Mac: three easy ways to get to the library folder

Paths to the Library folder on the Mac

The macOS "Library" folder is usually hidden in the user directory. The background is probably that Apple wants to protect the user from making unwanted changes in it, because if you play around in the wrong corners, this can have unexpected effects on the stability of the entire system.

Often useful for troubleshooting: Access to the library folder

Anyone who has been connected to the Mac for a long time will surely have noticed that some problems can be solved with deleting files that are hidden somewhere in this folder. Be it in the subfolder "Preferences", "Application Support" or in the folder "Mail" - I also recommend resetting things here and there by deleting certain files in the library folder.

The library folder on the Mac is often the central hub when the Mac is twitching and you have to troubleshoot.

The library folder on the Mac is often the central hub when the Mac is twitching and you have to troubleshoot.

This is how you get to the library folder

Since the Library folder is normally hidden, new Mac users often wonder how they can get into this folder. There are three ways to do this, which I would like to introduce here.

1. Hold down ALT and go to menu

The easiest solution to get to the "Library" folder quickly and without major changes to the system is to use the Finder and the ALT key. If you are in the Finder, hold down the ALT key and then click on "Go to" in the menu at the top.

By pressing the ALT key, the entry "Library" appears in the list behind this menu item, which can now be selected with the mouse.

The way via the "Go to" menu with the ALT key pressed is probably the best-known way to go to the library folder.

The way via the "Go to" menu with the ALT key pressed is probably the best-known way to go to the library folder.

2. Show the library permanently

If you have to go to the library folder more often, you will be happy about the following trick, which makes the folder visible as normal:

First, you open a new Finder window and click on your own user in the sidebar (the folder with the house in front of it). If this folder is clicked, you select the key combination CMD + J (Command key and J). This opens the display options for this folder and you will find, among other things, the option "Show folder library". If you check this box, the "Library" folder will also appear on the right in the content view of the user folder.

The library folder can also be made permanently visible via the display options of the user folder.

The library folder can also be made permanently visible via the display options of the user folder.

From now on you can easily get to the library folder via the user's home folder.

3. Show invisible files

Under macOS there are some files and folders that the system hides for security reasons or for a better overview. However, these hidden files are easy to show and hide if you know the right way. If you show the hidden files, the Library folder is also visible. It is then grayed out, but you can still open it and make changes in it.

If you show hidden files and folders on the Mac, the library folder in the user's private directory is also visible - but grayed out, but this does not have any restrictions.

If you show hidden files and folders on the Mac, the library folder in the user's private directory is also visible - but grayed out, but this does not have any restrictions.

3.1 Keyboard shortcuts CMD + SHIFT + DOT

To show hidden files, proceed as follows: Open a Finder window and click on the startup disk, which in most cases should be the "Macintosh HD" in the sidebar. Now press the key combination CMD + SHIFT +. (Command and Shift and Period), which makes the hidden files visible. If you press the key combination again, they become invisible again.

Unfortunately, I don't know what this looks like with macOS Catalina because I haven't installed the system yet. It should work like this until macOS Mojave.

3.2 TinkerTool

If you want it even easier, download the recommended software TinkerTool down and in the area "Finder" and "Finder Options" check the box next to "Show hidden and system files". This then works one hundred percent with macOS Catalina.

The hidden files and folders on the Mac can also be displayed with the free TinkerTool.

The hidden files and folders on the Mac can also be displayed with the free TinkerTool.

3.3 One switch

One last option for the hidden files should be noted here, as I'll be writing a contribution to the app soon anyway: The menu bar app "One Switch" (included in the Setapp subscription) has other practical functions as well as a switch to make hidden files visible. This also makes the library folder visible.

With the One Switch app, you can easily decide via the menu bar whether hidden files should be visible or hidden.

With the One Switch app, you can easily decide via the menu bar whether hidden files should be visible or hidden.

Other ways possible

I know there are numerous other ways to get to the Library folder, but I just wanted to introduce the three that I think make the most sense and the fastest. If you have further tips, you are welcome to leave them in the form of a comment.

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