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How To Show The User Library Directory In OS X Lion or Mountain Lion

How To Show The User Library Directory In OS X Lion or Mountain Lion

In attempting to make life easier for their customers, and to help “fool-proof” Mac OS X Lion, Apple has made some user-level changes. One such change is that Lion now defaults to hiding the user’s library directory. While this may be best for inexperience users, some of us want or even need access to the ~/Library/ directory. Here’s how you can get it back:

Returning the user library directory is a matter of running a simple terminal command. To make the change, simply fire up Terminal from your Utilities folder, and run the following command:

chflags nohidden ~/Library/

After you successfully run the command, it may be necessary to force a relaunch of Finder before you are able to actually see the Library folder that you just revealed. You can restart Finder by entering an additional Terminal command:

killall Finder && open /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app

You will now be able to see, navigate, and make changes to the contents of the ~/Library/ directory. If you decide that you don’t need or want access to the Library directory, you can hide it again by entering the following command, thus returning the setting back to default:

chflags hidden ~/Library

And once again, you’ll want to repeat the command for killing and restarting Finder in order to finalize the changes.

For more helpful tips, check out our full collection of tutorials by visiting our How-To category!

  1. Wei Yang says:

    You can also open a Finder window, Click on “Go” in the top bar and reveal Library by holding down the Option key.

    1. Anthonym214 says:

      You can also open finder and go into preferences and select it there

      1. Texeter says:

        I’ve just opened preference but can’t see where you select Library.

  2. Boxerflat4 says:

    Access to the Library is essential when you want to trash a plist file that is being problematical.

    Thanks for posting

  3. Thanks for posting this, very useful! 
    I’ve been trying to uninstall Plex, but since the user library was hidden I could not find the files to be deleted. I don’t understand why apple felt they needed to do this, even for inexperienced users it’s essential for uninstalling certain programs.

  4. Caleb Walker says:

    I just click “Go” > “Go to Folder…” and type ~/Library

  5. Anonymous says:

    Simple and to the point. Thank you!

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