Using commands within the terminal how can I check to see if a specific file is visible or hidden for a user?
There are two ways to hide files from OS X Finder (unless it's set up to show hidden files, or the user wants to see these files in a file dialog):
- Rename so the name starts with a period (
.bash_profile. This is common with software with Unix roots.
- Set the hidden file flag. Some system folders, notable
~/Library, have this flag by default.
The former is easy to see by running
ls -A (
-A showing files whose names start with a period), for the latter you need to use
ls -lO and look for the value
hidden in the column between owning group name and file size.
file.doc is visible
.file.doc is hidden
The user can choose to view invisibles, so a hidden flag is not sufficient to make any file 'unobtainable' to the user, if they are resourceful enough.