Show Hidden Library Folder In Mac OS X Lion And Mountain Lion

POSTED 05.29.12 - 8:07 AM

OS X 10.7 and OS X 10.8 automatically default to hiding the user's Library Folder (called the "User Library") in order to prevent beginners and novices from accidentally deleting or damaging any files which are necessary for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion to properly function. A visible User Library Folder was the default setting in all previous versions of Mac OS X since its debut on March 24th, 2001.

This was an annoying change for advanced users and technicians like ourselves who need to un-hide the Library for troubleshooting purposes — the Mac Terminal was required in order to alter its visibility.

Download LibReveal 1.0 (476 KB)

This utility, which we recently renamed "LibReveal", will reveal the User Library. You can make it permanently visible or permanently hidden depending on which button you click on. It's an AppleScript "Applet" (application) which simply runs the Terminal commands chflags hidden and chflags nohidden without having to use the Terminal itself — the Terminal can be royally confusing for non-technical folks.

Speaking of confusion, don't become even more confused here. Technically speaking, we're not trying to find hidden files on a Mac since a hidden file begins with a period (if you're looking for such a utility, download Devon Technologies' excellent EasyFind). We're trying to find a folder with thousands of normally-visible files inside of it — an important folder which Apple figured it was best to hide away on us when Lion was released.

Here's how to use it. After you un-zip LibReveal, move it to the Applications >> Utilities folder on your Mac. Double-click on it to launch it (note that the utility will automatically quit after either of the two selections below are made).

Show Mac Library

Simply click on the "Show Library" button to permanently reveal the User Library. That's all there is to it. The folder will now be visible.

Hide Mac Library

To do the reverse and permanently hide the Library folder again, simply click on the "Hide Library" button.

Note that each time you update your OS X version (ie: from OS X 10.8.3 to OS X 10.8.4), you will have to run this utility again if you wish to permanently make your User Library visible (otherwise it will be invisible immediately after you finish performing the update).

This is a completely free utility which we designed ourselves and use here at MW Mac Consulting on almost every new Apple computer we work on. You can download and install it for personal and/or company use on as many computers as you wish. We hope you find it useful. Be sure to read the Read Me First file included in the download before running it for the first time.

UPDATED 07.25.12 - 2:39 PM

This post was edited to include OS X 10.8 released on July 25th, 2012.

UPDATED 10.31.13 - 11:23 AM

This utility is not required for OS X 10.9 Mavericks. To permanently show the User Library Folder in Mavericks, simply open a new Finder window and navigate to your Home folder. From the "View" menu, select "Show View Options" and a palette will pop up — in this palette, check the box labelled "Show Library Folder".