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 playing around in the wrong corners can have unexpected effects on the stability of the entire system.
Chapter in this post:
- 1 Often useful for troubleshooting: Access to the Library folder
- 2 How to get to the library folder
- 3 1. Hold down ALT key and go to menu
- 4 2. Show the library permanently
- 5 3. Show invisible files
- 6 3.1 Keyboard shortcuts CMD + SHIFT + DOT
- 7 3.2 Tinker Tool
- 8 3.3 OneSwitch
- 9 Other routes possible
- 10 Similar posts
Often useful for troubleshooting: Access to the library folder
Anyone who has been connected to the Mac for a long time will have noticed that some small problems can be solved by deleting files that are hidden somewhere in this folder. Whether it's in the Preferences subfolder, Application Support subfolder, or the Mail folder, I, too, recommend resetting things here and there by specifically deleting specific files in the Library folder.
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.
The easiest way to get to the "Library" folder quickly and without making major changes to the system is via the Finder and the ALT key. If you are in the Finder, hold down the ALT key and then click on “Go” in the menu at the top.
By holding down the ALT key, the entry “Library” also appears in the list behind this menu item, which you can now select using the mouse.
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 Library Folder”. If you tick this box, the "Library" folder also appears on the right in the content view 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.
3.1 Keyboard shortcuts CMD + SHIFT + DOT
To show hidden files, proceed as follows: Open a Finder window and click on the startup volume, which in most cases should be “Macintosh HD” in the sidebar. Now press the key combination CMD + SHIFT + . (Command and Shift and period) which will reveal the hidden files. 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 Tinker Tool
If you want it even easier, download the recommended software TinkerTool and check the “Show hidden and system files” box in the “Finder” and “Finder Options” section. This also works XNUMX% with macOS Catalina.
3.3 One switch
One last possibility for the hidden files should be mentioned here, since I will be writing a post about the app shortly 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.
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.
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He acts as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with technical problems. In his spare time he rides electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with the iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions to current bugs.