What Are .DS_Store and __MACOSX Files?

DS_Store or Desktop Service Store files refer to the files in the Apple OS X operating system. They are the place to store the user settings for a folder, such as the list of the files, the chosen background image, and the location of the icons. These kinds of files are the ones that are created and maintained by the Finder application in every folder and have functions similar to the desktop in the Microsoft Windows.

Once again, the DS_Store file is created when you as a Mac user creates an archive or a zip file using the Mac. The DS_Store file has the information about how a folder will be opened. For instance, the shape and the size of the window, the position of the window on the desktop, and which view was last chosen. When you get rid of the DS_Store, the folder returns to the system default the next time it is opened and then a new blank DS_Store shows up. This file is contained in each folder. If a user of Mac zips a file or a folder and they send the zip version to another user of Mac, it will not appear and it becomes a hidden folder. When the Mac user sends the zip file to the one that uses computer or PC, the DS_Store file will be shown. A lot of users who use computers tend to be confused by these files and folders.

DS_Store file

What about MACOSX? Some Windows users might be wondering about MACOSX a lot. So, what is MACOSX and what can or should you do with it?

MACOSX will only be created on a Mac. It means you will note ever unintentionally create these or see them if you are creating files on Windows. However, a common place Windows users are able to see this in ZIP files that they download or files that they share with the users of Mac. Basically, they are useless outside the Mac. Actually, some people believe that they are useful.


The question is, why do the users of Mac keep sending the MACOSX files if they are useless? The answer to the question is that the users of Mac simply do not see these folders. You can just take the ZIP file that you are looking at and look on the Mac and they are invisible. MACOSX files are not the common type of hidden folder. All of them are hidden, that’s why the Mac users will not get rid of them from the archive before they distribute.

Can the MACOSX folder get deleted? As it is not good to you at all, you can delete it on Windows. It is just useless and takes the space up. As for the Mac, even though it is invisible, meaning you can see it, it depends on you whether to delete it or not. As stated before, it takes up massive amounts of space so it seems like deleting it is better to free some space.

DS_Store and MACOSX are known as two of the most common files and folders that are added to the zip files when compressed on macOS. The folder called MACOSX, especially, is problematic as it contains duplicates of each file in the zip archive. For example, if you use Finder to compress 20 files, the zip file will have 20 original files and 20 additional ones, which all of them are hidden under the /__MACOSX/ folder.

It could be really annoying when you have to deal with both DS_Store and MACOSX files because when you unzip the files on a Mac, the hidden files and folders are not included in the unzipped files. They will not be able to be seen, even after you enable the display of hidden files. The only method that you can use to view all the hidden files or folders is to open the zip file on a non-Mac machine such as PC/Windows or Linux.

Again, please keep in mind that each hidden file or folder added by Mac is included in the unzipped files only when the files are unzipped on a non Mac machine. Some people might be confused why on earth are the hidden files added in the first place? They are totally excluded when you unzip them on Mac and never needed for any reason on any other machine. The reality is quite the opposite. The hidden files do not have any purpose other than to waste the bandwidth, energy, time, resources, and so on.

It is such a legit issue because a lot of people use Mac to zip files to share on the web. The main problem is the fact that not everyone uses a Mac. So, people who are downloading the zip files on their Windows, Linux, or the other non Mac are going to see all the hidden files and folders, which are literally useless to them.

Furthermore, adding a duplicate set of hidden files to the zip archive means doubling the size of the download zip file. In other words, they waste bandwidth, disk space, and so on. It may not really matter for the smaller zip files, but if we talk about the possibility of millions or billions of zip files that are downloaded each day, it is a huge deal.

Luckily, all the hidden files or folders are not needed on any machine, including Mac, so it is totally fine to delete them. It does not matter what machine or OS you are currently using, they are all able to be deleted safely from any zip archive. For the new files, you are able to use an app like YemuZip or any other free apps to exclude the hidden files from the new zip archives. If you use Mac, they can be removed easily with Terminal. The first thing that you will have to do is to open the Terminal app. Then, navigate to the folder that consists of the files that you want to zip. Next, type or paste : zip -r data.zip . -x “.*” -x “__MACOSX”. Lastly, press Enter to execute.