How to find hidden files on your phone or computer

Your phone and Computers hold more than you think. The files that you can see by default in Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS are by no means all that is stored on that system.

These hidden files are typically used by the operating system and the applications you run to store that you don’t normally need access to – in fact, data that can interfere with the smooth running of your device if it is edited incorrectly or deleted.

User settings and app configurations are often saved as hidden files, for example. These files are needed to run programs, but users do not need access to them. Hidden file caches are also common, temporary storage of data to speed up software operations.

This guide then comes with a caveat – you edit or delete hidden files from your device at your own risk and you don’t really have to deal with these files.

They can be useful for troubleshooting your phone or laptop, or trying to figure out exactly where all your digital storage space is. Here’s how to make these files visible.


Some Windows files are more hidden than others.

Screenshot: David Neeld via Microsoft

You can see hidden files in Windows by opening a file explorer window, you can switch to See Tabs on the ribbon bar, and checking Hidden items Box Windows will remember your choice until you uncheck the box again, even if you close File Explorer or reboot your computer.

Hidden files and folders appear in File Explorer with slightly faded thumbnails, so they’re easy to see at a glance, and once you see them, they’ll also appear in searches. To hide a file, or to hide a file, right-click and select Features And General: You will see Secret Check box below.

There is another category of hidden files in Windows: even Hidden items Checked in the box, Windows still keeps the original operating system files out of sight so they can’t be torn. To view these files, from See Click on the File Explorer tab Options, Open See Tab, and uncheck Hide protected operating system files (recommended) In the box Advanced settings.

Mac operating system

You can go to the MacOS Library folder hidden from Finder.

Screenshot: David Neeld via Apple

The easiest way to view hidden files on a computer running MacOS is to use the Finder app. Open it, then use the keyboard shortcut Cmd + Shift +. (This is the period key) to hide (or hide them again) files and folders. The setting stays the same until you change it (across reboots and so on).

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