in

How to Hide Files on Mac | 2021 Guide

Have you ever caught people snooping on your Mac? I have been mad at people for looking at some of my personal files on my Mac. I can’t entirely blame them as it is human nature to be curious. Find out How to Hide Files on Mac.

I store a lot of personal information and files on my mac as it is safe and always with me. But when it goes into the hands of others, I start sweating bullets, that someone might see them or accidentally mess with them.

Related: 9 Best Video Editing Software for Mac

A solution for this is to hide your personal or important files and folders. You can hide files/folders in plain sight or behind secure virtual vaults and secondary accounts.

Besides, hiding files is a nice way of making sure that your privacy is not compromised. All your important detail and personal files will be safe from the prying eyes of others. This article will let you know how to hide files and folders on your Mac.  Here’s How to Hide Files on Mac.

Related: How to Fix MacBook Screen Glitching & Flickering

After having gone through various official documents from Apple and subject Mac desktops to various tests; my team and I found that:

Although there are various methods to hide your files on your Mac desktop, the easiest method would be to turn the visibility attribute to invisible. To do this all you have to do is the user must open the Terminal, type setfile -a V without pressing enter, Next, drag the file or folder into the Terminal window. Press Enter to execute the command and hide the file.

Related: How To Protect MacBook Pro From Scratches

How to Hide Files on Mac

Table of Contents

There are a few methods that you can use so choose the one that is most comfortable and convenient for you. You can hide files and folders on your Apple device using:

Related: How to Clean the MacBook Screen

Using Mac Terminal 

You can hide files in plain sight using this method without the need for passwords and usernames. You will have to use the terminal but it is a straight forward and easy method. 

  1. Click on Finder.
  2. Now select Applications on the left panel.
  3. Navigate to the Utilities section and double click to enter the Utilities Menu.
  1. Alternatively, you can open a Terminal by pressing on Command+Space and typing Terminal in the search bar and pressing enter/return key. Find out How to Hide Files on Mac.
  1. Type “chflags hidden” without quotes.
  2. Drag and drop any file or folder on to the Terminal Window. 
  3. Press Enter/Return key and the file or folder will vanish.
  4. You will have to remember the file path so that you can access it again.

This is one of the easiest and straight froward ways to hide files and folders as they are only invisible to the naked eye. To access hidden files and folders, I have written a section on the below. 

Related: Best Animation Software for Mac

Using Keyboard Shortcuts

These are quick and nifty little keyboard shortcuts and commands that you can use to hide files. Find out How to Hide Files on Mac.

  • You can hide or unhide files using this option. Depending on if the files are hidden or not it will switch between the two.
  • So, if a file is hidden, it will unhide and vice versa. Press Shift+Command+. to switch between the hide/unhide status of the file or folder. 

Related: Best Mac Apps for Writing

Using Library Folder

Using the Library Folder is a great way to hide your files too. The Library Folder is hidden by default so this makes it a great place to store your important/secretive files and folders. All you need to do is:

  1. Open up the Finder
  2. Now hold the Option key to open the Finder’s Go menu
  3. Navigate to the Library folder
  4.  You can create a new folder in there or drag and drop files and folders that you want to hide.

Using Apple’s Developer Tools

This is one of the easier methods to hide your files but you will need to have Apple’s Developer Tools installed for this.

  • If you have it installed, just fire up a Terminal and type “setfile -a V” followed by the name of the file/folder without the quotes.
  • This makes the file/folder invisible; you can undo this by repeating the process, but you will have to use a lower-case v in the command.

Using FileVault

This is the easiest way to hide files on your Mac as you don’t have to code and stuff unlike some other methods. You can FileVault, it is a feature in Mac that can help your hard drive to be accessed only using your password and admin. Follow these steps to use FileVault and hide files on your Mac:

  1. Click on the Apple icon that is located at the top left corner of your screen.
  2. Click on System Preferences option. 
  3. Choose Security & Privacy by clicking on it.
  4. Navigate to the FileVault tab, it is next to the general tab.
  1. Click on the padlock icon.
  2. Now click on the Turn On FileVault button.
  3. You will have to choose a recovery method now. There are two options that you can use, iCloud or a generating a local recovery key. Write down the recovery key, in case you forget it. 
  4. Now click on Continue.
  5. Click the continue button again and voila, the process is complete.

Your hard drive and files are secure by FileVault and others can only access them with your username and password.

It will take time depending on the number of files and specs that are getting encrypted and you need to make sure to keep you Mac connected to a power source for a smooth encryption process.

In the meanwhile, you can surf, watch something or plays games on your Mac. When the encryption is done, only you will be able to access your files and folder using your username/password. 

Related: Best Split Screen Apps for Mac

Using another account

Macs allow you to create multiple user accounts. And you can’t access files and folders of an account from a different account. You can use this feature to you advantage and store your personal files on a different account. To create a second account:

  1. Open Apple Menu.
  2. Navigate to System Preferences.
  3. Now click on Users & Groups option.
  1. Click on the Lock button and then click on the + button.
  2. Enter details for the new account to set up a Profile.

Your Mac will now have a second account that you can use to hides files and folders from your main account. To make sure that the files and folders are not accessible between the two accounts, you will have to turn off file sharing. You can do that in the Apple Menu> System Preferences> Sharing.

Using Third Party Apps

Third Party apps can help you hide files from others users of your Mac. Some of the better ones are Altomac’s Hide Folders, Apimac’s  Secret Folder and AES Crypt.

Using the “mv” command

For those who love to fiddle with their computer, this would be a much more interesting way to hide files. By using the “mv” command, you can move the file from one place to a different folder. While you can use this command to easily hide it in a folder that’s inside multiple folders, the most useful aspect of this command is to move the file to a period folder.

Period folders are relatively well-hidden folders that contain critical system information. So, you won’t be able to access them through the regular UI.

Here are the steps to turn your files invisible with this method:

  • Go to the Terminal and type in mv filename .filename.
  • Now change the name of the first filename bit to the the name of the file you want to hide.
  • And then change the name of the .filename to the system file
  • This will ensure that your file is hidden

How to Hide Files on Mac – Takeaway

Hiding files and folders is nothing more than a privacy measure. Hiding files or folders will keep them safe when someone else is using your Mac.

If you need to make sure your personal or important files are safe, hiding them is one of the best ways to keep them safe.

This article was to inform you on how to hide files and I hope it was of help. It will offer you peace of mind when someone else uses your Mac.

How do I hide files on my Mac desktop?

The easiest method to hide your files on your Mac desktop would be to turn the visibility attribute to invisible. To do this all you have to do is:

  • Open the Terminal.
  • Type setfile -a V without pressing enter
  • Next, drag the file or folder into the Terminal window.
  • Press Enter to execute the command and hide the file.

Also Read: