How to Recover Lost/Missing/Disappeared Documents Folder on macOS Catalina/Mojave?

By Molly | Posted to Mac Data Recovery, updated on Dec.10th, 2019 |

Summary: Files/folders diappeared from external hard drves or USB drives? This article will show you how to recover lost/missing/disappeared Documents Folder on macOS Mojave/Catalina with professional Mac data recovery software - iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

Since updated my MacBook Pro to macOS 10.14 Mojave, the Documents folder has gone missing from my Finder and Desktop. It just disappeared. How can I get the missing or disappeared Documents folder back where they were? Most importantly, I don't want to lose any files in the Documents folder.

As it is claimed in Apple's official website, using a Mac has always inspired great work and macOS brings advanced and powerful features for everyone. However, troubles like missing Documents folder on Mac are quite often discussed over the internet. Usually, you will be able to access your Documents folder in the sidebar of Finder. But for some reasons, the Documents folder gets missing or disappeared for those who're runing macOS Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra or earlier. Especially, this "Mac Documents folder missing" topic becomes hot every year after the release of new macOS. That is, many people looking for solutions to recover lost files after macOS update.

Has my Documents folder gone missing forever? Not really. In this article, we will show you how to recover files in lost/missing/disappeared Documents folder on Mac.

Table of contents
1. How to recover the lost/missing/disappeared Documents folder on Mac?
  • Method 1: Turn off iCloud Drive to recover missing or disappeared Documents folder
  • Method 2: Recover disappeared or missing Documents folder to Finder
  • Method 3: Disable Desk Stacks to recover disappeared files on macOS Mojave
  • Method 4: Recover files from lost/missing/disappeared Documents folder
2. Bonus Time: Prevent losing files in missing Document folder on macOS Mojave

How to recover the lost/missing/disappeared Documents folder on macOS Mojave?

Well, it's really hard to specify why your Documents folder disappeared on Mac. However, you can simply follow the methods as below and get your files back.

Method 1: Turn off iCloud Drive to recover disappeared Documents folder

macOS Catalina, Mojave and High Sierra allow you to put Desktop and Documents folders in iCloud Drive. Documents that you store in iCloud Drive stay up to date across all of your devices, and you can access them from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC, and on iCloud.com. Therefore, if you have stored Desktop and Documents folder with iCloud Drive, the Desktop and Documents folders will be moved to the iCloud section of your Finder sidebar. In this case, you can turn off iCloud drive to recover the missing Documents folder.

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

Step 2: Click Options.

Step 3: Uncheck Desktop & Documents Folders.

disable icloud desktop and document folders on macOS Mojave

The system will warn you that "If you continue, items will be removed from the Desktop and the Documents folder on this Mac and will remain available in iCloud Drive", this is ok. You can safely continue and open each of the Desktop and Documents folders that are shown in iCloud Drive.

Step 4: Click Done.

To get your Document folder showing up and recover files in it, you can drag the contents of each folder to the now empty Desktop and Documents folders in your Home folder. It will warn you that the files will no longer be available on iCloud Drive--again, that's ok.

Method 2: Recover disappeared or missing Documents folder to Finder

You might have been used to looking for Documents, iCloud Drive, and other storage devices through Finder in macOS. It's called the Finder because it helps you find and organize your files. However, the Documents folder may not appear as you expected sometimes. In this case, if you didn't turn on Desktop and Documents in iCloud Drive, it is likely that missing/disappeared Documents folder is hidden by Finder Preference. You can go to Finder Preference and make it checked.

Step 1: Open the Finder in macOS and click "Finder" from the menu bar.

Step 2: Click Preference.

Step 3: Choose Sidebar tab and tick "Documents".

show Documents folder in Finder

Method 3:Disable Desk Stacks to recover disappeared files on macOS Mojave/Catalina

Stacks is another new feature in macOS Mojave and later. It will automatically organize your files on the Desktop so that your desktop is free of clutter. Whereas, it could be a troublemaker for those who have updated to macOS Mojave/Catalina, in that files seem to be "lost" for you but actually were grouped by macOS. You can go and check which folder your missing files were grouped into and recover them.

Step 1: Select View on the top of your desktop and check Use Stacks.

Step 2: Click Group Stacks By and see in what way your files were grouped.

Step 3: Find your lost/missing files and move them to the place you want.

Method 4: Recover files from lost/missing/disappeared Documents folder

If unfortunately, the Documents folder disappeared or lost for unknown reasons and you failed to recover it with solutions above, there's a final chance to recover files from the missing Documents folder with the assistance of data recovery software.

iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is professional and trustworthy data recovery software for macOS Catalina/Mojave/High Sierra/Sierra and OS X. It's able to recover deleted files even emptied from macOS Mojave Trash, recover lost data after macOS update, recover lost files from external hard drives, USB drives, SD cards, CF cards, etc.

How to recover files from lost/missing/disappeared Documents folder?

Since macOS High Sierra, Apple has added a security mechanism named "System Integrity Protection" (SIP), which prevents any third-party applications from reading startup disk. In order to recover files from lost/missing/disappeared Documents folder on macOS High Sierra and later, you need to temporarily disable SIP before running iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

Step 1: Disable System Integrity Protection (SIP)

1. Boot to Recovery OS by restarting Mac and pressing & holding down Command + R keys at startup.

Disble SIP step 1

2. Click on Utilities at the top menu and choose Terminal.

3. Enter the command: csrutil disable and press Return.

Disble SIP step 2

Step 2: Recover lost/missing/disappeared Documents folder with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery

1. Download and install iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

2. Launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery and choose the hard drive that loads the macOS.

Recover lost/missing/disappeared Documents folder on macOS Mojave

3. Click "Scan" to scan for lost files from the disappeared/missing/lost Documents folder.

4. Preview the results and choose files you want to recover, then click "Recover" button.

Step 3: Enable System Integrity Protection

1. Boot to Recovery OS by restarting Mac and pressing & holding down Command + R keys at startup.

2. Launch Terminal from Utilities.

3. Enter the command: csrutil enable.

Bonus Time: Prevent losing files in missing Document folder on macOS Mojave

There are many reasons for your lost Documents folder, such as faulty configuration, disk corruption, virus attack, etc. If you are lucky enough to find the lost data through manually setting something on your Mac computer, then it would not be a hassle for you.

But what if you are unable to locate where are the files in the disappeared Documents folder? Backing things up is always a risk-free choice. Remember to save important data additionally to another flash drive and lessen the possibility to lose data when Documents folder is missing or disappeared in your Mac.

Molly

Molly is an editor @iBoysoft who frequently shares useful tutorials about data recovery for Windows and Mac.