OS X YosemiteUnlike Microsoft Windows, by default OS X hides system files from end users. There is a perfectly reasonable explanation for this. Some of the files which are hidden, are important and damaging them could prevent your system from booting all together.

However – on the flip side, there is often a valid reason for needing access to those files. Anything from needing to change a system setting to removing files an unruly application has left behind.

There are several ways to show hidden files in OS X, the easiest would probably be to follow this tutorial on how to build an Automator script. This will give you an icon that you simply have to double-click on to show or hide the files.

Alternatively, if you are just looking for something in your Library folder, did you know that if you click “Go” in the menu bar whilst in Finder, then whilst the menu is expanded click the Alt key on your keyboard the Library menu will appear.

Another method would be to run a command in a terminal window to change the system setting. To do this all you need to do is:

  1. Open Finder
  2. Open the Utilities folder
  3. Open a terminal window
  4. Copy and paste the following line in:
    SUDO defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles YES; killall Finder
  5. Press return
  6. Enter your administrator password when prompted
  7. Press return

You should find the finder window will disappear, along with the icons on your desktop. However, if you now launch a new finder instance you will now be able to see any hidden files or folders. Once you are done, perform the steps above however, replace the terminal command in step 4 with:

SUDO defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles NO; killall Finder

If the above is not working for you, you may want to try switching YES/NO to TRUE/FALSE .. Beware that this is case-sensitive!

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

If you are experiencing issues using the examples above, please post a comment using the comments system below.



BETA SeedIf you love being on the bleeding edge of technology, and don’t mind risking your machines stability, you can register for Apple’s Beta Seed program. Previously Apple used to restrict access to its Beta software to only registered Apple Developers. (Costing £99 a year)

However, they recently changed tac and they are now inviting all users in. You can register using the link below:
OS X Beta Seed Program – AppleSeed

It’s worth noting that these beta’s shouldn’t (really) be installed on your production machines, and you should ensure you have a backup prior to installing.



If you have ever used iMessage on your Mac to send a message to an iPhone the recipient will tell you just how frustrating it is flicking between two message streams.. When you send from your mac, by default it will send from your Apple ID (email address) and not your phone number. Which means the recipient may end up with two separate conversation threads.

Not anymore.. All you need to do is ensure your iPhone is running iOS 6, and your Mac is running OS X 10.8.2.

Launch iMessage on your Mac, navigate to iMessage preferences and then over to the Accounts tab. Now click to add an email address. In the box provided enter your mobile number minus the first 0, now press the tab key on your keyboard. You should see a message pop up suggesting iMessage is going to send an email to the number you have enter. Click to accept the message. Now on your iPhone goto Settings > Messages, and slide iMessage off. Now exit the settings menu. Return to Settings > Messages iPhone and slick iMessage back on. Exit the settings menu and now restart iMessage on your Mac. You should now be greeted with a message explaining your number will now be used to receive iMessages.

Now if you want, you can also set iMessage to also send from your email address, back in preferences under the accounts tab, select your number from the drop down at the bottom of the settings form.



Last night one of my twitter friends (Ben Casablancas) asked me an interesting question, he wanted to grab his OS X login screen ‘avatar’ for use on twitter. Now, on first appearances the image file seemed to be well hidden away in the deep dark depths of the OS X file system.

However using this little snippet of code in a terminal window made it much easier to find:

dscl . -read /Users/`id -un` JPEGPhoto | tail -1 | xxd -r -p > ~/Desktop/MyAccountPic.jpg

Now if you check your desktop, you should see a JPG labelled MyAccountPic.jpg. That’s right… That’s the picture seen in the login window. But wait… I hear you cry, what about the ‘halo’ ring! Well don’t you worry, we’ve got that covered too!

Back in terminal, paste in this line:

cp /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/LoginUIKit.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/LoginUICore.framework/Versions/A/Resources/avatarWhiteRing.png ~/Desktop/MyRing.png

You should now find another image on your desktop – this one labelled MyRing.png. This is the ‘halo’ circle from around your avatar. Now last but not least, you’ll be wanting the mask to go with that:

Back in terminal, paste in this line:

cp /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/LoginUIKit.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/LoginUICore.framework/Versions/A/Resources/avatarMask.png ~/Desktop/MyMask.png

You’ve guessed it! You will now also have an image on your desktop labelled MyMask.png.

So although it’s hidden away, using the extremely powerful terminal it can easily be retrieved.

For reference, all the code above does is create copies of the graphics, and is in no way dangerous. If your stuck looking for something in OS X drop me a line and maybe I can help you too.



As a keen Mac user for many years, I’ve often been bugged by the same age-old issue. An that’s the fact that you can’t keep important windows ‘top-most’. This can often be a bind, especially when you spend time in both terminal and GUI applications. Last week this pushed me over the edge, as I was getting tired of flicking between the two. So I finally found what I think is the perfect solution to my problem.

The clever people over at Infitite Labs have produced a handy little utility named Aflot. It’s completely free of charge and offers some pretty impressive features.

Afloat features include:

  • Keep any window ‘afloat’ (aka top-most)
  • Pin windows to the desktop
  • Move windows from anywhere
  • Turn a window into an overlay (transparent<->semi transparent)
  • Show a windows file in Finder
  • Resize windows from anywhere.

Afloat requires OS X Snow Leopard (10.6) or above, and is available to download from here

Once downloaded and installed, the OS X ‘Window’ menu in the menu bar of your favourite apps will include extra options:

This has saved me lots of pain when using terminal. If you know of other methods to ‘pin’ windows let me know.




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