Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
Got an Apple, Mac, or iOS tech question? We have the answer. In our inaugural online installment of Ask, we explore why downloaded Mac files might not show up in the Finder.
Question: I accidentally downloaded three video files to my desktop, each with an mp4 extension that are roughly 2.1GB. These files do not show up on my Desktop and therefore are not giving me the option to delete them. They are nowhere to be found in the Finder. What is strange is that I can open VLC player and play them from where I initially played them when I first downloaded them. Can you help?
Answer: It's entirely possible that the file you downloaded included a "." in front of the name. Any files like this are considered "invisible" on Unix-based systems, and will therefore not be visible to you in the Finder. If this is the case, then you should be able to find and delete the file in the Finder after enabling the ability for the Finder to show invisible files. To do so, open the Terminal (located in /Applications/Utilities), and type the following command followed by the enter key:
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
Then, restart the Finder by typing the following command:
Through a Terminal command, you can easily enable the ability for the Finder to show hidden files.
After restarting the Finder, you will see all hidden files—they’ll be colored grey and contain a dot in front of the name. You can delete them just like any other file, but be careful not to delete any files that you don't recognize, as some hidden files control the way Folders are configured.
When you are done hunting down the hidden file, you can easily revert the Finder to the original state (not showing hidden files) by following the same Terminal steps above, replacing "TRUE" in the first command with "FALSE".
Invisible files that appear in the Finder will show up as light gray text. Only remove the files you recognize.
Ask is written by Cory Bohon, a freelance technology writer, indie Mac and iOS developer, and amateur photographer.
Got a tech question? Email email@example.com.