looking to access hidden files on their Mac: you can do exactly that, in a number of different ways, by arming yourself with a little bit of knowledge. There are a couple of Finder augmentation and replacement apps, for example, that make the process as easy as clicking a single button.
Before kicking off, however, it’s important to highlight that you should play it safe when digging through hidden files on your laptop or desktop. Unless you know exactly what you’re looking for you can do some serious damage to your operating system, so you’ll want to proceed with caution. After all, these files are hidden for a reason!
See hidden files on Mac via Finder
As mentioned above, it doesn’t take much to make the hidden files on your Mac visible. In fact, you can check out all of the hidden files on your Mac by following just three easy steps:
- In Finder, open up your Macintosh HD folder
- Press Command+Shift+Dot
- Your hidden files will become visible. Repeat step 2 to hide them again!
This process will also work elsewhere, including your Documents or Applications folders. However, if you know what you’re looking for is in your ~/Library folder and would rather jump straight into that then you can take the following steps instead:
- In Finder, hold down Alt and click Go at the top of your screen
- Click on Library to open up the, normally hidden, folder
Be prepared for one very cluttered looking Desktop if you decide to uncover all the hidden files there. If you’re anything like the average Mac user, most of what you’ll find will be made up of system files and autosaved Microsoft Word documents!
Some users have reported success finding documents that they thought were lost forever after their Mac crashed without saving, which is always a useful tip to have in the back pocket.
Unhide files on Mac with Terminal commands
Terminal, a Mac command-line interface, is included in macOS by default and allows you to use command prompts to control your Mac instead of following a potentially complex series of instructions to do the same thing in Finder.
If you’re already familiar with using Terminal, then you might prefer to run the following script to reveal your hidden files:
- Open Terminal
- Enter the following: defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles true [Press Return] killall Finder
- To hide files again, change the “true” in the step above to “false”
It doesn’t matter too much whether you use Terminal or Finder to make the hidden files on your Mac visible, though you might prefer the latter if you’ve never run scripts on Terminal before, as both routes accomplish the same thing.
One reason you might opt to use Terminal is that it allows you to hide any file or folder on your Mac, which is a great way to avoid that sense of residual curiosity felt by others should they come across a password protected .rar on your desktop! To hide files, just:
- Open Terminal
- Enter the following: chflags hidden [Press Space]
- Drag files or folders to be hidden from Finder into the Terminal window, which will display their paths in Terminal
- Press Return to hide
To make your files visible again, just repeat the above steps using “chflags nohidden” in place of “chflags hidden.” Of course, the fact that anyone else who knows this trick can also use it to unhide your files means that this isn’t an adequate substitute for other security measures.
Use file managers to access hidden files
How to find the path of a file in Mac? Apps like DCommander and Forklift, both of which perform like native macOS apps and function as extensions of Finder, represent great choices if you’re at all uncomfortable using Terminal or digging around in your ~/Library folder.
Because these apps allow you to make hidden files and folders visible (or invisible) using shortcuts or clicking buttons within the apps, they make the whole process incredibly simple. In Forklift, for example, you can show hidden files by:
- Clicking View
- Selecting View Options towards the bottom of the dropdown menu
- Checking the box next to Show Hidden Files
There’s also a button in the toolbar to show and hide hidden files. DCommander has a similar function available, with a Show System Files command, but you need to add it manually to the app’s toolbar:
As you might guess from those subtle differences in terminology, we would suggest that Forklift is more suitable for someone looking for something that really looks and acts like Finder. DCommander, with a larger range of features and toolbar buttons enabled by default, is still intuitive but feels a little more dense.
Whichever you settle on remember that just because these apps make accessing hidden files easy it doesn’t mean that you can’t do some real damage if you start messing around with the wrong thing!
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Leave hidden files to automatic cleanup
For some Mac users, the question of how to see hidden files is nothing more than succumbing to curiosity. For others, it’s a necessity for troubleshooting a piece of software or device that’s not performing as it should.
Somewhere in between are those in the pursuit of a few spare gigabytes as their hard drive rapidly fills up. If you’re one of those people looking to clean up useless hidden data then an app like CleanMyMac X might be exactly what you need:
- Open up the app and select Smart Scan
- Hit Scan
- Select Review Details underneath Cleanup to see how much System Junk you can safely delete
- Hit Run to remove those unneeded files
An app like CleanMyMac X will free up space just as effectively, probably more so, than you’ll be able to by randomly deleting hidden files and hoping for the best. If you do end up going this route then don’t consider learning more about hidden content a waste of time — at least you know what to watch out for if someone tries to troll you into deleting vital system files!
Best of all, DCommander, Forklift, and CleanMyMac X apps mentioned above are all available for a free trial through Setapp, a collection of more than 150 macOS apps from top developers all over the world.
Meantime, prepare for all the awesome things you can do with Setapp.Read on
Sep 28, 2020 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions
If you are relatively new to the macOS system, then chances are that you might encounter a similar situation as well. Although macOS is quite user-friendly, sometimes it can take a lot of time to find a file or locate a particular folder. Just like Windows or Linux, Mac also presents different ways to find files and browse its local storage system.
In this post, we will teach you how to find folders on Mac as well as recover any lost document on your Mac system as well.
Part 1. How to Find Hidden Files and Folders on Mac Hard Drive?
Ideally, you can browse the internal hard drive or Mac or even explore an external device well. The solution to find lost files on Mac would be the same for almost every major version. Though, there might be some change in the overall interface of the macOS. The following are some of the common techniques that you can follow to find any file on Mac.
1. Use Recent Items to Find Documents on Mac
If you wish to find some recently opened files or folders on Mac, then you can follow this simple approach. The macOS would maintain a record of the recently accessed documents, applications, and sometimes even system processes. Therefore, you can quickly learn how to find lost files on Mac with this approach.
- Just go to the Apple logo on the top left corner of the screen and click on the 'Recent Items' option.
- This will give you a list of the recently accessed folders, apps, and documents. Just click on the icon of your choice to view the file or application.
- Additionally, you can also go to the File menu > Open Recent section to view the recently accessed files. You can clear the history from here or click on any file to access it once again.
2. Check the Downloads Folder to Find Files
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Too often, Mac users download something from the internet and later realize that the downloaded document disappeared on Mac. If you also think that the Mac download folder is missing, then consider following these quick steps.
- To start with, go to the desktop on your Mac system and visit the 'Go' section from the main menu. From here, you can visit the 'Downloads' folder on Mac.
- Alternatively, you can also go to your Library and click on the 'Downloads' section from the left panel.
- Once the Downloads folder on Mac has been opened, you can just look for any file of your choice. There is a search tab on the top that can help you do the same in less time. Simply click on it and type the name of the file you are looking for in the Downloads folder.
3. Check the Trash to Find Deleted Files
When we delete something on Mac, the file is not removed from the storage right away. On the contrary, it will be moved to the Trash, from where we can recover the deleted data if we want to. Therefore, if you can't find lost documents or folders on Mac, then make sure that you check its Trash before taking any drastic measures.
- Firstly, you need to access the Trash folder on Mac. You can do this by clicking on the Trash icon on the dock.
- When the Trash folder would be opened, you can view all the deleted files that are stored on it temporarily.
- If you wish to recover a file, then select it, and right-click. Click on the 'Put Back' option from the context menu to restore it to its original location.
4. Search the Spotlight to Find Files and Folders
Spotlight is probably one of the most resourceful features in macOS. Since Spotlight has been an evident feature in every major macOS, you won't face the slightest of trouble in finding any file on your Mac system. The feature can be accessed from the desktop and will let you look for files, documents, internet searches, and so much more in one place. If you don't know where to find documents on Mac, then simply follow this drill.
- To access Spotlight, go to your Mac's desktop and click on the search icon on the top right corner of the screen. Here, type the name of any file or folder that you are looking for.
- In no time, the system will start looking for suitable content with respect to the searched keyword. Once you get the results, you can just hover the mouse on the icon to get its preview. Ideally, Mac will let you preview pictures, videos, audios, documents, etc.
- In order to access a file, simply click on it and it will be opened on your Mac system. If you want, you can click on the 'Show All in Finder' option as well to view all the searched results together.
- This will display the relevant results in Finder so that you can find the suitable files and folders that you were looking for.
5. Use Terminal to Find Files and Folders on Mac
The terminal is one of the most useful utility tools in Mac that lets us send direct commands to our system. A lot of users are not able to find any file or folder on Mac which is hidden. In this case, you can take the assistance of Terminal to view the hidden files/folders first. Later, you can go to Finder on Mac to access the data of your choice.
- To begin with, you need to launch the Terminal app. Go to Applications > Utilities and open the Terminal app or look for it from the Spotlight.
- 2. Once Terminal is launched on your Mac, simply copy the following commands and press enter: defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE killall Finder
- This will restart Finder and will display all the hidden files and folders on it as well. Now, you can just click on the search icon and enter the name of the files/folder you are looking for. This will let you find files and folders on Mac that are even hidden from the user.
If the content you are looking for is present on your Mac's storage, then you would be able to find it by following the above-listed methods. These techniques will work even if the data has been hidden or deleted so that you can find any file on Mac seamlessly. Though, if your data is deleted or inaccessible, then consider following the next section to find lost files on Mac.
Part 2. How to Find Lost Files on Mac?
There are times when users end up losing their important data on Mac. While there could be different reasons behind it, you can easily find lost documents on Mac by using the right methods.
Why Files Get Lost?
Before we teach you how to find lost documents on Mac, it is important to know what could have caused the situation in the first place. Here are some of the major reasons for data loss on Mac.
- Sometimes, users end up deleting something accidentally, which gets lost.
- The change in location of the files can make them inaccessible at times.
- A virus or malware attack on the storage can make your files corrupt.
- Chances are that your data could be overwritten by something else.
- The data can be mishandled by a third-party application as well.
- The storage unit or partition can get corrupt or formatted.
- A firmware issue, corrupt update, or any other software-related problem
Recoverit Data Recovery: The Best Mac Lost Partition Recovery Software
No matter what could have caused your files to be lost on inaccessible, you can easily get them back using Recoverit Mac Data Recovery software. It is an extremely reliable and advanced data recovery tool that supports every leading Mac and Windows version. The application is developed by Wondershare and yields positive results in all kinds of data loss scenarios. Also, it is extremely easy to use and will not need any prior technical experience to find lost files on Mac through it.
If you have deleted a partition on Mac or have lost it due to any other reason, then you should use Recoverit Data Recovery. It can help you restore partition data on Mac by following these easy steps.
Step 1: Select a disk
To start with, just launch the Recoverit Data Recovery application on your Mac. Subsequently, the application will identify the inbuilt partitions on your Mac and will provide their list. You can just select a partition of your choice and start the recovery process.
Step 2: Scan the Location
In no time, Recoverit would try to access the lost content from the selected partition. Though, if the partition has been lost, then the quick scan might not yield the needed results. In this case, you can perform a Deep Scan on your Mac to scan the entire storage.
Since it might take a while, it is recommended to wait for the recovery process to be completed. Try not to restart your Mac or close the application when it is performing a deep scan.
Step 3: Preview and Recover
That's it! Once the process is complete, the application will display the recovered data under various categories. You can view a section from the left panel and preview your data on the right.
In the end, you can select the files you wish to get back and click on the 'Recover' button to save them to a secure location.
In some new macOS versions, third-party applications are not allowed to access the logical partition of the drive. To overcome this, you can reboot Mac in recovery mode and launch Terminal from the utility menu. Type 'csrutil disable' and press enter to disable its System Integrity Protection. Once it is done, restart Mac in the normal mode and run Recoverit Data Recovery again.
Part 3. Tips for Finding Files on Mac
If you don't want to lose your data and learn how to find files on Mac quickly, then consider following these expert suggestions:
- There are all kinds of keyboard shortcuts that you can use while browsing the file system on Mac. For instance, if you have been browsing a directory and would like to go back to the default folder, then press the Command + Shift + H keys. This will take you back to the home instantly.
- Finder in Mac also allows us to set some default folders so that we can access them easily. Just go to the Finder Preferences to set a default folder for quick access.
- The toolbar on Mac already provides a lot of options, but you can further customize it to make it easier for you to find files on Mac. Just go to View > Customize Toolbar and make the needed adjustments.
- You can easily look for a file through the 'Search' bar on Finder. Also, you can sort the displayed data on the basis of different parameters (like size, last modified, etc.) to find files easily.
- Mac also lets us preview files before opening them in order to find the respective content. For instance, you can just select a file and click on the Quick Look button to get its preview in seconds.
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There you go! After reading this guide, you would be able to find any file on Mac without much trouble. We have listed different inbuilt methods to find lost documents on Mac, recover hidden files, and even restore deleted data. If you can't find lost files on Mac via Trash, then consider using Recoverit Data Recovery. It is an advanced and user-friendly data recovery application that will help you get back all kinds of content lost on your Mac. Since the tool is available for free (basic version), you can simply download it on your Mac and use it as per your requirements.
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