When fixing problems on a Mac, sometimes you need to roll up your sleeves and directly modify system settings files in your Library folder. Apple hides the Library folder by default, so it can be tough to locate. Here’s how to find it.

Be Careful in Your Library Folder

Apple hides the Library folder for a good reason: It contains essential configuration files for both macOS and your applications. If you accidentally delete or modify those files, you might cause problems serious with your system. So, before you dive into Library, make sure you have a current Time Machine backup and a plan for what you’ll be doing.

It’s also a good idea to keep a backup copy of files you will be moving or replacing in the Library folder. For example, if you plan to  overwrite a file called “email.plist,” you should rename the existing file “email.plist.old” first. If something goes wrong with your replacement, you can delete it and restore the previous file by renaming it back to “email.plist.”

Method 1: Use the Go Menu

In Finder, when you click on the Go menu at the top of the screen, “Library” usually isn’t present on the list. But if you hold down the Option key when you click “Go,” “Library” will appear.

From there, you can click on the “Library” option, and you will be taken directly to your Library folder.

Method 2: “Go To” Your Library Folder Directly

Alternately, if you like making things slightly more complicated, you can also visit your Library folder by switching to Finder and selecting Go > Go to Folder in the menu bar.

In the text box that pops up, enter “~/Library” and hit “Go.”

Go to the Library folder directly on a Mac

Just like that, you’ll be taken directly to your Library folder.

Method 3: A Keyboard Shortcut that Shows Hidden Files

If you are browsing your user account’s home folder in Finder and Library is hidden, press Command+Shift+. (that’s a period) on the keyboard. All the hidden files in the folder will appear as translucent icons, including the Library folder.

From there, you can double-click the Library folder icon to open it.

See hidden files with a keyboard shortcut on Mac

If you want to hide the Library folder again, just hit Command+Shift+. and the hidden files will disappear as quickly as they came.

How to Make the Library Folder Always Visible in macOS

If you access the Library folder frequently and would just like to always be able to view it, there’s an option for that as well. To see it, open a Finder window and navigate to View > Show View Options in the menu bar at the top of the screen. Or you can hit Command+J.

In the small window that pops up, locate the option that says “Show Library Folder” and check the box beside it.

Show View Options in Finder to View Library Folder on Mac

After that, the Library will always appear both in your Home folder and in Finder’s Go menu. Be careful and good luck!

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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