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Mac 101: Easily show the user Library folder in Lion


More Mac 101, tips and tricks for novice Mac users.

Those of you who've explored your Finder a little bit in OS X 10.6 or prior might have noticed a folder in your user folder called "Library." The Library folder houses all sorts of files needed to keep your user account running smoothly. Many of these files are created automatically by apps on your Mac -- like preferences and settings on how you want a certain app to look or run. Other files inside the Library folder include screen savers and widgets and, well, a ton of things you'll never need to worry about but are pretty much essential to having a healthy Mac.

In OS X 10.7 Lion Apple decided to hide the user's Library folder (although not the root Library folder on the top level of the hard drive). The primary reason Apple did this is so users couldn't easily go into the folder and delete important files needed by apps or OS X itself. This became all the more important after Apple introduced the Mac App Store. Files inside the Library folder allow you to delete an app, then re-download it at a later date while retaining all the settings it had the last time it was on your Mac.

If you want to see the contents of the Library folder, there are actually several ways to do it; for simplicity's sake, we're going to show you the easiest, non-techie way, courtesy of the folks at CreativeBits:

  1. In the Finder, select the Go menu from the menu bar at the top of your screen. You'll notice a list of folders across your system such as Desktop, Downloads, Home, etc.
  2. While the Go menu is displayed, hold down the option key on your keyboard. Like magic, the Library folder will appear between the Home and Computer folders. Click on it to open a Finder window displaying all of the files inside your Library folder.

Again, if you're not too familiar with the contents of the Library folder it's best to leave what's in there alone. However, it doesn't hurt to explore the folder and see how some essential files are arranged and stored on your system.

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