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OS X Is Hiding Your Library Folder

How to Access Your Library Folder on Your Mac

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Have you noticed something missing? OS X Lion as well as later versions of OS X are hiding your Library folder. Before the advent of OS X Lion, the Library folder was located at:

Users/home folder/

where 'home folder' is the short name of your currently logged in user account. For example, if your account's short name is bettyo, the path to your Library would be:

Users/bettyo/Library

The Library folder contains many of the resources that installed applications need to use, including application preference files, application support files, plug-in folders, and new with Lion, the plists that describe the saved state of applications.

I've already had to manually delete the saved state for one application, because it was always opening a window in a location I didn't want, just because I once quit the application with a window open there.

The users Library has long been a go-to location for troubleshooting issues with individual applications or components shared by multiple applications. If you haven't heard the refrain "Delete the application's plist," you either haven't been using a Mac for very long, or you've been lucky enough not to experience an application behaving badly.

It's not clear why Apple decided to hide the users Library folder, but there are multiple ways to get it back; two provided by Apple )depending oh the version of OS X you are using) and one by the underlying file system. The method to use depends on whether you want permanent access to the Library folder, or only when you need to go there.

Make the Library Visible Permanently

Apple hides the Library folder by setting a file system flag associated with the folder. Any folder on your Mac can have its visibility flag turned on or off; Apple just chose to set the Library folder's visibility flag to the off state. To reset the visibility flag, do the following:

  1. Launch Terminal, located at /Applications/Utilities.

  2. Enter the following command at the Terminal prompt:

chflags nohidden ~/Library

Once the command is executed, you can quit Terminal. The Library folder will now be visible in the Finder.

Should you ever wish to set the Library folder back to its default hidden state in OS X Lion, simply launch Terminal and issue the following Terminal command:

chflags hidden ~/Library

Unhide the Library Folder, the Apple Way

  1. With either the desktop or a Finder window as the front most application, hold down the option key and select the Go menu.

  2. The Library folder will be listed as one of the items in the Go menu.

  3. Select Library, and a Finder window will open showing the contents of the Library folder.

  4. If you close the Library folder's Finder window, the folder will once again be hidden from view.

Access the Library The Easy Way (OS X Mavericks and later)

  1. Open a Finder window and navigate to your Home folder.

  2. From the Finder menu, select View, Show View Options.

  3. Place a checkmark in the box labeled Show Library Folder.
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