Inside your Home folder is a hidden folder, named Library. It’s hidden is because it contains lots of files and folders that would be confusing to most people.
Although you may never have to venture inside your Library folder, being aware of its presence, the type of items it contains, and how it fits into system, will demystify the workings your computer.
Mail, and your Library folder.
The application, Mail, is stored inside the Applications folder. Mail is used for managing multiple email accounts, for sending and receiving emails from those accounts.
Mail needs to store those emails somewhere on the computer. It stores them in the Library folder, the hidden one that’s located in your Home folder, inside a folder called Mail.
This Mail folder also contains other files which are used to store details relating to your internet accounts , as well as your general preferences (for example, your preferred font, and font size for writing email).
We don’t need to know exactly how it works. Just be aware that all your messages are stored inside your Library folder.
iCloud Drive, and your Library folder.
(If you’re not familiar with iCloud, it’s covered later in Your Apple ID, and iCloud.)
In Finder, iCloud Drive presents itself as a special folder or hard drive, one that is ‘in the cloud’, that integrates with Finder.
The term ‘cloud’ basically means something that is stored elsewhere, in a location that is accessed via the internet.
Which is precisely what it is but, if you can open a file from iCloud Drive, even when you’re not connected to the internet then, that file surely has to be stored somewhere on your computer.
The contents of your iCloud Drive is stored not only in iCloud, but also in your Library folder, contained within another folder called, Mobile Documents.
If this wasn’t the case then you wouldn’t be able to access them when disconnected from the internet.
Again, we don’t have to know exactly how it works. But knowing the contents of your iCloud Drive is stored somewhere in the Library folder may help in demystifying your computer, and iCloud.
The path to your Library folder
You may have noticed that there’s more than one Library folder. There’s one at the root of Macintosh HD. The path to this Library folder is:
But the full path to your Library folder will be:
It’s worth mentioning the short form method for indicating a path within your home folder: The Tilde.
View your Library folder in Finder
In Finder, navigate to your Home folder.
With your Home folder visible in a Finder window, choose View Options from the View menu.
Put a tick next to Show Library folder.
Your Library folder contains lots of important files that are related to you, the applications you use, and your preferred settings for those applications. Your Library folder is kept out of sight in order to reduce clutter and to avoid confusing us!
Any app you use will likely store files here, if only to recall settings and your preferences. But other apps will store important files here, such as Mail, that you wouldn’t want to lose.
The easiest way to ensure your important files are safe in the event of a computer ‘meltdown’, is to use Apple’s Time Machine, to backup your entire computer.