Daily Feeding: Hide Stuff in Plain Site


A while back I started Daily Feeding, which was meant to be tips on regular tasks you might need to perform on your Mac. I’ve got the wheels turning again, and am trying to re-up that segment.

Today’s Daily Feeding has to do with hiding files that you might want to keep private. (I’m thinking tax & financial docs, files with your ssn, etc…but use it for whatever you need I guess.) There’s a pretty easy way you can do it without any extra apps or hacks or anything like that. All you need is the Terminal.

If you put a period in front of a file or folder, the Finder will not show it. However, from the Terminal, running the command, ls -al will show all hidden files and folders. They’re still there and accessible.

If you don’t like using the Terminal, there’s a freeware app from Altomac, called Hide Folders. When you launch it, a sort of Finder-esque window opens. You simply drag your files or folders into Hide Folders and click the ‘Hide’ button. When you want to view your files again, just click the ‘Unhide’ button. Simple and clean.

Of course if you’ve used one of those 3rd party programs that allows you to show hidden files, these tips may not work for you. But hopefully this gives you a quick and simple way to put things out of plain site of prying eyes.



Actually if you want stuff hidden, but secure, a small encrypted .dmg is a better option.

You double click on it, enter your password and it mounts and is fully usable like a USB key or similar. As long as you don’t check “save password in keychain” when mounting it is also very secure.

I use it for passwords, financial details etc.


After having created the dot-folder in Terminal, you can access it in the Finder using Shift+Command+G. No third party software needed!


It looks like this is also nice because spotlight doesn’t seem to be searching through .folders.


And for those that want to hide and gain occasional access via the finder:

defaults write com.apple.Dock showhidden -bool YES

Dropping this line in terminal will reveal hidden files and folders in the Finder, and replacing YES with NO will reverse it.

Also, knowing the address, you can go to hidden folders within Finder by using the Go To Location and putting in the path to the hidden folder.

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