How to Fix Documents Folder Disappeared/Missing on Mac [2023]

Updated to macOS File Recovery Tips by Robert on Oct 20, 2023 | Approved by Daryl Baxter

All my documents are gone from Mac! It is a problem that happens regularly. Here in this article, we’re going to talk about how to fix the documents folder missing on Mac. You can follow the mentioned 4 ways to fix the problem. And if you have lost files in the Documents folder on Mac, try iBeesoft Documents folder recovery to get them back.

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"Documents disappeared from Mac. What happened? It is not in my favorite area anymore. Where did it go?"

Many people have encountered the same problem. Actually, sometimes the Documents folder does not disappear or is deleted. It is still on your Mac but hidden with some preferences you have set up. The 3 basic reasons for the Mac documents folder missing: iCloud synced Documents folder to iCloud and you had not set the preferences as keep a copy on Mac. Documents folder disappeared on the Mac Finder sidebar. You had not set up the preferences as well. Documents disappeared from a folder on Mac on desktop and you have enabled the stack feature by default. Here are the corresponding solutions to fix documents that disappeared from Mac

Quick Navigation
Solution #1. Set up iCloud Drive Preference to Recover Disappeared Documents Folder
Solution #2. Restore Disappeared Documents folder and Get It Back to Sidebar
Solution #3. Disable Desk Stacks to Get Back Disappeared Documents on Desktop
Solution #4. Retrieve Files from Missing/Disappeared Documents Folder

Solution #1. Set up iCloud Drive Preference to Recover Disappeared Documents Folder

From macOS High Sierra to Catalina, Mac allows users to put Desktop and Documents folders in iCloud Drive. What does it mean? It means the Documents folder in the iCloud drive will update across all your devices, making them accessible wherever you are once you can log in with your iCloud account, leaving Documents folder on your Mac. If you have enabled iCloud Drive, then you will find the Documents folder lost. Do not worry. Disable it in iCloud Drive.

  1. Click the Apple icon on the top left of the panel > System Preferences > iCloud. Then, click Options.
  2. Click to cancel the checkmark before the option "Desktop & Documents Folders".
  3. When a pop-up telling you by doing this, the Desktop & Documents Folder will be removed from the iCloud drive and not appear on iCloud. Please confirm it and click Done.

Solution #2. Restore Disappeared Documents folder and Get It Back to Sidebar

I know that many people check out documents and applications through Finder. However, you can see many people asked "macOS documents folder missing", not appear in favorite. If you have tried solution #1, then the Documents folder must be hidden by Finder preferences. To fix the documents disappeared from Mac and list it in Finder sidebar, here is the way.

  1. Open Finder on Mac and click "Finder" from the top left menu bar.
  2. Click Preference and choose Sidebar tab > tick "Documents".

Solution #3. Disable Desk Stacks to Get Back Disappeared Documents on Desktop

From macOS Mojave to Catalina, Stacks is a new feature to organize files on the desktop, freeing your desktop of clutters. However, it groups files in the same category, sometimes making it hard for users to find the corresponding files visually. You can check out which folder the missing files were grouped and recover them.

  1. On the top of the Mac desktop, select View > Use Stacks.
  2. Select Group Stacks By.
  3. Find missing or disappeared files and move them to a destination where you can easily find them.

Solution #4. Retrieve Files from Missing/Disappeared Documents Folder

Not all disappeared folders can be recovered or restored, like if you have accidentally deleted them, then you can’t get them back. What??? Let all the files in the disappeared folder lost permanently? Can’t it be? Actually, there is a way to make it up, namely recovering files from disappeared/missing Documents folder.

iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac is a powerful and professional data recovery software, developed to help the user get back various types of files lost or missing from Mac. It supports files recovery no matter how they get lost or missing, like deletion, formatting, factory reset, os system failure, etc. Here are the steps for how to restore files from missing or disappeared Documents folder.

  1. Install iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac
  2. Click the DOWNLOAD to get the software installation package. After then, install it on your Mac. It is fully compatible with your macOS. Make sure you have enabled "Allow apps downloaded from Mac App Store and identified developers" before getting the installation.

    If you’re a Windows PC user and want to know how to recover files from disappeared Documents folder, download the software Windows version.

  3. Select file type and destination to scan
  4. Launch the software. From the first window, you can see all supported files are selected by default. You can confirm it or deselect unwanted file types before click "Start". After then, target the destination where your documents folder lost. Select the corresponding hard drive and click "Scan".

  5. Recover files lost from Documents folder
  6. Be patient until you see the scanning is stopped. After then, check out the found file types with file quantities in the left side panel and the details on the right side. When finding the target files, select them and click "Recover" to save them on your computer. If you’re dissatisfied with the scanning result, try the "Deep Scan" feature in the result window. It will find more files for you. It takes longer but with a better results.

The bottom line: do not save your important documents on Desktop or Documents folder by default. Save them somewhere you can find them easily. It’s very important to backup files regularly. If accidents happen, try it to recover deleted files on Mac.