[Fixed] How to Get Back Missing Documents Folder on Mac

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Documents folder gets missing on Mac is a common issue for those running macOS Monterey, Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra and earlier. The problem becomes hot after update Mac to the new version. If the folder goes missing, you may not be able to find most of your crucial files. This can be frustrating, especially if you are dealing with the issue for the first time. In this article, we will tell you why your Documents folder disappeared on Mac. Apart from that, we'll show you the various solutions accordingly.

Part 1. Can't Find Documents Folder on Mac, Why?

Can't find the Documents folder on Mac? The problem is generally caused by 3 main reasons. These are:

1. iCloud Syncing Issues

If you are using a recent version of macOS, it should have a feature that allows you to sync your Desktop and Documents folders to iCloud. This gives you the ability to access your files on all your devices. If the iCloud Drive syncing happens to have issues, macOS may remove the Desktop and Documents folders and store them on iCloud Drive only. In another word, your can't find the Document folder on Mac from Favorites. This could cause your Documents folder to disappear. In this case, you can directly go for Solution 1.

2. Accidentally Removed from Sidebar

If you have disabled the Documents option visibility on the sidebar, the Documents folder won't appear on it. While the folder will still be available on Mac, if you are used to finding it on your sidebar, you may think that you have lost it forever. In that it the case, you can directly go for Solution 2.

3. Documents folder missing from Mac Dock

If your Documents folder suddenly disappear from the Dock, you can go to Solution 3 and get it back.

Part 2. 4 Solutions on "How Do I Get My Documents Folder Back on Mac?"

You can follow the detailed steps below to get your Documents folder back.

Solution 1: Disable Desktop & Documents Folders

When you enable this feature, all your files and folders will be uploaded to your iCloud Drive. However, once you want to disable this feature afterward, those files and folders won't appear in the Documents folder automatically. You need to copy them back manually. Therefore, if there is enough space in your local storage, it's recommended to turn off this feature.

Here is how to disable Desktop & Documents Folders feature and get your Documents folder back.

  • Go to the Apple Menu > select System Preferences > iCloud.

  • Click Options.

  • Uncheck the "Desktop & Documents Folders" option.

  • get back documents folder mac
  • You may get a warning that the files present in the Desktop and Documents folders will be removed from your Mac and kept in the iCloud Drive. Hit the Turn Off button.

  • Now, the Documents folder should appear again in Finder. However, when you open the folder, it will be empty. To get the files back in the Documents folder, drag them from iCloud Drive into the folder.

  • move files back to documents folder

Solution 2: Recover Disappeared or Missing Documents Folder from Sidebar

There is a possibility that the issue is not caused by iCloud, but by misoperation. If you accidentally removed the Documents folder from sidebar, it will disappear from the Finder. But don't freak out, the folder is only removed, not deleted.

Follow the steps below to get it back:

  • Open the Finder in your Mac computer and then select the Finder option from the menu bar.

  • From the Finder menu, select Preferences.

  • Hit the Sidebar tab. Next, tick the Documents option. This should restore the missing Documents folder.

recover missing documents folder from sidebar

Solution 3: Retrieve the Missing Documents Folder from Mac Dock

There is a possibility that the issue is not caused by iCloud, but by misoperation. If you accidentally removed the Documents folder from sidebar, it will disappear from the Finder. But don't freak out, the folder is only removed, not deleted.

Solution 4. Restore Disappeared/Missing/Deleted Files in Documents Folder with 1 Click

If all the methods mentioned above failed to get back your Documents folder on Mac, or they are complex to you, you can opt for an easy method. AnyRecover is a professional data recovery tool that works efficiently to restore missing/disappeared/lost/deleted files or folder on both Mac and Windows. It is simple to use and has been greatly trusted and recommended by its users.

AnyRecover Key Features Include:

  • Get back the missing/disappeared/deleted files in Documents Folder in any circumstances.
  • User-friendly interface with simple operation, get back your missing files within 3 steps.
  • Based on the advanced technology, all files can be recovered with 100% success rate.
  • Supports recovering more than 1000 file types, including folders, documents, photos, videos, music, etc.
  • AnyRecover supports all storage devices, including hard drives, flash drives, SD cards, memory card, etc.
  • It is compatible with all Windows and macOS versions including the Windows 11.

To use AnyRecover to recover your lost documents and folders, you can watch this video guide.

YouTube Video

Tips: How to Recover Files If Document Folder Is Empty

In most instances,  you can make the Documents folder show again in Finder after trying the above 2 solutions. However, some users reflected that the Documents folder is still empty or some files are actually missing. In this section, we'll show you 2 methods to restore the missing files.

If you have enabled the Back Up Automatically option in the Time Machine, then you can definitely restore the missing files from the Time Machine backup. Just follow the simple steps below:

  • Navigate to Apple menu and select System Preference.

  • Click to open Time Machine application. Check Show Time Machine in menu bar.

  • Click the icon of Time Machine in the menu bar and enter it. Now, you can choose a point of time to restore the files.

restore missing files from time machine

By James Crawford , to Document Recovery

Updated: Jul 29, 2021

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