Category: Apple (Page 1 of 3)

Mac OS X tips…show and hide hidden files


As in Windows, by default MacOS doesn’t show hidden files, but unlike Windows that has a straight forward ‘Hidden Items’ option in the File Explorer View ribbon menu, MacOS doesn’t make it easy to toggle hidden files view on and off.

To do so you need to run a Terminal command.

Terminal Commands

From Applications > Utilities folder launch Terminal 

To show hidden files, enter following which will show hidden files then restart Finder:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -boolean true ; killall Finder

To hide hidden files, enter following to revert to hiding hidden files then restart Finder:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -boolean false ; killall Finder

Create aliases for Terminal commands

If you don’t want to remember the above commands, you can easily create a Terminal alias

This is a direct lift from Ian Lunn’s blog. Ian explains the procedure and what commands are used to create a Terminal alias replacing the command lines above with easy to remember ‘showFiles‘, ‘hideFiles‘ commands:

  • From Applications > Utilities folder launch Terminal
  • In Terminal, enter sudo nano ~/.bash_profile and hit Return
  • Enter your Mac’s administration password if required, then hit Return
  • At the bottom of the open .bash_profile file, enter two new lines:
alias showFiles='defaults write ~AppleShowAllFiles YES; killall Finder /System/Library/~CoreServices/'
alias hideFiles='defaults write ~AppleShowAllFiles NO; killall Finder /System/Library/~CoreServices/'
  • Press Ctrl+O and hit Return to save the file
  • Press Ctrl+X to exit the file and return to the command line
  • In Terminal, enter source ~/.bash_profile hit Return – this will refresh your profile and make the aliases available

Now when you want to show hidden files, all you need to do is open Terminal and enter showFiles. Enter hideFiles to revert to default and hide them

Creating Finder context menu item

To expand on this, Bert van Langen’s blog explains how you can use Automator with the commands outlined above to create a new Finder context menu item allowing you to toggle hidden files on and off directly from Finder:

  • From Applications folder launch Automator
  • Select Service as template type and click the Choose

  • In actions list, click Run Shell Script and drag it to the workflow pane. (Filter actions list by selecting Utilities from Library, or use the search menu)
  • At the top of the workflow pane set Service receives selected to files or folders and set in to Finder
  • Enter following into the Run Shell Script (replacing anything already there)
# Script to toggle hide/unhide hidden files in the Finder application.
# Author : Bert van Langen
# Created : 21 December 2014
STATUS='defaults read AppleShowAllFiles'
if [ $STATUS == 1 ]
defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -boolean false
defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -boolean true
killall Finder
  • From File menu, select Save and then give the service a name – the name you select will appear as the menu item – e.g. Toggle Hidden Files. (Will be saved to /Users/Yourlogon/Library/Services)
  • Quit Automator

When you bring up the right-click context menu in Finder you will now see the new item Toggle Hidden Files which will execute the script to show/hide hidden files and restart Finder.


Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks upgrade fail: OS X can’t be installed on the disk because a recovery system can’t be created.

The Mavericks upgrade didn’t go smoothly for me last week. Instead of an automated download and install I got an installation failure message

“Install Failed: OS X could not be installed on your computer. OS X can’t be installed on the disk because a recovery system can’t be created. Visit to learn more”

Looks like it’s to do with how Mavericks deals with Recovery Partition and for whatever reason my MacBook Pro wasn’t configured as the Mavericks installer expected.

Here’s what I had to do to fix it.

Note: If you want to give it a try, ensure that you have everything backed up beforehand – making changes to drive formats and partitions has the potential to go catastrophically wrong and I wouldn’t want you to lose any data.

1) Download Mavericks and make a boot USB.

Not absolutely necessary but considering Mavericks 5.29Gb size you may as well take the opportunity of creating a boot drive in case you need it.


i) Download the Mavericks update file – don’t reboot

ii) Format USB drive as Mac OS Extended (Journaled), leaving the name as ‘Untitled’

iii) Open Terminal and enter

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ –nointeraction

2) Remove your systems Recovery Partition and extend the Boot Partition


i) Get the recover partition identifier. Open Terminal and enter:

diskutil list

ii) Remove the recovery partition. In Terminal enter following (using appropriate disk identifier from previous step):

Diskutil eraseVolume HFS+ ErasedDisk /dev/disk0s4

iii) Extend the boot partition. In Terminal enter following (using appropriate identifiers)

diskutil mergePartitions HFS+ MacHD disk0s3 disk0s4

3) Reboot your Mac from the USB drive and carry out the upgrade

Even then it wasn’t 100% flawless. The Mac booted to USB carried out upgrade ok but when complete it didn’t automatically reboot so needed a manual restart.

And when it finished Mavericks went through the process of creating a new user account rather than using what was already there and letting me logon to the saved profile. Fortunately I was able to log off and then on again using the previous account. (From which I could delete the new, unwanted one).


Apple’s iWork, iPhoto & iMovie free with all iOS 7 devices

iPhone5S_launchOther than the new finger print scanner, everything else launched by Apple on Tuesday seemed to be the usual interim ‘S’ model

component upgrades. Even the ‘new’ iPhone 5C is essentially just the iPhone 5 in new pyjamas.

Along with the usual facts and figures on sales and usage we had another walk through of iOS7 and detail on some of the hardware upgrades for the latest and greatest iPhone.
However, the significant revelation as far as I could see was the announcement that the mobile iOS versions of Apple’s iWork suite – Numbers, Pages and Keynote – along with iPhoto and iMovie, would be available for free for all new iOS 7 device purchases.


Where previously each of these would be separate purchases totalling about £27, Apple are now going to give them away.

A quick look at the App Store Top Paid App listings shows that these are pretty popular apps which have no doubt made Apple a fortune in their own right since launching a couple of years ago, so why decide to give them away now?

Apple certainly aren’t short of $’s in the bank so it seems a good move to make (what in their words is) the most tablet popular productivity suite available for free with the hope that users will be tempted from waiting for Microsoft’s Office suite to be released for the Windows 8 based tablets.

iWork_Free_1It certainly looks like Microsoft are pinning their hopes on the familiarity of Office being the killer app for their Surface devices thereby providing them the kick start needed to take off and compete with Apple and Samsung in the tablet space as well as to supposedly get traction in the business area with better integration with enterprise systems.

When Apple start to have iWork deployed to all iPads sold with iOS 7 they’ll have the opportunity of getting these applications in front of millions of users who likely have never tried anything other than Office. Apple can then demonstrate how good these apps are on iOS and from there temp people to try them on a nice shiny new Mac.

Of course making iWork available through iCloud along with existing online document storage features can only improve the overall experience and further draw the user into the Apple ecosystem.

It’s often quoted that Apple are a hardware company and not about software, and this sort of strategy would seem to support that. The software side of things is about drawing the customer into the whole Apple experience and to purchase multiple (high profit margin) devices. And with Apple’s cloud services set to be expanding further with iWork and iRadio it makes sense to demonstrate further added value by making the rest of Apple’s iOS offerings available for free.

More iWork users = more Mac and iOS device buyers while at the same time the added benefit of undermining Microsoft’s tablet adoption supported by Office.



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