How to open a disk image’s Library folder

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Phil Rousculp asks:

How can I open the user Library folder in a disk image located on an external disk? The technique of selecting Go and holding down the Option key reverts to desktop computer.

mac911 path to folder popup IDG

You can check your path from a window’s title bar.

Phil is referring to the Go menu in the Finder, which lets you select from a number of folders on the startup drive, including some in your Home directory. In older versions of OS X, selecting the Go menu in the Finder and holding down the Option key toggled showing the Library folder for the currently logged-in user as a choice. In macOS Sierra, the toggle key is now Shift instead of Option.

If you’re trying to find the same directories on drives other than the startup volume, whether they’re internal or external, SSD or hard drive, physical or disk images, you can use the Go > Go To Folder menu item. Apple organizes volumes other than the startup one under the hidden Unix directory /Volumes. So let’s assume the volume name of your mounted disk image is Backup Drive and your Home directory name (the same as your underlying Unix login name) is philr. Follow these steps:

  1. In the Finder, choose Go > Go To Finder.
  2. Type /Volumes/ and then either type the full name of the drive, Backup Drive, or type the first few unique letters and press Tab to autocomplete the name. (If there’s more than one match, autocomplete will provide a list of options you can scroll through and select.)
  3. Now add /Users/philr/Library/ and click Go.

The final path is something like:

/Volumes/Backup Drive/Users/philr/Library/

You can confirm you’re in the right place by holding down the Command key and clicking on the Finder window’s titlebar name. This reveals the path all the way to the top level of the drive.

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