How to Access the Library Folder in Your Home Folder on Your Mac

How to Access the Library Folder in Your Home Folder on Your Mac

Learn how to access the hidden Library folder in your Home folder on your Mac so you can tweak app settings and access app files.

Inside the home folder on your Mac is a Library folder that stores app-specific files and settings, personal settings, and some data. The files and settings in the Library folder should be left alone for the most part. But, you may want to tweak the settings for an app, which may require accessing the Library folder. Or, maybe an app backs up data to the Library folder and you want to copy that to an external drive.

As of Mac OS X Lion (10.7), the Library folder in your home folder is hidden by default. That doesn’t mean you can’t get to it. It’s hidden so you don’t accidentally delete settings and data, damaging apps in the process. So, if you decide you want to access the Library folder, be very careful.

Today we’re going to cover different ways of accessing the hidden Library folder in your home folder and how to make it permanently available in Finder.

What is the Path to the Library Folder?

The Library in your home folder is written as

/Library. The tilde (

) character is a shortcut for your home directory. For example, on my Mac, that would expand to /Users/lorikaufman/Library.

Access the Library Folder Using the Go to Folder Option

If you want to access the Library folder only occasionally, you can use the Go to Folder option in Finder.

Open Finder or just click on the desktop. Head to Go > Go to Folder, or hit Cmd + Shift + G.


/Library in the Go to the folder box on the dialog box and click Go or press Enter.

If you have one or more Finder windows open, the Library folder opens in the currently active window. If no Finder windows are open, a new one opens to the Library folder.

Access the Library Folder Using the Terminal

If you prefer using the command line, you can access the Library folder using the Terminal.

Go to Utilities > Terminal in the Applications folder. To access the Library folder directly in the Terminal, type: cd

/Library at the prompt to switch to the Library folder.

You can type: ls at the prompt to get a detailed folder listing. You can work with the files in the Library folder directly on the command line. Just be careful.

You can also use the Terminal to open the Library folder in a Finder window. Type: open

/Library at the prompt and hit Enter.

Access the Hidden Library Menu Option in Finder

The Library folder is available on the Go menu in Finder, but it doesn’t show on the menu by default.

To temporarily show the Library option on the Go menu, open the menu and press the Option key. The Library folder shows up between Home and Computer on the Go menu. Keep the Option key pressed while you move your mouse down the menu and select Library.

If you’re using a Windows keyboard with your Mac, press the Alt key.

Show the Library Folder Permanently in Finder

If you access the Library folder often, you can permanently show the Library option on the Go menu and the Library folder in your Home folder.

Open Finder and head to your Home folder using the left pane or by pressing Cmd + Shift + H. Then, go to View > Show View Options, or hit Cmd + J.

A dialog box displays with options you can set for your Home folder. Check the Show Library Folder box at the bottom of the dialog box. The Library folder now shows up in your Home folder in Finder windows and the Library option becomes permanently available on the Go menu.

When you permanently show the Library folder in Finder, you can hit Cmd + Shift + L to open it in a Finder window, in addition to selecting the Library option on the Go menu.

Happy Tweaking, But Be Careful

The Library folder is hidden by default for a good reason. So, before tweaking settings and changing files in the Library folder, make sure you know what you’re doing.

Three Ways to Access the Library Folder on Your Mac

Learn how to open this important folder

Julien McRoberts / Getty Images

The Library folder contains many of the resources that installed applications need to use, including application preferences, application support documents, plug-in folders, and ever since OS X Lion, the files that describe the saved state of applications.

In recent versions of its operating system, your Mac has been hiding the Library folder. Here’s what it is and how to find it.

Instructions in this article apply to devices running Mac OS X Lion (10.7) and later.

The Library Folder and Troubleshooting Your Mac

The user’s Library has long been a go-to location for troubleshooting issues with individual applications or components shared by multiple applications. If you haven’t heard the refrain «Delete the application’s plist,» you either haven’t been using a Mac for very long, or you’ve been lucky enough not to experience an application behaving badly.

It’s not clear why Apple decided to hide the user’s Library folder, but you have multiple ways to get it back: two Apple provides (depending on the version of OS X you are using) and one in the underlying file system. The method you use depends on whether you want permanent access to the Library folder or only when you need to go there.

How to Make the Library Visible Permanently

Apple hides the Library folder by setting a file system flag associated with the folder. You can toggle the visibility flag for any folder on your Mac; Apple just chose to set the Library folder’s visibility flag to the off state by default. Here’s how to change it.

Launch Terminal, located in /Applications/Utilities.

Enter the following command at the Terminal prompt:

Press Return.

Once the command executes, you can quit Terminal. The Library folder will now be visible in the Finder.

Should you ever wish to set the Library folder back to its default hidden state in OS X or macOS, launch Terminal and issue the following Terminal command:

Press Return.

How to Unhide the Library Folder the Apple Way

You can access the hidden Library folder without using Terminal, which has the side effect of revealing every hidden file on your Mac. This method will only make the Library folder visible, and only for as long as you keep the Finder window for the Library folder open.

With either the desktop or a Finder window as the frontmost application, hold down the Option key and select the Go menu.

The Library folder will appear as one of the items in the Go menu.

Select Library, and a Finder window will open showing the contents of the Library folder.

If you close the Library folder’s Finder window, the folder will once again be hidden from view.

Access the Library the Easy Way (OS X Mavericks and later)

If you’re using OS X Mavericks or later, you have the easiest way of all to permanently access the hidden Library folder. This is the method we use, and we recommend it for anyone who wants permanent access and isn’t worried about accidentally modifying or deleting a file from the Library folder.

Open a Finder window and navigate to your Home folder.

From the Finder menu, click View > Show View Options.

The keyboard shortcut is Command+J.

Place a checkmark in the box labeled Show Library Folder.

cmake — find_library — custom library location

I’m currently trying to get CMake running for my project (on windows). I want to use a custom location where all libraries are installed. To inform CMake about that path I tried to do that:

But when I try to find the library with

CMake can’t find it. When I set my prefix path to

. the library is located.

So my question is: How can I configure CMake properly to work with a directory structore at a custom location which looks like that:

In «include» lie the public headers and in «lib» are the compiled libraries.

Hope someone can help me — Thanks in advance

edit: The current workaround for me is, to do this before i search for libraries:

But that way the default module for boost wont find it until it because the directory structore of boost is a bit different.

When I move the content if «boost-1_50» to «include» the library can be found but that way it’s not possible to handle multiple versions right?

6 Answers 6

The simplest solution may be to add HINTS to each find_* request.

For Boost I would strongly recommend using the FindBoost standard module and setting the BOOST_DIR variable to point to your Boost libraries.

I saw that two people put that question to their favorites so I will try to answer the solution which works for me: Instead of using find modules I’m writing configuration files for all libraries which are installed. Those files are extremly simple and can also be used to set non-standard variables. CMake will (at least on windows) search for those configuration files in

(which can be set through an environment variable). So for example the boost configuration is in the path

In that configuration you can set variables. My config file for boost looks like that:

Pretty straight forward + it’s possible to shrink the size of the config files even more when you write some helper functions. The only issue I have with this setup is that I havn’t found a way to give config files a priority over find modules — so you need to remove the find modules.

Hope this this is helpful for other people.

Access Your Hidden Library Folder With These Five Easy Tricks

The Mac OS is chock full of hidden areas where data, information, or features have been secreted away from Mac users. One of these clandestine locations is the users library folder, commonly written out as

What’s In Your Library?
Although hidden, the users library folder contains quite a lot of useful information. This is one of the places where apps tend to keep any necessary support files. It’s also a preferred location for preference files used by apps to customize their user interface to meet your needs.

/Library folder may also contain logs, preference panes, printers, screen savers, and fonts. Essentially, the users library folder can contain any application- or service-related information that is specific to a user. As an example, consider the Safari browser. It stores individual preference files in each user’s library folder. This allows each user to customize Safari independently of the others, without requiring multiple copies of the Safari app to be installed.

Why Hide the

/Library Folder?
The users library folder hasn’t always been hidden. It used to be just another folder in a user’s home directory, readily available from the Finder. That changed when Apple released OS X Lion, and the

/Library folder was banished from the Finder.

We don’t know Apple’s reason for removing the

/Library folder from sight, but we can guess: Apple support was tired of calls from users complaining about various apps no longer working, or acting strangely. In many cases, tech support was probably able to trace the problem to app support files in the users library folder being deleted or manipulated without authorization, so to speak.

/Library folder was an easy, and effective, solution.

How Is the Library Folder Hidden?
The file system used in the Mac OS supports various flags, which are ways to indicate special attributes of a file. One of these is the hidden flag. Set the hidden attribute to true on a file or folder, and it will no longer be displayed.

How to Unhide the

/Library Folder
If you set the hidden attribute to false for the

/Library folder, it will become visible in the Finder once again. It’s really that simple, at least in concept. Turns out there are many ways to regain access to the

/Library folder, so many in fact that we’ll only look at a few of the available methods to unhide the library folder.

(You can use the Terminal app to gain access to your hidden Library folder.)

Open in Terminal
The Terminal command “open” will open a file or folder in the default app. Since folders like the

/Library folder use the Finder as the default app to open them, you can use the open command as shown below:

Launch Terminal, located in the /Applications/Utilities/ folder.

At the Terminal prompt, enter:

Press return or enter.

A Finder window will open, containing the contents of the

Use the Go to Folder Command
The Finder includes a command that will open any folder on your Mac, provided you know the pathname to the directory.

(The Finder’s Go to Folder can take you to any folder anywhere on your Mac.)

Either open a Finder window, or click on the Desktop to make it the frontmost app.

From the Finder’s Go menu, select Go to Folder.

In the dialog box that opens, enter:

and then click the Go button.

/Library folder will open in a Finder window.

Just an Option-Click Away
With the Finder as the frontmost app, move the cursor to the Finder’s Go menu.

A list of common folders, such as Documents and Downloads, that you can quickly jump to will be displayed. If you hold down the Option key, the Library folder will be included in the list.

Select the Library folder from the list (while holding down the Option key), and the Library folder will open.

(If you hold down the Option key while accessing the Finder’s Go menu, the Library folder will appear as one of the destinations.)

Permanently Unhide the

/Library Folder
So far, the methods we’ve mentioned provide you with access to the hidden

/Library folder without actually making it visible; that is, changing the folder’s hidden flag. The next set of methods of accessing the folder do so by changing the

/Library folder’s hidden flag, thus making it visible all the time.

Use Terminal to Change the Hidden Flag State
Launch Terminal, located at /Applications/Utilities/.

At the Terminal prompt, enter the following:

Press enter or return.

/Library folder is now visible and will remain so until you set the hidden flag. You can check this by opening a Finder window on your home folder. You should see the Library folder listed.

(You can use Terminal to set or reset the hidden flag that controls the visibility of the

/Library folder, use the following Terminal command.

Press enter or return.

Note: If you had a Finder window open on your home folder, you may still see the Library folder listed. The Finder window needs to be refreshed to bring it up to date. One method is to simply close the Finder window, and then open it again.

Use the Finder’s View Options
Starting with OS X Mavericks, Apple included an option within the Finder app to make the

/Library folder always viewable. By default, the

/Library folder is still hidden, but you can change that setting by using the Finder’s View settings.

Open a Finder window on your home folder.

From the Finder’s View menu, select Show View Options.

In the View Options dialog box, place a checkmark in the Show Library Folder box. You’ll find the checkbox near the bottom of the dialog box.

As we noted previously, you may need to refresh the Finder window before the Library folder appears.

(You can use the Finder’s View options to make the Library folder visible.)

To return the Library folder to its previous hidden state, just remove the checkmark from the Show Library Folder box.

Ways to Access the

/Library Folder Without Changing Visibility
We think the ability to quickly access the

/Library folder is an important consideration, especially for troubleshooting app-related issues you may come across.

And while there’s nothing particularly onerous about any of the methods we’ve already described for gaining access to the

/Library folder, it just seems that having a simple and quick method that’s only a click away is a good idea.

/Library Folder to the Dock or the Finder Toolbar
Our last method for quickly going to the

/Library folder requires a slight bit of preparation, but once set up, it’s by far the easiest method for accessing the folder, mainly because there’s no typing or multistep process involved, just a simple click on an icon.

Start by opening the

/Library folder using any of the methods described above.

Open a Finder window to your home folder. You should see the Library folder listed in the Finder window.

(Want quick access to your Library folder? Simply add it to the Finder’s toolbar.)

Drag the Library folder icon to either the Finder toolbar or the Dock. If you’re dragging it to the Finder toolbar, you may need to hold down the Command key while you drag the icon. If you’re dragging the Library folder to the Dock, remember that folders have to be placed to the right of the Dock divider.

There Are Many More Ways to Access the

/Library Folder
We looked at five, six, or seven ways to access the

/Library folder. The actual number depends on your definition of access. It’s five if you only count unique ways; it’s six if you include the last entry, which is really just a means to simplify any of the previous methods (so, it’s not unique); or it’s seven if you count the last one as two different ways.

But even with the methods pointed out here, there are still other ways you can access the hidden

/Library folder. If you would like to help fill in all the methods, leave a comment that includes instructions. I think we should be able to come up with at least five additional methods; ten if we’re feeling a bit creative.

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I accessed the Library folder with the “Option >Go+Click”, in my User folder, then dragged the Library folder to the sidebar & placed it under the “Applications” folder. I’m using Mac OS Mojave on a 2018 Mac Mini, and it was easy peasy.

The widow shown in the example above does not appear in Yosemite
However, I was able;e to display the library folder by requesting int in the GO to folder command box in the Go pulldown menu. It opens they library window, evidently complete.
Then under the File menu it allows the folder to be added to the sidebar list.

Using El Capitan 10.11.6, I had no problem directly accessing Library. It did require using the option key when selecting GO, not just using the second mouse button. It did not matter that it was in Column or List view as others have said.

Show View Options does not work in column view and in any case it shows the enclosing folder instead of the selected folder. I guess that is a macOS bug.

Thank you for this. It works even in Canada!

Thank you it helped a lot have been trying to find the hidden links library

The “Show Library Folder” is not visible in my OS Sierra v 10.12.3

Can you be more specific? Which of the Terminal commands is causing an issue in Yosemite? I’ve gone through all of the Terminal tricks in this article while using the Yosemite operating system and have not had an issue.

For the “Show Library Folder” option to appear in the Finder’s Show View Options menu, you have to first make sure the Finder window is displaying the contents of your home folder.

If you open a Finder window on any other directory, or you access the Show View Options item from the Desktop, you will not see the Show Library Folder option because the Library folder is not located in the directory you are viewing.

Does not have that option in El Capitan:

In the View Options dialog box, place a checkmark in the Show Library Folder box. You’ll find the checkbox near the bottom of the dialog box.

The Terminal technique doesn’t apply in Yosemite–the list of options is not there.

Can you be more specific? Which of the Terminal commands is causing an issue in Yosemite? I’ve gone through all of the Terminal tricks in this article while using the Yosemite operating system and have not had an issue.

Is there any way in the terminal (for example, an option on the ls command) to view the setting of the hidden flag?

You can use the ls command with the following switch -aOl. This will display the list in long format which includes the permission set, file owner, and extended attributes. You should see the word hidden after the file owner is the file is hidden.

Thank you. This is very useful. I have discovered that this displays other “secret” flags like “compressed.”

Thank you, thank you.

I had actually asked Apple Technical Support how to unhide the Library folder, and they were either unable or unwilling to tell me.

Open “Cocktail.” Select the “Interface” menu item. Select “Finder.” Check the “Show user Library directory” box. This is a permanent enable; probably sets the “no hidden” flag.

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