How to access the hidden usr/local/bin folder on a Mac?

What is the bin folder?

Although it might sound like it, it’s not the Trash. Bin is one of those hidden folders on your Mac...

Almost every operating system purposefully hides things users don't need. It's the same as when an architect places plumbing and wiring behind a wall: it looks prettier and safeguards the operating system that keeps your house functioning smoothly.

For some of us, it’s enough to know that the plumbing and wiring are functional, and if something goes wrong - we simply call a professional to fix it. But some who are more tech-savvy can use such hidden folders and files to tweak and modify their Mac to improve performance or solve issues.

Bin is short for binary. It refers to a directory that contains executable commands for your application. Access to the Bin folder can help you change license and configuration files.

Now, if you ever want to make changes to hidden files and folders without digging around in system directories, there is an easier and quicker way. I like using the CleanMyMac X app for that. It has a Space Lens feature that visually shows your application folder where you can see what is taking up space and remove anything you don't need.

Scan completed in Space lens module in CleanMyMacX

However, if you are keen to look under the hood manually, here is how to access the bin folder.

Ways to access the bin folder

Method 1: Find the bin folder with the Finder

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Press Command-Shift-G to open the dialogue box.
  3. Input the following search: /usr/local/bin
  4. Now you should see the Bin folder and all it contains.

    Method 2: Find the bin folder in the Terminal

    1. Press Go in the Apple menu, then Utilities. Or go to Finder > Applications > Utilities. Launch Terminal.
    2. Enter this command in Terminal: chflags nohidden ~/usr/local/bin
    3. Click Return and quit Terminal. The bin folder should be visible in the Finder.
    4. If you ever want to restore this to how it was before, enter the following command in Terminal: chflags hidden ~/usr/local/bin


    Only attempt this method if you are confident using the Terminal. Remember, using Terminal can make significant changes to your macOS systems and files, so only make these changes if you’re sure of the commands you put in.

    Pro Tip: Clear out your downloads folder if you find yourself running short of storage on Mac. Everything you’ve ever downloaded that you’ve not moved someplace else is stored in that folder. Imagine how much room those useless files are taking up! Especially when it contains zip folders, videos, images, and app downloads.

    how-reset-pram-smc

    Another way to access hidden directories

    Some Mac apps allow you to access hidden files, folders, and directories: Daisy Disk and CleanMyMac X. I prefer CleanMyMac X because it has an intuitive interface and stunning design. Also, It has a Space Lens module that displays the entire folder tree of your Mac with hidden folders and forgotten files. 

    You can download the free version of CleanMyMac X here.

    1. Open CleanMyMac X, then click the Space Lens tab.
    2. Simply click on bubbles to browse, remove or dive deeper into specific folders.

    That's all you need to know about finding the Bin folder on Mac. Stay tuned for more Mac tips!

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