Documents Folder Missing on Mac Sonoma/Ventura? 8 Fixes!

Connie Wisley
May 18, 2023 Preview 29.8K Preview 0
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People search queries like “Documents folder missing Mac” or “Documents folder disappeared from Mac” and hope to find a way to get the missing Documents folder back. This problem is not uncommon. It can occur during everyday use of your Mac or after an upgrade (such as from macOS 13 Ventura to macOS 14 Sonoma).

There can be different situations for a missing document folder on Mac. In some cases, the Documents folder is still there, and it’s easy to make it reappear. In other cases, however, the folder is not on your Mac’s hard drive anymore. This guide will cover all the scenarios and show you how to recover lost Documents folder.

Where is the Documents Folder on Mac (Sonoma/Ventura/Monterey Incl.)?

As so often is the case, how to get through the path of Documents folder on Mac? Just simply launch Finder on your Mac Dock and click on the Documents folder from the left panel. You’ll see all the files and folders stored in the Documents folder. However, if you can’t find Documents folder on Mac, things will become different.


Why has the Documents Folder Disappeared on Mac?

Why is the Documents folder not showing? You’ll get several major reasons as below. The corresponding solutions are put afterwards.

  • iCloud Drive syncing happens to be problematic.
  • The sidebar display of Documents folder is unintentionally turned off.
  • Documents folder is removed from Mac Dock by accident.
  • Desk Stacks feature prevents Documents folder from showing up independently on Mac.
  • Finder settings are configured incorrectly.
  • Human errors result in Documents folder or files missing.


How to Fix Documents Folder Missing on Mac?

In case Mac not showing Documents folder, there is a high possibility that the folder is still existing but invisible on your computer. Here 4 different scenarios will be laid out, helping to get your missing Documents folder back on Mac.

Scenario 1. Mac Documents Folder Missing from Favorites

On Mac, the Documents folder is typically found under the Favorites section in the left sidebar in Finder. If your Documents folder is missing from Favorites and appears under the iCloud section instead, then this method is for you.

If your Mac is running on macOS Sierra or later, then you are able to add the Documents folder (as well as Desktop folder) to iCloud Drive for instant access on all your devices. Once this feature is enabled and set up, the Documents folder will disappear from Favorites, and you can only find it under iCloud section in the Finder Window.

Can you move Documents back to the default location by just disabling the said feature? No, it’s not that simple. You may end up having an empty Documents folder. Check out the steps below.

Steps to Fix Missing Documents Folder on Mac from Favorites

  • Step 1. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud. At present, the files in the Documents folder exist both on your Mac and on iCloud Drive.mac system preference window
  • Step 2. Click Options next to iCloud Drive. In the Documents tab, unselect the checkbox before Desktop & Documents Folders.
    unselect Desktop & Documents Folders
  • Step 3. A warning message will pop up. Click Turn Off and then click Done. Note that this action will remove the files from the Documents folder on your Mac. They still exist in the cloud.
    click Turn Off
  • Step 4. The missing Documents folder is back in Favorites now. However, it’s empty. Go to Favorites > iCloud Drive > Documents (which is newly created). Select all the files and move them back to the old Documents folder. Likewise, you can do the same with your Desktop files.
    iCloud Drive folder in Finder
  • Step 5. Delete the files in the iCloud Drive folder in Finder.


Scenario 2. Documents Folder Missing from Finder on Mac

What if the Documents folder doesn’t show up in Finder sidebar at all? You just can’t find it under Favorites or any other section. You may think that you have accidentally deleted the Documents folder. As a matter of fact, it’s very likely that the folder gets hidden somehow. It’s super easy to make it visible again.

Steps to Fix Documents Folder Missing from Mac's Finder Sidebar

  • Step 1. Open Finder. In the top menu bar, select Finder > Preferences.
  • Step 2. In the Finder Preferences window, select the checkbox next to Documents
    Finder Preferences
  • Step 3. The disappeared Documents folder will appear immediately.


Scenario 3. Documents Folder Disappeared from Mac Dock

If Documents folder unexpectedly disappears from the Mac Dock, you can get it back easily with just three clicks of your mouse.

  • Step 1. Open Finder. Control-click Documents.
  • Step 2. Select the option Add to Dock.
    Add to Dock


Scenario 4. Desk Stacks Leads to Documents Folder Missing on Mac

For macOS Mojave 10.14 or later versions, there’s a new function called Desk Stacks. With Stacks, desktop files will be organized based on the same category and grouped into one location for convenience. If you’re utilizing this feature, it’s possibly to find that the Documents folder has disappeared from your Mac desktop.

Steps to Fix Documents Folder Missing from Mac Desktop

  • Step 1. Select View option from the top menu > click on “Use Stacks”.documents missing from desktop 01
  • Step 2. Choose “Group Stacks By” to check in which way your desktop files are grouped.documents missing from desktop 02
  • Step 3. Find out your Documents folder > revert it back to where it belongs.


Scenario 5. Last Resort: Reset Finder Settings to Fix Documents Folder Missing on Mac

If the 4 methods above don’t meet your need or just fail to tackle the Documents folder problem, as a last resort, try to find disappeared Documents folder back through resetting Finder settings. I have figured out 2 proven ways for your option.

#1 Remove Finder plist folder

  • Step 1. Press Command + Shift + G.
  • Step 2. In the pop-up window, enter “~/Library/Preferences/” and select “Go”.remove finder plist folder 01
  • Step 3. Find and remove the file named finder plist folder 02
  • Step 4. Lastly restart your Mac and check if the missing Documents folder is showing up again.


#2 Use Terminal

  • Step 1. Open Terminal.
  • Step 2. Copy & paste the command: sudo rm ~/Library/Preferences/ into the Terminal window and press Enter.
  • Step 3. Type your admin password if required.terminal reset finder
  • Step 4. Exit Terminal and restart your computer.


Recover Lost/Deleted/Missing Documents Folder or Files on Mac

When it comes to the above-mentioned situations, it’s not hard to get the folder back to normal. However, what if for some reasons it is lost or deleted and no longer there on your Mac? In such a case, you will need to restore the folder from backup (if available) or recover it using data recovery software.

Cisdem Data Recovery for Mac can recover all common file types and formats on different devices. The guide below will show you how to use it to recover Documents folder, files in Documents folder disappeared on mac, and other folders or files on MacBook, iMac, etc.

Main Features of Cisdem Data Recovery

  • A wide variety of supported file types, file systems and devices(see following table)
  • Supports various data loss situations(lost, deletion, poweroff, crash, upgrade, etc.)
  • Repair corrupted videos in mp4, mov, avi, mkv, m4v and so on
  • Preview files before recovery
  • Search specific files with keyword, file size, date created, date modified
  • Recover files to local drive or cloud platforms
  • Safe and read-only recovery process
  • Easy, quick and risk-free
  • Offer free trial and free lifetime upgrades
Supported file types Supported devices Supported file systems

Image: JPG, PNG, GIF, PSD, RAW, BMP, etc.

Audio: MP3, AAC, M4A, FLAC, OGG, RX2, etc.

Video: RM, DV, MKV, MOV, M2TS, MPG, DVR, etc.

Document: DOC, PAGES, KEYNOTE, PDF, MOBI, etc.

Archive: 7Z, DB, ZIP, RAR, ISO, ARJ, XAR, etc.


Mac's internal storage, external HD, SSD, USB flash drive, SD card and more FAT16, FAT32, exFAT, HFS+, ext2, ext3, ext4, NTFS, APFS

Steps to Recover Missing/Lost/Deleted Document Folders or Files on Mac

  1. Download and install Cisdem Data Recovery.
    Free Download macOS 10.9 or later
  2. Select the location where your documents folders are missing.
    Select the drive or partition on which the missing Documents folder is located. Click Search for lost Scan
  3. Preview found folders or files on Mac.
    As scanning goes on, you will be able to see and preview real-time scan results. You can easily preview files and switch view mode. preview and recover
  4. Recover missing folders or files on Mac.
    In the left panel, go to the Type, check all the files you want to recover one by one, then click "Recover" to get it back. Once it finishes recovering, you can find the once-disappeared Documents folder in Finder.recover missing folder mac 03


How to Get Back Disappeared Folders on Mac via Backup?

#1 Get Disappeared Folders Back to Mac with Time Machine Backup

In the case that your documents folders disappeared permanently on your mac and you have a backup with Time Machine, you can get the disappeared folders back on Mac free.

  • Step 1. Connect your Time Machine disk to Mac;
  • Step 2. Go to Finder > Applications > Time Machine, run Time Machine on your Mac;time machine app
  • Step 3. Go to Finder, find document folders in Documents, Desktop or directly search in the spotlight;
  • Step 4. Scroll up and down timeline to choose the version of a disappeared folder, then press Space Bar to preview;
  • Step 5. Click “Restore” to get the disappeared folders back to Mac.restore missing Documents folder from Time Machine

#2 Get Disappeared Folders Back to Mac with iCloud Backup

Still, if you have backed up the folders in your iCloud account, you can use this online free storage service to get your disappeared folders back to Mac.

  • Step 1. Go to iCloud webpage and login into your iCloud account;recover from icloud backup 01
  • Step 2. Go to Data Recovery > Restore Files;recover from icloud backup 02
  • Step 3. Choose the files in your disappeared folder, then click “Restore File” and move the restored files into a foder if necessary.recover from icloud backup 03


Don’t worry if the Documents folder on your Mac goes missing. In most cases, it’s still on your Mac, safe and sound. You can effortlessly bring it back. If, unfortunately, you have lost or deleted the folder or some files in it. It’s also easy to get them recovered. In addition, it’s strongly recommended to regularly backup Documents and other important folders on Mac.

Connie Wisley
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Connie has been writing for Mac productivity and utility apps since 2009. Each review and solution is based on her practical tests, she is aways energetic and trustworthy in this field.

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