How to unhide and access the var folder on your Mac?

Usually, finding a folder on Mac is easy, but some of them are hidden. One such folder is var folder. In this article, we'll show you how to unhide it and how to hide it again as well as how to access all of your folders. Let's go!

What is a var folder?

Although there is little information online, it's clear that the var folder was designed to improve operating security. It was designed to improve permissions (rwxr-xr-x) over previous temp and cache locations, such as the /Library/Caches and /tmp folders. According to Apple developer information, the var folder refers to "per-user temporary files and caches."

This means that this is a temporary or cache file that is not in the Home folder. This way, cache data — which Apple is keen to store — is not transferring data over a network. It makes cache data more secure and keeps everything in one place instead of scattered around multiple files and folders. 

var folders store an awful lot of data. Although there are some suggestions that these folders are emptied every three days, other research suggests that isn't true. You could be at risk of a huge cache of data sitting on your hard drive, and some of that might contain personal user information. Instead of letting that sit around and take up space, some users choose to locate and delete this cache every few weeks or even days.

Another step you can take if you're concerned about a potentially enormous store of cache data taking up space is to download and use CleanMyMac X. Using the Space Lens tool, you can quickly see what is taking up too much space on your Mac and how to safely reclaim that much-needed space, thereby improving how well your Mac performs.

How to access the var folder?

One of the easiest ways to permanently uncover the var and other hidden folders is to use Terminal. 

  1. Go to Terminal from Applications > Utilities.
  2. Type in the following command:
    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES
  3. After this command, type killall Finder and press Return. This will relaunch Finder.

Now, this should show every hidden folder, including var. Once you are ready to hide them again, go to Terminal and input the following commands, pressing Return after each of them:
defaults write AppleShowAllFiles NO and then killall Finder

    There's another way to access the var folder by using the Finder.

    1. Open the Finder.
    2. Press Command-Shift-G to open the dialogue box.
    3. Input the following path: /var or /private/var/folders and press Return.
    4. Now, you should have temporary access, so you should be able to drag it into the Finder favorites if you want it to stay visible.

    Either way, now you should be able to gain access to the hidden var folders. With this access, you can delete any unwanted cache files that take up too much space. But always be careful when deleting anything: if you aren't sure what it does, it is probably best to leave it alone. Reboot or restart your Mac, as that should automatically clear out bloated cache files and folders.

    How to access all your folders with Space Lens

    You can reliably gain the space and processing power needed to improve your Mac's performance by downloading CleanMyMac X. It has the Space Lens tool that can build your storage map in a matter of seconds and show you all the files and folders on your Mac.

    Space lens module of CleanMyMacX

    Here's how to use it:

    1. Download CleanMyMac X (it has a free trial version).
    2. Open the Space Lens and click Scan.
    3. Review your files and folders.
    4. Tidy up any space hoggers.
    Scan completed in Space lens module in CleanMyMacX

    Enjoy using CleanMyMac X and make your Mac cleaner, faster, and safer.

    Laptop with CleanMyMac
    CleanMyMac X

    Your Mac. As good as new.