Why Are My Folders Disappeared from Mac Desktop? How to Recover?

1. Download and install EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac

2. Select and scan the drive/volume where you lost files

3. Preview the files and click the Recover button...Click full guide

Table of Contents

Quick Navigation:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
1. Disable iCloud Backup Go to apple menu > system preferences...Full steps

2. Recover Deleted Files and Folders

Find and open trash on your Mac...Full steps

3. Unhide Hidden Files from Mac

Go to Mac terminal on Mac...Full steps

Why Did My Files Disappear on Mac Desktop?

Unlike Windows computers, Mac computers do not have "This PC", so many users will directly put files and folders on the desktop for easy viewing and use. If you're used to doing this and your Mac desktop folders are all gone, don't panic, this doesn't necessarily mean your data is lost. Here are a few common reasons why Mac desktop files disappear.

  • You've agreed to back up your Mac desktop with iCloud
  • Accidentally deleted or misplaced files from the desktop
  • Accidentally hide files on Mac desktop

In view of the above situations, there are methods to retrieve the disappeared files. We will introduce them one by one in the following sections.

Solution 1. Disable iCloud Backup

Apply to: Users who have enabled add desktop and documents files to iCloud

Recall if you did something like this before your desktop files were all gone - you have turned on the iCloud on Mac and choose to share files to all your devices with iCloud Drive. If yes, I can tell you why your desktop folders are disappeared. Once you have chosen this option, all the desktop content will be moved under iCloud. Now, follow the steps below to recover your Mac desktop folders.

Step 1. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Apple ID > iCloud.

Step 2. Click Options next to iCloud Drive.

Step 3. Unclick Desktop & Documents Folders option.

Step 4. Click Done.

After turning off Desktop and Documents, you can move all the files and folders from iCloud to Mac desktop manually.

Uncheck Desktop and Documents Folders option

Solution 2. Recover Accidentally Deleted Files and Folders

Apply to: Users who have deleted desktop folders by accident.

Another possible situation is the desktop folders were deleted by accident. To recover deleted files on Mac, you have two choices, one is to restore them from Trash and the other is to use third-party data recovery software.

#1. Restore Deleted Files from Mac Trash

Step 1. Find and open Trash on your Mac.

Step 2. Check if your missing folders are in the Trash. If yes, drag them to the desktop. Or right-click on them and select the "Put Back" option to recover deleted files to their original location.

Put Back deleted files from Trash

#2. Recover Permanently Deleted Files with EaseUS

This method suits the situation that you know you've deleted certain files but can't find them in the Trash. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is a macOS-specialized recovery tool. Its main purpose is to help users recover those files and data which can't be recovered directly from Trash. Its working pattern is to perform a thorough scan on your hard disk, search and list all recoverable data.

Now, you can download this software from the button below and follow the guidelines to recover data.

Step 1. Select the location where your important data & files were deleted and click the "Scan" button.

select the location where data was deleted and click scan

Step 2. The software will run both quick scan and deep scan and work hard to find as many deleted files as possible on the selected volume.

scan the selected disk to find deleted files on your Mac

Step 3. The scan results will be displayed in the left pane. Just select the file(s) and click the "Recover" button to get them back.

click recover now button to recover deleted files on your Mac

Solution 3. Unhide Hidden Files from Mac

To start with, there's a quick method that can help you confirm whether the desktop files are hidden.

Step 1. Go to Mac terminal on Mac.

Step 2. Enter defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles true and press Return.

Step 3. Type killall Finder and hit Return.

Then, if you have hidden files, after hitting the Return button the Terminal will close and shows all hidden files on your desktop.

Check and find Mac hidden files

Mac Tip

Operations You Should Know when Switching from Windows to Mac

If you've just switched from Windows to Mac and are new to using a Mac computer, this article will help you get used to it faster.

switch from Windows to Mac

Conclusion

This article covers common situations of folders disappeared from Mac desktop. According to other users' feedback, most of the time, the reason why you can't see your desktop folders is that you have enabled the iCloud backup. So don't panic and don't worry that you might lose your data. And EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac always got your back.

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Updated by Gemma

Gemma is member of EaseUS team and has been committed to creating valuable content in fields about file recovery, partition management, and data backup etc for many years. She loves to help users solve various types of computer related issues.

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