OS X 10.9.3: Why is the /Users Folder Hidden for Some Users but Not All Users?

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Update: Apple has released a fix for this issue.

Yesterday, I showed how you could unhide the /Users folder in OS X 10.9.3, the latest update to OS X that was released yesterday. Yet many users, in comments, emails and on Twitter, have pointed out that their /Users folder is not hidden. Here, it’s hidden on both my Macs: a late 2011 Mac mini, and an early 2013 MacBook Pro.

It really doesn’t make sense for this folder to be hidden; it contains the /Users/Shared folder, which you may want to use to provide files to other users, since all users can access it. My guess, given that not everyone sees the /Users folder as hidden, is that this is a bug; one way or another. In other words, it should either not be hidden, or it should be hidden for everyone.

It’s hidden and not hidden for users with admin accounts, and with or without multiple users; in other words, no one has yet found the variable that controls its visibility.

Frankly, if Apple is moving OS X toward an iOS model, where users don’t have access to the filesystem – they’ll never do this entirely, at least in the near future – it would make more sense to start by hiding the top-level /Library and /System folders, which you really only need to access when troubleshooting, or when manually installing certain types of software.

What about you? Is /Users hidden or not?

Update: I’m convinced this is a bug. Many users still see it, and if I’m in column view, and go up in the hierarchy, I see this:

Messages Image(622799345).png

Update 2: Turns out that Dave Hamilton, writing at The Mac Observer, had pinned down the problem. He says:

Turns out that hidden /Users folder has nothing to do with OS X 10.9.3. Your /Users and /Users/Shared folders will be hidden by OS X upon every reboot of your Mac if you have updated to iTunes 11.2 and have Find My Mac enabled.

Interesting that he’s tested this with the iTunes update and not the OS X update; that doesn’t make any sense. I found that, if Find My Mac was off, and I rebooted, and the /Users folder was visible, checking Find My Mac in the iCloud preference pane made it vanish immediately. This is clearly a bug.




12 replies
  1. Joe Samuels says:

    My Users folder does not appear among the folders at the root level of my drive, but the folder is still among my Favorites on the left side of my Finder window, and I still have easy access to the Home folder.

    Reply
  2. Chucky says:

    A/B testing to see how annoyed it makes folks in preparation for hiding the entire file system. (In case of any confusion, this is a facetious explanation.)

    Reply
  3. Scott says:

    Yet another reason Apple needs to talk publicly about this “No Filesystem” nonsense before it gets out of hand. Filesystems are core component of operating systems, they can’t merely be done away with. And these half-assed attempts to message them into oblivion are stupid and counterproductive. Just because ignorant users don’t want to be frightened by things they don’t understand doesn’t mean hiding monsters in the closet is the right solution. What needs to be done here is to actually FIX the problem: most users don’t need to interact with the filesystem, the Finder doesn’t even need to “respect” the filesystem, therefore the Finder should FINALLY get “fixed” and become the user interface to a much more capable backend content management system. Publishing, business, and software development has been using content management systems for years, Apple should bring that power down to the users and workgroups. A CMS that ran as an application interface between local filesystems, file stores (local and remote), and cloud file stores and applications could COMPLETELY replace the “Library” hogwash of iTunes/iMovie/iPhoto as well as integrate the versioning of TimeMachine more cleanly. Grab Mail’s store and throw it in there too.

    Thus far, Apple has completely failed to impress me with their progress in OS X (since the beginning!) towards moving to the next level of file management. It has been nothing but band-aids and engineering shenanigans. The time to fix this is now, and these current efforts as well as iCloud are NOT the answer.

    Reply
  4. BAW says:

    I’m confused. When you say something is hidden, I take that to mean the whole folder is gone from sight. But the image you show above of the column hierarchy DOES show the Users folder; it’s just greyed (blued?) out. This is exactly what my own MacBook Pro looks like after the 10.9.3 update. But when I click on that greyed out folder all the contents show up in the column to the right. So in my mind this folder is not hidden, nor is it a catastrophic bug; just an inconvenient one that I am sure Apple will address in the next update.

    Reply
    • Kirk McElhearn says:

      If you’re not using column view, it’s hidden. If you are using column view, and don’t move up the hierarchy from a folder within that folder, it’s hidden as well. In other words, if you move away from it, say, into the System folder, then it disappears.

      Reply
  5. Tim Sheridan says:

    I’m seeing a slightly different situation with a proper (case-sensitive) HFS+ filesystem. ‘/Users’ is hidden, but a symlink has appeared in ‘/’ named ‘users’ which points to ‘Users/’. This is an odd one, for sure…

    Reply
  6. vladimir vooss says:

    I appreciate all this effort on the part of users to try to outfox Apple, who is, IMHO really and truly screwing around with the OS – to our detriment, I would add. If I get into my car tomorrow morning, I don’t want the ignition key to not start the engine, but if I hot-wire it, start the car and then disconnect the hot-wire, next morning the car will start…. It’s a stupid analogy, I know. So is Apple, stupider than a box of rocks, screwing around with the OS, and the way they’re misnaming it “updates”… it’s shocking. Absoluitely shocking.

    Reply

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