It is possible to hide and show files on the Apple Mac with a keyboard shortcut, but Funter is a free utility that is easier and more useful than the built-in macOS feature. Here’s how it works.
You may not realize it, but there are already hundreds and possibly thousands of hidden files and folders on the Apple Mac’s disk. They consist of files that macOS and apps don’t want you to see or access. Why?
Some of them are data files, settings files, configuration files, caches, and so on. You do not normally need to access them and if they are deleted or changed, they can affect how macOS or apps work. They might even prevent apps or macOS features from working.
On the other hand, if there is a problem with macOS or an app, it can sometimes be useful to edit or delete hidden files. For example, deleting the hidden cache or preferences file or folder for an app or macOS feature or service can fix faults by resetting things.
The best-known hidden folder on the Apple Mac is the Library folder and it contains settings, preferences, caches, startup and login items, and much more for apps and the Mac’s operating system. You might even have accessed it on occasions.
Open your home folder and the Library folder is there, but it cannot be seen because macOS has hidden it. The way to access it is to click the Go menu in Finder, hold down the Option key and then click Library. It opens in Finder like a regular folder. Once the hidden Library folder is opened in Finder, everything is visible.
Show hidden files macOS shortcut
The Library folder is just one hidden item and there are many more. Go to the home folder on your Mac using Finder and then press Shift+Cmd+. (period/fullstop key). Hidden files and folders appear in Finder, not only in this folder, but in any folder you now visit. Shift+Cmd+. is a toggle switch, so press it again and hidden items are hidden again. Just press that key combo when you want to see or hide hidden files and folders.
Show/hide files with Funter
Funter is a menu bar utility for the Apple Mac that adds some interesting features. Click the icon and a panel appears under it that has a switch at the top to show or hide hidden files in Finder. It works, but it only does what pressing the macOS key combo does, so there is little benefit.
Where it is most useful is the Finder integration. Ctrl+click any file or folder in a Finder window and there is a Hide with Funter option on the menu. It sets the item to hidden. This enables you to hide files and folders you don’t want anyone to see and the selected item disappears from view in Finder.
It is useful for anyone that shares a Mac, such as a work computer or one you share with a partner or children. Even if you don’t share your Mac with anyone, could someone be standing nearby when you are using it and see what files and folders you have on the disk? Are there some you would rather they not see? Hiding files and folders adds a bit more security and privacy.
There is no easy way to hide a file or folder in Finder, but Funter makes it just a couple of mouse clicks. To make a hidden item visible again, show hidden files, Ctrl+click the hidden item and select Show with Funter on the menu.
Hidden files can be accessed like any other file when they are visible. Enable the showing of hidden files and you can open them, edit them, preview them, move, copy and delete them and anything else you can do with regular files.
Search for hidden files
Finder and Spotlight on the Mac do not include hidden files in search results. Hidden files are not searchable. Except if you use Funter and this is another useful feature of this free tool.
Click the menu bar icon and a panel appears with a search box. Enter a filename and a window opens to show the search results. There are icons in the toolbar that show or hide normal files and hidden files. You can view the search results just for hidden files, just for normal files or include all files.
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Extra Funter features
The Funter menu bar panel shows memory usage as a bar and a percentage. Below it is a Cleanup button that temporarily boosts the free memory of the Mac. I don’t use memory boosters, but if you do, this might mean you don’t need your regular memory booster app.
There is also a Disk Usage section that shows the percentage of the disk space used and there is a breakdown of junk files, duplicates, applications and large and old files. The information is useful, but don’t bother with the Review & Clean Up button, it just directs you to another of the developer’s apps.
Funter provides useful features like the ability to hide your own files and folders for privacy or security and searching for hidden items, which are features not in macOS. You could do it from a Terminal command prompt, but few people know the magic incantations to do this.
The only problem I had was a clash with OneDrive. I keep a lot of OneDrive files online-only to free up disk space. Funter seemed to cause them to be downloaded while scanning for files. You must quit OneDrive to run Funter. Apart from that, it is a handy utility.