Thursday, February 23, 2017

Opening the User Library Folder

Rob Griffiths:

Yesterday, I wrote about an apparent change in Finder’s Library shortcut key. To wit, it used to be that holding the Option key down would reveal a Library entry in Finder’s Go menu.

However, on my iMac and rMBP running macOS 10.12.3—and on others’ Macs, as my report was based on similar findings by Michael Tsai and Kirk McElhearn—the Option key no longer worked; it was the Shift key. But on a third Mac here, running the 10.12.4 beta, the shortcut was back to the Option key.


After some experimentation, I was able to discover why the shortcut key changes, and how to change it between Shift and Option at any time. This clearly isn’t a feature, so I guess it’s a bug, but it’s a weird bug.

Update (2017-04-07): Adam C. Engst:

My suspicion is that this weird Finder state, which may date back to the Sierra betas, can be triggered in ways other than relaunching the Finder. Quitting or force-quitting the Finder from within Activity Monitor doesn’t seem to do it, but I can imagine other scenarios that might leave the Finder in an unusual state — a kernel panic, for instance, or a loss of power to the Mac. Over years of usage, it’s easy to see something like this happening to many people.

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It would be kind of cool if macOS randomly changed the shortcut key, or shortcut key combination, say every 15 minutes. It'd be like a fun game!

What is the point of having, much less using, an entry in the Go menu for the Library? It's not even a "shortcut key," it's an extra option in a drop-down menu. Why wouldn't you just ⌘⇧G to ~/Library? The "Go to folder" prompt even has tab-completion, allowing you to drill down directly to the destination. I won't even ponder why someone using Finder instead of Terminal is screwing around in the Library.

@Robert It’s pretty common when troubleshooting to have to send files from the Library to the support person. In that context, “Go to Folder” may be too complicated.

Mostly now, since I read it somewhere, I use ⌘⇧.(dot) to show invisible files in the Finder.


~/Library is also where some stuff is installed by default (or is only possible to be installed if you're not an admin): screen savers, fonts, Internet Plugins, Color Pickers, etc.). You can double-click them to install them but there's not always a solution to uninstall them without visiting the ~/Library folder.

It's also where you find the caches for the application or the Developer folder. Items that you may or must clean manually from time to time (*).

It's also where you can find the e-mail attachments that have been extracted at some point when you reviewed your message.

Therefore being able to access the ~/Library folder can prove useful for many cases.

* OK, there are tools for that.

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