CD Tobie: User Library Invisibility under Mac OS X Lion and Mountain Lion
Oct 2012 04

Apple made a rather confusing change with OS X 10.7, and now 10.8. Your User Library folder is now invisible. Its tempting to end the last sentence with an exclamation point, as this is very disturbing to long time Mac users, who get into that folder to find, add, or delete various types of files. For instance, the list of ICC profiles for your displays, or printer profiles for your printer would be in the Profiles folder within the ColorSync folder in your User Library folder.

Its easy enough to understand why Apple would make this change; its part of the ongoing movement to make the Mac more like iOS, more foolproof, and less daunting to new users. However this type of move does not suit the needs of existing users, ones that Apple would probably deem “power users”.

Fortunately, it’s possible to make your invisible User Library folder visible again, with a Terminal command. Unfortunately using the Terminal truly is in the domain of power users. But the step-by-step directions below will safely (and almost simply) tell your Mac to make your User Library visible again, and allow you to continue business-as-usual, including accessing your Library folder as necessary.

First, locate the Terminal Utility on your hard drive in Applications > Utilities > Terminal. Double click on Terminal to launch it. It will open a rather uninformative window. Into that window paste the following text:

chflags nohidden ~/Library/

Then hit “Enter”. This may be as close to programming as some Mac users ever get. Take a look in your User folder again, and see if there is now a visible folder named “Library” at: Users > Your User Name > Library. If so, you are in business. If not, you may need to make another attempt to get Terminal to accept your command.

C. DAVID TOBIE has been involved in color management and digital imaging from their early development. David has worked to see affordable solutions put in place for graphic design, prepress, photography and digital imaging, and then taught users how best to utilize them. He has consulted internationally for a wide range of color-related companies, and is best known by photographers for his writing and technical editing of texts and periodicals for the photo industry such as Mastering Digital Printing, and Professional Photographer magazine, and his seminars on color and imaging at photographic workshop around the globe. David is currently Global Product Technology Manager at Datacolor, where he develops new products and features for their Spyder line of calibration tools. His work has received a long line of digital imaging product awards including the coveted TIPA award, and a nomination for the Spyder line of calibration tools. Much of David’s recent writing can be found at his photography blog:, and his samples of his photography can be seen at: