Showing the User Library on macOS

It’s not super obvious, but macOS actually has 3 Library folders:

  • /Library
  • System/Library
  • Users/<YOUR USERNAME>/Library or ~/Library

The last Library is know as the user library, and is where your user customizations will be stored. For instance application data and preferences, and also data and preferences unique to your user account. Your Safari browser cookies and cache is a great example of this. Normally you don’t really want to dig around in the user library (or any of the Libraries really), but sometimes there is good reason. For example, you want to completely uninstall an app, and also want to remove all preferences and data for that app. The User Library is likely where you will find all those things. I’ll quickly outline 4 simple methods to show the User Library.

1. Temporarily showing the User Library with the Finder

This is a nice quick solution for those times where you don’t want the User Library showing at all times, but quickly need to access a single file or folder. ITs useful for quickly resetting an app by perhaps deleting its preferences plist file.

  • Open the Finder
  • Select the Go menu
  • Hold down the Option key The User Library will show in the menu, and you can select it to open a new Finder window. When you close this window, the User Library will once again be hidden.

Temporarily Showing the User Library Temporarily Showing the User Library

2. Showing the User Library via the Finder

This is probably the easiest solution for most people to permanently show the User Library.

  • Open the Finder
  • Open to the Home folder by selecting the Go menu and highlighting Home

Open the Home folder Open the Home folder

  • Now select the View menu, and highlight the Show View Options menu

Highlight the Show View Options menu Highlight the Show View Options menu

  • Check the option Show User Library

Check the option Show User Library Check the option Show User Library

You can easily hide the User Library by un-checking the Show User Library checkbox. *This solution requires that you first navigate to the Home folder.

3. Showing the User Library with Terminal.app

This is a quick reversible solution for those that are familiar with the Terminal.

  • Open Terminal.app
  • type in the following command, and press enter:
chflags nohidden ~/Library

To hide the User library, user the following command:

chflags hidden ~/Library

4. Showing the User Library with a third party app

This may be an option to simplify the process for those who frequently like to toggle the visibility of the User Library along with other interesting system ‘hacks’.

Conclusion

There are many ways to tackle the issue of showing the User Library on macOS, use the option which best fits your workflow. 👍