In OS X 10.9.3, many users experiencing a hidden /Users folder – Here’s a fix

When Apple released OS X 10.9.3, many users found that the /Users folder was hidden. In my case, when I click on Dave's Computer in the Finder sidebar, then click on Macintosh HD, I don’t see the usual Users folder at the top level of my hard drive. The folder is there, it’s just hidden.

This is not a big deal for most people, and not everyone’s /Users folder is hidden. If yours is, and you need access to it, open a Finder window and select Go To Folder… from the Go menu. When the dialog appears, type /Users and click the Go button. The /Users folder will become visible, albeit temporarily.

For a more permanent solution, control-click on the /Users folder and select Make Alias from the contextual menu that appears. Though the /Users folder will become hidden again when you close your Finder window, the alias will stick around.

Not sure why Apple made this change, and why some people are seeing it and not others. Whatever the reason and whatever the ultimate resolution, this is an easy thing to deal with and, I suspect, will be resolved in the next release.

UPDATE: Twitter user Jan suggested using this bit of code (which you’d enter using Terminal) to permanently change the /Users folder’s hidden status:

sudo chflags nohidden /Users

Good tip, but personally, I’d advise waiting to give Apple a chance to resolve this in their own way before going under the hood yourself.

[Hat tip to Kirk McElhearn for pointing this out]

  • Td

    Wouldn’t this be a more permanent fix (terminal command) than an alias?

    sudo chflags nohidden /Users

    Unless Apple is using something other than the hidden attribute to do this…

  • Bob Harris

    There are reports in the Apple Discussion forums that the chflags trick gets reset after a reboot. I have not personally checked this out, so take it with a grain of salt.

    • BOFH

      I can confirm that the hidden flag is restored to the /Users directory after reboot. In fact, that’s quite weird.

  • Larry Davis

    Apple has gotten so sloppy with their software the past couple of years.

    • Frederich von Stüppel

      Care to elaborate? It’s not like they didn’t come out with crappy updates while Steve Jobs was still around, FinalCut X being the first that comes to mind.

  • Tak Amalak

    You can use Lingon to create a daemon that runs “sudo chflags nohidden /Users” at start up.

  • Dave Mark

    My 2 cents: Don’t use chflags to fix this. Let Apple address this. I suspect they will. If you need your Users folder (not many people do – their home folder is where all the goodies are for most), make an alias. That will never break and it will never fight a fix that Apple might put in place.

    • lucascott

      Honestly I wouldn’t be shocked if this wasn’t a bug.

      Rather like folks messing with their library, they might be having issues (and a lot) with folks messing with things on this level. So they locked it down.

      After all those in the know can, if they really need access, create an alias or finder sidebar just like they did for their Library

      My only thought is the shared folder. Never been easy getting to that. Have they changed something in that regard

      • dshan

        If that was the case then the fact that it is only happening on some OS X systems would be a bug…

    • Timi

      Fun fact: Apple advises against the alias method and actually prefers you use chflags because chflags are exactly how it’s hidden.

      Further: it’s not a bug, it’s an idiot-proofing step they’re trying.

      • mick


  • Everything is working fine here on both original and “unoriginal” OS X installations.

  • Employing the change file flag command is not “going under the hood”. It is repairing a sloppy mistake or a specious bit of paternalism lacking in merit. If this is not a mistake and Apple is going to make changes like these, they need to offer a legitimate rationale. Frankly, if it was not a mistake, I cannot think of any rationale, for it also removes access to the ‘Shared’ directory.

  • Can you still reach Users by command-shift-H, command-up in Finder?

  • Carlos Burges

    Alias? For what? Is a permissions problem. Repair permissions, make visible both folders with chflags and is done.

  • Brenton LeMesurier

    Or drag it into the sidebar of the finder.

  • desertrat

    I am also having the same problem. It also appears to be impacting my OpenVPN client Tunnelblick. It states “The Users system folder (/Users) is not secure. Tunnelblick may not work properly unless this is fixed.”

    • Taras

      Apparently in some cases (you and me included), updating also makes /Users world-writeable, which I guess isn’t good.

      I followed the advice Tunnelblick gave me and repaired disk permissions using Disk Utility. All back to normal now.

      • Juraj Ďurech

        I have the same problem but unfortunately restart changes that permissions back to world-writeable again…

  • One person reported he talked to Apple and was told this is the intended behavior. But I suspect that’s an error from the support person. It’s too inconsistent.

    It appears to only happen to people who install the new version of iTunes at the same time they update to 10.9.3 AND they have Back to My Mac enabled. If they didn’t have both at the time of 10.9.3’s installation, it doesn’t hide the directory. If you disable Back to My Mac, and reboot and run the terminal command, it becomes permanent change and won’t be hidden on reboot.

    I noticed an interesting change when using Active Directory. In the Users folder now I see very single person’s home folder in the User folder now. All locked except mine. Or was that there and I didn’t notice before?

  • This bug creates a serious problem when trying to import media in Final Cut Pro 10.1 since it can’t see any media on the desktop or home directories and below. It caused me to lose a whole day of work in a pressure cooker work environment. The fix is here…

    This fix allows you to easily create an app you can double-click to restore the /Users folder until there is a permanent solution.

  • Jim

    Here is another way to make the folder visible from now on. When you have reached the /Users folder through Go To Folder, go to the top of the window and click and drag Users to the Favorites list on the left. I hope this is helpful. This was a great article and very helpful. I was shocked when I couldn’t see the Mac HD folder in Finder after upgrading to 10.9., and I was able to use this Go To instruction to find the Mac HD folder. (Turns out, when the Users folder is displayed, you can Control-click on the Users folder name at the top of the window and a drop down list appears from which you can click on Mac HD.)