How to View and Clear Out Hidden Files and Make iMac Faster

Some iMac owners share they possess their computers for five or more years just to find out how slow they can turn out over time. It makes these people wonder if the process exists to see and – if needed – erase the outdated hidden items in order to raise the overall system performance.

Apple’s Approach

Yes, by wiping up space, it is possible to get the initial mind-blowing iMac’s speed back. Unlike Windows and other operating systems, Macs usually do well without any extra tools. The cleaning utilities are built-in. Starting from Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, the computer itself does a stellar job of deleting useless files and folders. A user should just regularly reboot the computer to trigger the cleaning process that would wipe the majority of unneeded data – temporary or hidden files, logs, system junk, etc. Such feature minimizes the need to purchase additional maintenance software.

If you still want to eliminate hidden items by yourself, read on to find out how to make them visible.

Show and Remove Hidden Items That Clutter Your Apple Computer

To remove hidden items from your iMac, you should first make them visible. In macOS Sierra and High Sierra, revealing them is really easy with a simple keyboard shortcut Cmd+Shift+. (dot). This command shows all hidden files in all folders on your iMac. You can now use Finder to browse folders, see the hidden files (their icons will be in pale colors) and decide which ones you wish to delete. Avoid erasing the hidden files that make your system function properly – study which items you need before moving on. Remove only those you are sure are unnecessary. After you’re done, press Cmd+Shift+. to hide files again.

In earlier Mac OS X versions, you will need to utilize the Terminal utility to reveal hidden files:

  • Launch Terminal;
  • Enter the following command to show the hidden files of all types: defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES and press Return;
  • Relaunch Finder. You can do that in two ways:
    • Type killall Finder in Terminal and press Return; or
    • While holding the Option button, right-click the Finder’s icon in Dock and select Relaunch in the menu that will appear.

The hidden files will become visible in all folders. Delete those of them which you for sure know to be unnecessary. Once you are done, you might want to hide files again. To do that, in Terminal, type defaults write AppleShowAllFiles NO and relaunch Finder.

Another way to show and hide hidden files in macOS involves using special third-party utilities like InVisible2.0, Funter 2.9 or HideSwitch 1.6.0. With them, it is enough to click on the app’s icon in the Applications folder to toggle the visibility of hidden items across OS X. Re-click it to make the files and folders disappear.

The same way, you can take advantage of specialized cleaning applications, which will automatically scan macOS for junk data – including hidden items – and remove it with a single click. Thus, you won’t need to stray through all folders manually to find previously revealed hidden files which is, obviously, extremely time-consuming.

More Effective Way to Speed Up Your iMac – Yet, Expensive

At the same time, if you hope to speed up your Apple computer by removing several dozens or even hundreds of hidden files, we’ll have to disappoint you. Well, yes, you will manage to free up some space, but it would hardly have a tangible effect on the system’s performance. The thing is, the major reason for slowdowns in 5-6 years old Apple computers is the lack of RAM and old HDD. And though replacing a hard drive with the solid-state disk (SSD) or purchasing extra memory is costly, but it is indeed the very effective solution to boost the performance of your iMac.