Private Folders Mac: How to Access Your Important Files

The private folders Mac has are given restricted access to users because they hold libraries, backend directories, and files that facilitate the smooth running of the operating system.

Private Folders Mac

If you tamper with these files, something could go wrong with your Mac. This post will tell you how to access private/var folder on Mac easily!

How to Access Private Folders on Mac?

To access private folders or hidden files on Mac, go to Finder, click on Location, and go to your hard drive. Launch the Macintosh HD folder and press Command + Shift + Period (.) to make the hidden files visible on your Mac.

You can repeat the same procedure within Desktop folders, Applications, and Documents. Here’s the detailed procedure of how to unhide folder in Mac:

– Locate Finder

When your Mac finishes the starting up process, you first see Finder. This tool will open automatically as you use other Mac apps. Finder has a menu bar at the top and a desktop beneath it. You can quickly find files and folders via icons and windows.

Locate Finder

If your Mac machine is already on, go to Finder, clicking the desktop or the Finder icon in the Dock. This will reveal Finder windows that might be hidden behind other apps.

– Find Your Hard Disk Drive

Your hidden files are on your Mac’s hard disk, so it would be best if you located it via Finder.

To use this approach, you should have made your hard disk drive visible in Find. If you did not, you could do so using the steps below:

  • Go to the Menu bar and find “Finder.” Click “Preferences” and go to the “General” tab once the Finder preferences window pops up on your Mac screen.
  • Check the box adjacent to “Hard Disk” — this makes it visible to the desktop.
  • Go to the “Sidebar” tab and find “Devices.” Check Hard Disk to put it on Finder windows. Add it to the “Save,” “Open,” and “Save As…” dialog sheets.

Go to locations, click on your hard disk, and launch the Macintosh HD folder. Again, it will only work if you have made Macintosh HD available in Finder. Launch Finder windows>Menu bar> Preferences and click on the Sidebar to do so. Tick “Hard disks,” and it will appear in “Devices” in the Finder sidebar under “Devices.”

– Press Cmd + Shift + Period

The Command + Shift + Period (.) keys in the Finder let you view hidden files and folders. These files are in the Home directory and are usually hidden from view. Different macOS apps and technologies store their data in these files and folders for the smooth operation of your Mac.

Press Cmd Shift Period

Anything the Mac does not want you to delete or alter will be grayed out. Nevertheless, you can still see what is inside. You can also access the ~/Library folder from Finder’s top menu.

You can check all shortcuts for accessing various folders on your hard disk by clicking Go. But if you hold down the Options key, a new Library option without a visible shortcut appears. Select the Library to view the content of the ~/Library folder. After this, press Command + Shift +. (Period) to make the folders invisible again.

How To Find Private/Var/Folders/Zz on Your Mac?

The quickest way to find /private/var/folders/zz on your Mac is through the Finder. Go to Folder menu. Press Command + Shift + G to launch the Go to Folder box and enter /private/var/folders. This will bring up a new Finder tab immediately.

You can check out the temporary and cached files in the Terminal, so launch the Terminal window and type open $TMPDIR. This will open a two-character folder name with long, random subfolder names. Concentrate on the following three folders when you navigate the folder:

  • C folder – Cache
  • T folder – Temporary files
  • 0 folder – holds user files

Remember, macOS creates many users and system-related cache files to speed up processes within the system. You can manipulate the temporary and cache data in the in /Library/Caches.

This begs the question: Can I delete var folder Mac? Yes. You can delete the cache without any third-party tools because this data is under your control.

However, all the files in the system folder are under macOS. These are hidden folders and files, which may take up vast amounts of disk space. This can be a concern, especially when they consume more than 10GB of disk space. So, should you delete these files?

You should not manually delete files from /private/var directories, regardless of their size. Deleting the files might damage the core macOS files and prevent your Mac from booting up or may corrupt files. 

But you can safely remove the files by triggering the built-in cache-clearing mechanism. The mechanism deletes all necessary caches, contents, and temporary items in the /tmp, /private/var, and /private/var/folders.

– Use Terminal to Find Hidden Files

You can use the Terminal app in macOS to locate hidden files. The Terminal command is text-based access to Mac’s operating system.

Use Terminal to Find Hidden Files

Access Terminal by:

  1. Clicking on the Launchpad icon in the Dock and typing Terminal in the search field.
  2. Click Terminal on it when it pops up.
  3. Go to Finder and open the /Applications/Utilities folder. Double-click Terminal.

Alternatively, you can launch it via Spotlight (Cmd + Space) or Applications > Utilities. Enter the command below:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES

Press enter to execute the file. Note that you can use “TRUE” instead of “YES.”

Afterward, type the command:

killall Finder

Press the Return key on your keyboard, and you will see files, folders, and temporary files hidden on your Mac.

How To Hide a Folder or a File on Mac

To hide a folder or a file on Mac, use Terminal, keyboard shortcuts, or activate FileVault. You can easily hide a file or folder on Mac using several tools available on Mac or powerful third-party tools. Each method has a different approach, thus the steps will differ.

With that being said, here is how to hide a folder on Mac

– Terminal 

Mac Terminal allows you to manipulate functions not offered by macOS, including hiding files. Here is how to hide files using Terminal. 

  1. Launch Terminal on your Mac and paste “chflags hidden.” Add space at the end but don’t press the enter button. 
  2. Drag the folder or file you wish to hide into the Terminal window and press Enter on your keyboard. 

The file will no longer be viewable in its previous Location — it will appear as dimmed items. 

Using another command, you can also hide folders and files previously hidden on your Mac. Enter the command below and press enter:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles FALSE

Also, enter the command killall Finder and press Enter. 

The action above will tuck away a file that you had previously hidden. 

– Keyboard Shortcuts

You can use keyboard commands and shortcuts to hide away all the files you do not want visible to everyone by following the steps below:

Keyboard Shortcuts

  1. Find the file you wish to hide. You can quickly locate it via Finder. 
  2. Press Shift+CMD+Period (.) simultaneously on your keyboard. This step will automatically hide the file. Note that you can use the same method to get the file you had previously hidden. 

When using Terminal, relaunch Finder to see if the changes were successful — this is particularly important when you don’t see the changes immediately. However, this method only works for the latest macOS version. 

– Activate FileVault

FileVault restricts access to your hard disk drive on your Mac computer unless you have the access password. This is the best tool to keep prying eyes away from some files and folders. Here is how to use it:

  1. Find and click the Apple icon on the far left corner of your Mac.
  2. Go to System Preference, and on the drop-down menu, select Security & Privacy.
  3. Click on the FileVault tab next to the general tab. Turn it on by clicking the padlock and logging in with your details. 
  4. Select a recovery method – iCloud option or generate a local key. 
  5. Select Continue to allow the setup process to complete. 

The process of hiding your files might take a while, depending on the size of the files to hide.


Mac allows you to hide your files and folders within the system and hard disk, and we’ve shown you how to do it here.

Here are some valuable highlights:

  • You can hide folders and files on your Mac using Terminal, Finder, or keystroke shortcuts.
  • Hiding a folder does not hide the files within the folder by default, so you should hide each file.
  • Relaunch Finder or Terminal to check whether your changes are registered.
  • Do not tamper with or manipulate a hidden file or folder in Mac as it may contain system information.

Follow the steps above to hide or reveal folders that you previously hid. 

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