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I want to see all hidden files on my Mac except .DS_Store. Is there a way to do that?

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16 Answers 16

up vote 24 down vote accepted

You can show hidden files in Finder with a simple Terminal command:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool YES

Then relaunch Finder by holding down the option key and right-clicking its dock icon.

However, you can't hide the .DS_Store files without hiding the rest of the hidden files. You probably just have to live one way or the other.

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It doesn't work any more on Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks:( – Altaveron Oct 28 '13 at 7:26
@Altaveron - Just change YES to TRUE, ie. sudo defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE – CourtDemone Nov 13 '13 at 20:52
Doesn't help but because of issue with if section before the code. – Altaveron Nov 14 '13 at 0:22
just confirming from os x 10.10 Yosemite this still works.. with YES/NO. – gorelative Jun 10 '14 at 20:07
About "seeing" .DS_Store files, there is a switch to stop creating such files on network folders, and would be strongly advised if you happen to work in an env that is PC-oriented, and not Mac. I was brought before the Prj Mgr (apple Watch slapped) because someone noticed I had been using my Mac, depositing .DS_Store about the project share. You could turn creation of this file off, for some cases - check on it, I know you can for network drives -, and never see them! You could also create a folder action to do almost anything with those files, move and sym-link back, or just rm -f 'em. – Bill McCloskey Jul 17 at 23:00

This is what Adobe suggests:

To avoid creating .DS_Store files, do not to use the OS X Finder to view folders. An alternative way to view folders is to use UNIX command line.

Brilliant! ;)

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Those Adobe folks are always so helpful. – Alan Jul 12 '10 at 15:34
How does this help with the Desktop issue? You will always be looking at the Desktop through Finder... Right? – rcd May 25 '14 at 17:07
im sorry but i dont understand how this is such a highly upvoted answer. "in order to not get .ds_store, don't use a critical piece of your os" – gorelative Jun 10 '14 at 20:07
@gorelative You may find an explanation here – user123444555621 Jun 10 '14 at 23:47
Thanks Adobe, perfect solution. In fact you can just boot your mac straight into shell, everything is much faster. I'm writing this using Lynx browser, it has taken me half an hour. – timhc22 Apr 24 '15 at 15:01

You can't hide it, but you can make it transparent, then drag it to the bottom-left or bottom right corner. So only you will see a string ".DS_Store", and there will be no icon.

Expert method: Copy a transparent image from your favorite img editor, select the icon of the file in the file info window, and paste the transparent image when the original icon is selected on the top.

Step-By-Step method (Previous to Yosemite):

  • Find a pure-white area in a folder, then press Shift-Command-Control-4, and drag out a square. Release the mouse when done, and the white area is now on your clipboard.
  • Open Preview and press Command-V.
  • Click and hold on the Select button in Preview's toolbar, and Instant Alpha from the drop-down menu.
  • Click and drag across the white area until you see the displayed value reach 100%, then press Return.
  • Copy the selected area (Command-C).
  • On the desktop, select your new folder and press Command-I (File » Get Info).
  • (Press Tab once in the Get Info window to) highlight the default icon.
  • Paste the transparent icon from your clipboard into the default icon (Command-V).

Per @mliqu: In OS X Yosemite (10.10.1):

  • Press Shift-Command-Control-4, and drag out a square over any area. Release the mouse when done, and the area is now on your clipboard.
  • Open Preview and press Command-N to open a window with your capture.
  • Press Command-A to select all, then press Delete.
  • Press Command-C to copy this empty grey square to clipboard.
  • Select ".DS_Store" and Command-I to get info.
  • Select the icon in the top-left and Command-V to replace with transparency from clipboard.
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Not useful in list view, column view, or when keeping items sorted. Also requires changes to every directory's layout. – Daniel Beck Jan 14 '12 at 23:49
Works perfect if desktop is all you care about (like me). Also, if you use the pattern of the desktop instead of transparency then you can push the text out of sight - making the entire icon disappear without a trace. – bendytree Jul 19 '12 at 14:05
For me too, it was a desktop annoyance… – Robert C Edwards Oct 23 '13 at 18:27
Good method. Though, it seems temporary sometimes (at least in Mavericks); I see it often change back to an image icon (e.g., PNG or whatever the original format for the transparent image was). – rcd May 25 '14 at 17:06
There's an easier step-by-step in this answer: – Clay Bridges Jul 17 at 21:45

just adding my solution to this as i didnt like any of the other options. I am web developer and I use /bin/zsh and oh-my-zsh .. either way you can add this to bash or sh..

Its simple, straight forward, and only 8 lines. I work a lot in the terminal though, so this is why this works best for my setup.

in my .zshrc i added the following lines to make switching easier.

function hideallfiles(){
    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool NO
    killall Finder
function showallfiles(){
    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool YES
    killall Finder

then run . ~/.zshrc or for bash . ~/.bash_profile or logout of your mac, and back in.

then in terminal you can run showallfiles or hideallfiles and it'll change the config and restart finder.

edit: confirmed working on 10.10 Yosemite

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This is great and simple - thanks! – nlh Aug 16 '14 at 23:47
works with 10.11 El Capitan too. – TreeFlute Oct 4 '15 at 2:37

There is this open source magic tool: asepsis. Sources are available on Github.

Version 1.4 now works with OS X Mavericks.

Update: Reported not working on El Capitan

Warning: Asepsis is no longer under active development and supported under OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) and later.

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This seems like a good app. However the one issue I did note was that if you move entire folders, the matching DS_Store files will not be updated (something about this functionality being not possible due to the indexing design); this could lead to less-than-ideal indexing results. – rcd May 25 '14 at 17:09
not supported in OS X El Capitan.. ): – TreeFlute Oct 4 '15 at 2:36
@treeflute FWIW it now does if you turn off SIP: – Ryan Brodie Dec 16 '15 at 0:34

After many on/off years of searching for a solution, there are only a few alternatives, none of which quite match your original question; i.e. no solution exists to your specific question....yet

  1. One can specifically disable the .DS_store files from being created at all
  2. Leave Finder configured to not display hidden files
  3. Follow Adobe's nonsense and only browse folders with a command line shell
  4. Toggle hidden folders on-demand. Check out this old wigit:

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Create an AppleScript/terminal service using Automator and save it to be accessible from the Finder>Services menu

The Automator action will be a two step process.

Step 1. Add an AppleScript. This script will toggle hidden files on or off (may not be properly formatted because I'm typing on my phone)

if (do shell script "defaults read AppleShowAllFiles") is equal to "0"
        do shell script "defaults write AppleShowAllFiles 1"
        do shell script "defaults write AppleShowAllFiles 0"
end if

Step 2. Add a bash cron script. This additional script will automatically search for and remove any .DS_Store files at the same time they would be triggered to display. Once completed it will relaunch Finder and close the terminal.

find ~ -name .DS_Store -exec /bin/rm -f -- {} \;
KillAll Finder
exit 0

This is not a perfect solution but it will achieve the result your looking for.

Alternatively, you could use this utility which will redirect the creation of DS_Store files to a cache directory but I prefer not to install software that will consume resources whenever possible.

The link is

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To prevent DS_Store files from being created on network volumes run this in terminal for each user on your computer. defaults write DSDontWriteNetworkStores true – davidcondrey Jan 20 '14 at 4:07

Using Terminal works to hide .DS_store files.

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool NO

This hides the hidden files. Can change NO to YES if you wish to see them again.

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I'm using Xtra Finder ( to toogle fast between hidden files. You can create your own shortcut for toogling. No need to kill finder. This is a little bit more handy and easier to use instead of typing commands or executing scripts.

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For the desktop annoying problem, my simple solution is hide the file behind the dock, you can change momentary the dock position and put the file where will remain invisible. Not a very technical solution, but effective.

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I have changed the icon of DS_Store to transparent icon file (for the desktop).

Look for transparent icon or png ( and then convert it using:

Whilst I am not entirely happy with pretending it isn't there (#ostrichSolution) and would rather it wasn't there, it at least 'looks' like there is one less thing for me to do on the desktop.

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Definitely use the transparent icon. Then, just move it. Out of sight, out of mind.

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This only addresses the Desktop, but as it's the most noticable and annoying place for .DS_Store files, it might be worth sharing:

  1. Drop to a terminal prompt
  2. cd ~/Desktop
  3. rm .DS_Store
  4. cd ~
  5. chmod 500 Desktop

This sequence removes your write permissions to the Desktop folder. Since Finder acts with your permissions, it also remove's Finder's ability to save a .DS_Store file to the Desktop. Of course, it also stops you from saving to or modifying existing files on the desktop. Perfect if you like to have an ultra-clean setup.

Example of no .DS_Store on the Desktop without using special Apps:

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El Capitan user here.

I like to keep an clean desktop; no icons or links at all. I also need to see hidden files in Finder.

I "double clicked" the .DS_Store Icon and selected "Show View Options." In that window, I scaled the icon down to 16x16, and text size to 10. I set the Grid Size as small as possible as well.

I then dragged the icon down to the lower right, so I'm left with a tiny box in the lower right corner of the Desktop.

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As of macOS Sierra Beta, .DS_Store is actually always hidden from the Finder. Just show hidden files as you would normally and .DS_Store will be gone:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool YES && killall Finder

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That's great news. Thanks! – Alan Jul 9 at 16:15

Transparent icon, move off screen, easy step-by-step here:

Via this Ask Different answer:

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