Is it possible to open the /dev/ directory in Finder? If not why? Is it on some kind of exclude list?

I would like to use a GUI to list the files there on macOS Catalina.

Is this possible?


Looking at what Finder (1) does using Hopper reveals that there are indeed hard-coded exclusion paths, and it rewrites paths starting with /dev/ to /.

enter image description here

You can verify this by pressing Command+Shift+G and entering a path starting with /dev/ -- i.e. /dev/foo. You'll be presented with /.

(1) Located at /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/MacOS/Finder.

  • 4
    Please add why it doesn't make much sense to open this "folder" with the Finder (or ForkLift)! 😉 Mac OS X for Unix Geeks: The /dev Directory, Understanding the /dev directory
    – klanomath
    Apr 12 '20 at 13:27
  • Spotlight is hands off here as well - mdls returns no results for that folder. Perhaps not fans of the ouroboros?
    – bmike
    Apr 12 '20 at 13:50
  • 5
    God, that's so cool that you can just open up the binary like that, I need to learn how to use Hopper. How easy would it be for you to export a modified binary without those exclusions? Apr 13 '20 at 4:12
  • @Wowfunhappy The system almost certainly won't run a Finder that's not signed by Apple, so you'd have to disable those security measures. You can still access /dev and /private using Terminal.
    – Barmar
    Apr 13 '20 at 15:30
  • @19h I can't find this in Hopper. Do you remember how you located it? Dec 1 '20 at 1:01

It’s not clear if Finder has a special case to avoid this folder, but no - it doesn't want to show that folder.

Normally, I would try the go to functionality using a key shortcut of shift-command-G (or use the pointer and the go menu of Finder) and type in /dev

How to change path in Finder by entering the path manually?

Now, most unix directories are hidden, so toggle hidden files with shift-command-. (period) and you will see it's notably absent.

I’ll keep poking at this, but for now, my Catalina Macs don’t want to show you this in Finder.

A possible solution is to use ForkLift.

  • Make sure to grant it full disk access in system preferences for this app when it asks or after you run it once.
  • Make sure it's showing hidden files
  • /dev shows up like a mounted drive at the root directory
  • 1
    I get: "The folder can't be found." imgur.com/a/4eLsdpk
    – Tom
    Apr 12 '20 at 12:16
  • 4
    Any user has permission to browse /dev, a lot of things wouldn't work otherwise on a Unix system.
    – nohillside
    Apr 12 '20 at 12:21
  • 5
    Yeah - I wonder if ForkLift or another finder replacement is needed .... I was totally wrong on the yes and the Unix permissions
    – bmike
    Apr 12 '20 at 12:25
  • 4
    @bmike Indeed. Using ForkLift you can view it. Wow. Not really a solution, since I won't be switching, but thanks for the tip!
    – Tom
    Apr 12 '20 at 12:28
  • 3
    @Tom Thanks for the great question, I learned finder has blind spots that don't make sense overall in the generic permissions model. Some people will learn about hidden files through this - sounds like you had a deeper question than I suspected at first.
    – bmike
    Apr 12 '20 at 12:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .