I have been told that the Go To Folder option in OS X contain many crucial system files.

What exactly is the Go To Folder command within Finder and would it be therefore advantageous to disable it, to prevent access from other people (or indeed one's self).

Additionally if it was disabled, could it easily be re-enabled for technical support etc (with all crucial system files left untouched).

1 Answer 1


In the Go menu of Finder, there is an option titled Go to Folder… with the keyboard shortcut ⇧ shift+⌘ cmd+G. This will prompt the user to enter a folder path and it allows Unix conventions (like using ~ to refer to one's home directory; for example ~/Documents refers to the Documents folder under your home folder). You can also type part of the file or folder name and hit Tab for autocompletion of the name.

Note that you can go to any folder using this option (including your own folders for documents, music, downloads, movies and so on), not just system files or folders.

Although OS X, starting with OS X Lion 10.7, started hiding important folders like ~/Library (the Library folder under one's home directory), the file/folder permissions system in OS X ensures that unless a user has an administrator account name and password, they cannot damage anything beyond what's within their own home folder (and the contents within it).

Even if you disable this command, a user can still view system folders like /System, /Library, etc. (although the user won't be able to modify or delete anything there without administrator access/credentials). The user can also open up Terminal.app and navigate through directories that Finder does not show and cause damage to ~/Library.

If you still wish to disable it and remove this option in Finder:

  1. Open Terminal.app (from /Applications/Utilities)

  2. Type the command:

    defaults write com.apple.finder ProhibitGoToFolder -bool true && killall -HUP Finder

    To enable it again, use the command (replacing true with false from the previous command):

    defaults write com.apple.finder ProhibitGoToFolder -bool false && killall -HUP Finder

In conclusion, I'd suggest not to worry too much about it.

Instead, the following may help better:

  • Keep the administrative account separate from normal user accounts
  • Ensure that user accounts are only shared with trusted people (or preferably, have one user account for each real user)
  • Share the administrator credentials only with trusted users

Removing the option is more like Security through obscurity, and is not really a fool proof way to protect the system.

  • 1
    Cmd shift 8 also supports tab completion. Sep 27, 2013 at 18:31
  • Thanks for mentioning tab autocompletion. I've added that in the answer.
    – M K
    Sep 27, 2013 at 18:39
  • Note that you can use the shortcut ⇧ shift+⌘ cmd+G when you are in a "save as" dialog, which can help save a huge amount of time (clicking around directories & avoid potential mistakes)
    – Adrien Be
    Mar 25, 2015 at 9:28

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