Make an Invisible Folder and Hide Files in Plain Sight on Mac
Want to hide some files in plain sight on a Mac? This walkthrough will detail how you can make an invisible folder on the Mac that features some unique properties; the invisible folder will be invisible to the eye when browsing in Finder, but the folder will not be invisible to the click. Instead, you’ll use a secret click in a specific location to access the invisible folder.
Sounds neat, right? It is, this is a really great trick that I first learned many years ago to obfuscate files in plain view, and it still works great in modern Mac OS releases too. It’s a multi-step process, here’s how it works:
How to Create an Invisible Folder on Mac OS
- Right-click here and save this transparent PNG file to your desktop as ‘transparent.png’
- Go to your desktop and open “transparent.png” into Preview and hit Command+A followed by Command+C – this selects the entire files contents and copies them into your clipboard
- Now go back to the Mac OS X desktop and hit Command+Shift+N to create a new folder, name the folder nothing by hitting the spacebar a few times
- Now select the folder named nothing (” “) and hit Command+i to “Get Info” about the folder
- Click on the folder icon in the upper left corner and hit Command+V to paste the previously copied transparent.png file as the folders icon
Your folder is now invisible to the eye. In some ways this is preferable to creating a hidden folder by prepending a . in front of the name because it’s still accessible from the Finder’s GUI with a well placed mouse click, and as I mentioned before it doesn’t require the use of the Terminal to create. It’s also advantageous because it doesn’t show up if someone makes hidden files visible.
I would suggest burying this folder somewhere in an obscure place on the desktop or elsewhere to further obfuscate any attempts at finding it
Just remember the contents of the folder are not invisible, and could still be found via Spotlight or Recent Items if someone knew what to look for. To do that, you’d have to exclude the folder from Spotlight search and then clear out the Recent Items from time to time.
Here’s what such a folder will look like if you open it, notice the window bar has no name in it:
I learned this in 6th grade to hide files and apps from prying eyes, and despite it’s simplicity it worked to store games, movies, and pictures on school computers without anyone knowing where they were kept. Believe it or not it works, and if you have limited access to the Terminal it beats using the period method to hide folders. Of course you can also turn to the command line and use chflags to hide folders on the Mac too, but if you use that approach than the folder will not be accessible with a secret click like this method detailed here is. Use whatever approach is suitable for your needs, there are a lot of ways to accomplish this and with varying degrees of folder invisibility.
If you know of another better way to create invisible folders hiding in plain sight, then do share them in the comments below!