I want to restore the hidden user Library folder from Time Machine but I am unable to see it when I enter Time Machine. Read on.

I thought the hidden Library folder would appear if I used the Terminal command to either reveal the hidden Library folder AND/OR to show all hidden files and folders. Both commands work outside of Time Machine but they don't show any hidden files or folders when I am in Time Machine space.

Is it possible to see and/or restore the hidden Library folder in Time Machine?

I appreciate any help? I'm stuck.

P.S. I am using 10.8.1 if that is helpful to know. And the Time Machine backup that I am trying to restore my Library folder from was from my previous hard drive in which I was also running 10.8.1. I switched to a new hard drive.

  • Which Terminal Commands have you used?
    – Thecafremo
    Aug 29, 2012 at 21:11
  • In Terminal you can open any location by typing open /Users/username/Library and start TimeMachine from there. May 18, 2015 at 8:48

4 Answers 4


If you use the Finder's menu "goto" while holding down the Alt, the library folder is visible in the menu:

Finder with Library Folder in Goto Menu

Select it. The finder shows the content of /Users/<your name>/Library. Now start Time Machine by clicking on its icon in the dock – violà, you have what you want:

Time Machine showing User Library folder

When you want to access another invisible folder that is not listed in the 'Go' list in Finder you can go to the same folder and choose for 'Go to Folder' or CommandShiftG. Here you can type in any location you want to goto.

Go to Folder

  • vilmoskörte I want to kiss you right now. I used your advice and it worked! Thank you!
    – user68516
    Jan 24, 2014 at 20:57

You can use bypass to make changes in the folders for snapshots: sudo /System/Library/Extensions/TMSafetyNet.kext/Helpers/bypass chflags nohidden /Volumes/*/Backups.backupdb/*/*/*/Users/*/Library/. bypass was in /System/Library/Extensions/TMSafetyNet.kext/Contents/MacOS/bypass on Lion.

Related questions:

  • Thank you. This was driving me nuts because I was trying to restore files from the a TM user Library folder using the "Browse Other Backup Disks" command for TM.
    – Clay
    Dec 5, 2012 at 2:28

I tried using Tinker Tool and it does show the hidden Library folder but the folder has the red dot with the dash inside meaning I don't have access to it. So although a creative solution I am not able to access the contents of the Library folder.

I used these Terminal commands:

chflags nohidden ~/Library


defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool true
killall Finder

Both methods show hidden files and folders but they don't work right for Time Machine.

  • +1 This worked great when I needed to restore a backup of my ~/.profile. Remember you can change back by running the same defaults command again, with false instead of true.
    – Calrion
    Jun 10, 2013 at 8:26

Using Tinker Tool 4.9 I showed invisibles, then went into Time Machine. Invisibles were still there.

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