How to Find Hidden Files on Your Phone or Computer

Your phones and computers hold more than you can figure out. The files you can view by default on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS are never all stored on those systems.

These hidden files are commonly used by the operating system and the applications you run to store data that you don’t need to go through-in fact, data that can interfere with the smooth operation of your device if it’s edited. incorrectly or deleted.

User settings and app configurations are always stored as hidden files, for example. Programs need these files to run, but users never need to access them. Hidden file caches are also often, temporary stores of data to facilitate software operation.

This instruction has delivered a warning before-you edit or delete hidden files from your devices at your own risk, and you never have to do anything with these files.

Watching them can be useful, however, in terms of troubleshooting problems you may have with your phone or laptop, or for trying to work out exactly where all your digital storage is. space. Here’s how to find these files.


Some Windows files are more hidden than others.

Screenshot: David Nield by Microsoft

You can find hidden Windows files by opening a File Explorer window, moving to behold tab on the ribbon bar, and check Hidden objects 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 to be somewhat missing File Explorer thumbnails, so they’re easy to find at a glance, and they’re also visible in searches when you show them. To hide a file, or to not open a file, right-click it and select Properties and Overall: You can see the hiding check box below.

There is another category of hidden file in Windows: Even Hidden objects checked the box, Windows kept the main operating files invisible so that it could not be corrupted. To view these files, from behold tab by clicking on File Explorer Options, open the behold tab, and uncheck the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) box in Advanced settings.


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

Screenshot: David Nield via Apple

The easiest way to find hidden files on computers running macOS is to use the Finder app. Open it, then use the keyboard shortcut Cmd + Shift +. (That’s the key to time) to not hide files and folders (or to hide them again). The setting stays in place until you update it (via reboots and so on).

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