List directory contents.
Syntax ls [-Option(s)] [file ...] ls-F [-Option(s)] [file ...] This built-in is just like `ls -F', but much faster. l List files in long format `ls -l' ll List files in long format, showing invisible files `ls -la' Options -@ Display extended attribute keys and sizes. -1 (The numeric digit 'one'.) Force output to be one entry per line. This is the default when output is not to a terminal. -A List all entries including those starting with a dot . Except for . and .. This option is always set for the superuser (via sudo). -a List all entries including those starting with a dot . -B Force printing of non-printable characters (as defined by ctype(3) and current locale settings) in file names as \xxx, where xxx is the numeric value of the character in octal. -b As -B, but use C escape codes whenever possible. -C Force multi-column output; this is the default when output is to a terminal. -c Use time when file status was last changed for sorting or printing. -d Directories are listed as plain files (not searched recursively). -F Display a slash / immediately after each pathname that is a directory, an asterisk * after each that is executable, an at sign @ after each symbolic link, an equals sign = after each socket, a percent sign % after each whiteout, and a vertical bar | after each that is a FIFO. -f Output is not sorted. -G Enable colour output. This option is equivalent to defining CLICOLOR in the environment.(See below.) -g This option is deprecated. This option is only available for compatibility with POSIX; it is used to display the group name in the long (-l) format output (the owner name is suppressed). -H Symbolic links on the command line are followed. This option is assumed if none of the -F, -d, or -l options are specified. -h When used with the -l option, use unit suffixes: Byte, Kilobyte, Megabyte, Gigabyte, Terabyte and Petabyte in order to reduce the number of digits to three or less using base 2 for sizes. -i For each file, print the file's file serial number (inode number). -k If the -s option is specified, print the file size allocation in kilobytes, not blocks. This option overrides the environment variable BLOCKSIZE. -L If argument is a symbolic link, list the file or directory the link references rather than the link itself. This option cancels the -P option. -l List in long format. Ownership, Date/Time etc (See below) For terminal output, a total sum of all the file sizes is output on a line before the long listing. If the file is a symbolic link the pathname of the linked-to file is preceded by -> -m Stream output format; list files across the page, separated by commas. -n Display user and group IDs numerically rather than converting to a user or group name in a long (-l) output. This option turns on the -l option. -O Include the file flags in a long (-l) output. -o List in long format, but omit the group id. -P If argument is a symbolic link, list the link itself rather than the object the link references. This option cancels the -H and -L options. -p Write a slash (/) after each filename if that file is a directory. -q Force printing of non-graphic characters in file names as the character `?'; this is the default when output is to a terminal. -R Recursively list subdirectories encountered. -r Reverse the order of the sort to get reverse lexicographical order or the oldest entries first. (or largest files last, if combined with sort by size) -S Sort files by size -s Display the number of file system blocks actually used by each file, in units of 512 bytes, where partial units are rounded up to the next integer value. If the output is to a terminal, a total sum for all the file sizes is output on a line before the listing. The environment variable BLOCKSIZE overrides the unit size of 512 bytes. -T When used with the -l (lowercase letter ``ell'') option, display complete time information for the file, including month, day, hour, minute, second, and year. -t Sort by time modified (most recently modified first) before sorting the operands by lexicographical order. -u Use time of last access, instead of last modification of the file for sorting (-t) or printing (-l). -v Force unedited printing of non-graphic characters.
This is the default when output is not to a terminal. -W Display whiteouts when scanning directories. (-S) flag). -w Force raw printing of non-printable characters. This is the default when output is not to a terminal. -x The same as -C, except that the multi-column output is produced with entries sorted across, rather than down, the columns.
The -1, -C, -x, and -l options all override each other; the last one specified determines the format used.
The -c and -u options override each other; the last one specified determines the file time used.
The -B, -b, -w, and -q options all override each other; the last one specified determines the format used for non-printable characters.
The -H, -L and -P options all override each other (either partially or fully); they are applied in the order specified.
By default, ls lists one entry per line to standard output; the exceptions are to terminals or when the -C or -x options are specified.
File information is displayed with one or more <blank>s separating the information associated with the -i, -s, and -l options.
ls is pronounced as the two letters: "ell ess"
If the -l option is given, the following information is displayed for each file: file mode, number of links, owner name, group name, number of bytes in the file, abbreviated month, day-of-month file was last modified, hour file last modified, minute file last modified, and the pathname.
In addition, for each directory whose contents are displayed, the total number of 512-byte blocks used by the files in the directory is displayed on a line by itself, immediately before the information for the files in the directory.
If the file or directory has extended attributes, the permissions field printed by the -l option is followed by an @ character. Otherwise, if the file or directory has extended security information, the permissions field printed by the -l option is followed by a + character.
If the modification time of the file is more than 6 months in the past or future, then the year of the last modification is displayed in place of the hour and minute fields.
If the owner or group names are not a known user or group name, or the -n option is given, the numeric ID's are displayed.
If the file is a character special or block special file, the major and minor device numbers for the file are displayed in the size field. If the file is a symbolic link, the pathname of the linked-to file is preceded by '->'
The file mode printed under the -l option consists of the entry type, owner permissions, and group permissions. The entry type character describes the type of file, as follows:
b Block special file. c Character special file. d Directory. l Symbolic link. s Socket link. p FIFO. - Regular file.
The next three fields are three characters each: owner permissions, group permissions, and other permissions. Each field has three character positions:
1. If r, the file is readable; if -, it is not readable.
2. If w, the file is writable; if -, it is not writable.
3. The first of the following that applies:
S If in the owner permissions, the file is not executable and set-user-ID mode is set. If in the group permissions, the file is not executable and set-group-ID mode is set.
s If in the owner permissions, the file is executable and set-user-ID mode is set. If in the group permissions, the file is executable and setgroup-ID mode is set.
x The file is executable or the directory is searchable.
- The file is neither readable, writable, executable, nor set-user-ID nor set-group-ID mode, nor sticky. (See below.)
These next two apply only to the third character in the last group (other permissions).
T The sticky bit is set (mode 1000), but not execute or search permission. (See chmod(1) or sticky(8).)
t The sticky bit is set (mode 1000), and is searchable or executable. (See chmod(1) or sticky(8).)
ls-F passes its arguments to ls if it is given any switches, so `alias ls ls-F' generally does the right thing.
To set up colour labeling, put the following in your ~/.bash_profile file (assuming bash is your default macOS shell):
You can also customise the colors further by setting the LSCOLORS variable.
Other ls Environment Settings
List the filenames in the current folder
List the filenames with their characteristics (Size, Privs, Owner, etc)
$ ls -l
List the filenames with Size, Privs, Owner + Flags (-o option)
$ ls -lo
List the filenames sorted by time modified (most recent first):
$ ls -lt
List ALL files (including hidden):
$ ls -a
List iPhone backup files:
$ ls -l ~/Library/iTunes/iPhone\ Software\ Updates
$ ls -l ~/"Library/iTunes/iPhone Software Updates"
List all the file links in the current folder - in the ouptut of ls each symbolic directory has l permission at the begining of the permission flags, so grep ^l will list only symbolic links:
$ ls -lR | grep ^l
A less cryptic method is to use find . -type l
Include a special character at the end that tells you what kind of file it is
$ ls -F
List .jpg files
$ ls *.jpg
Filenames beginning with "a"
$ ls a*
Filenames containing "att"
$ ls *att*
Long list + show all + follow symlinks w. dest
$ ls -lahL
List sorted by Size
$ ls -l | sort -n +4
$ ls -lrS
List all subdirectories
$ ls *
Loop through all the files in a folder, note the use of quotes to cope with filenames that include spaces:
$ ls | while read FILE; do echo "$FILE"; done
List all files, one per line, including subdirectories - using find
$ find ~/Documents/ -type f
“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite” ~ William Blake
Related macOS commands:
chmod - Change access permissions.
chflags - Change a file or folder's flags.
find - Search for files that meet a desired criteria.
lsbom - List a bill of materials file.
quota - Display disk usage and limits.
rm - Remove files.
rmdir - Remove folder(s).
sort - Sort text files.
stat - Display the status of a file.
sticky - Sticky text and append-only directories.
wc - Print byte, word, and line counts.
Parsing the output of ls - wooledge.org