System Settings And Customization

Why did my Mac desktop icons disappear?

Have you ever wondered why your Mac desktop icons disappeared?

Relaunch Finder and Restart Your Mac

If your Mac desktop icons have disappeared, one possible solution is to relaunch Finder and restart your Mac. Sometimes, a simple restart can resolve issues with missing icons on your desktop.

To relaunch Finder, you can do so by clicking on the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen, then selecting “Force Quit.” From there, select Finder and click on the “Relaunch” button.

After relaunching Finder, you can also try restarting your Mac by clicking on the Apple menu and selecting “Restart.”

If relaunching Finder and restarting your Mac does not bring back your desktop icons, you may want to check your Desktop & Screen Saver settings in System Preferences to make sure they are correctly configured.

It’s also a good idea to check if your icons are being synced via iCloud, as issues with iCloud syncing can sometimes cause desktop icons to disappear.

Unhide All Icons on Your Desktop

  • Click on your desktop to make sure you are in the Finder
  • Go to the menu bar and click on View
  • Hover over Show View Options
  • Check the box next to Show Desktop Icons

Restore Icons Using iCloud Drive

If your Mac desktop icons have disappeared, you can try restoring them using iCloud Drive.

First, open Finder on your Mac.

Click on “Go” in the top menu bar.

Select “iCloud Drive” from the dropdown menu.

Look for a folder labeled “Desktop” within iCloud Drive.

Drag and drop any missing icons from the Desktop folder back onto your desktop.

If your icons still do not appear, you may need to check your iCloud Drive settings or preferences to ensure that desktop syncing is enabled.

Remember to regularly back up your important files to prevent any data loss in the future.

Remove Corrupted Preferences Files

To remove corrupted preference files on your Mac and potentially restore your missing desktop icons, follow these steps:

First, navigate to the Finder on your Mac desktop.

Next, click on “Go” in the menu bar at the top of the screen.

Then, select “Go to Folder” from the drop-down menu.

In the text box that appears, type “~/Library/Preferences” and press Enter.

Locate any preference files that may be causing issues, such as those related to the Dock or Finder.

Delete these files by dragging them to the Trash.

After deleting the files, restart your Mac.

Upon rebooting, your system will create new preference files, which may help restore your missing desktop icons.

If the issue persists, you may need to further troubleshoot or seek assistance from Apple Support.

Boot in Safe Mode and Update macOS

To troubleshoot your missing Mac desktop icons, try booting your computer in Safe Mode and updating macOS.

Boot in Safe Mode: Restart your Mac and immediately press and hold the Shift key until the Apple logo appears. Safe Mode will help isolate any software issues that may be causing the icons to disappear.

Update macOS: Make sure your operating system is up to date by clicking on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of the screen, selecting “About This Mac,” and then clicking “Software Update.” Follow the on-screen instructions to install any available updates.

If the issue persists after booting in Safe Mode and updating macOS, you may need to reset the Finder preferences or rebuild the desktop icons. You can do this by accessing the Finder menu and selecting “Preferences” or by navigating to the Library folder on your hard drive and deleting the file.

Use a Missing Folder Recovery Tool

First, download and install a reliable Missing Folder Recovery Tool on your Mac. These tools are designed to scan your system for missing or deleted folders and recover them effectively.

Next, launch the recovery tool and follow the on-screen instructions to start the scanning process. The tool will search your Mac’s hard drive for any missing folders and display them for you to recover.

Select the missing folder you want to recover and choose a safe location to save it. Make sure to save the folder to a different location to avoid overwriting any existing data.

Once the recovery process is complete, check your desktop to see if the missing icons have been restored. If not, you may need to repeat the process or seek further assistance from a professional.

Reset the Mac Dock and Adjust System Preferences

In the Terminal window, type the following command: defaults delete; killall Dock. Press “Enter” to execute the command. This will reset the Dock to its default settings.

After resetting the Dock, you can also adjust system preferences to ensure that your desktop icons are displayed correctly. To do this, click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of the screen and select “System Preferences.” In the System Preferences window, click on “Desktop & Screen Saver.”

Here, you can customize your desktop settings and ensure that the appropriate options are selected for displaying icons. Make any necessary changes and close the System Preferences window. Your desktop icons should now be visible.


How do I get my desktop icons back on my Mac?

To get your desktop icons back on your Mac, you can try these 6 best methods for restoring disappeared desktop items.

Why did all my desktop icons disappear?

All your desktop icons disappeared because you may have accidentally unchecked the option to show desktop icons. To fix this, right-click on the desktop, go to View, and ensure that the option to show desktop icons is selected. Additionally, check if you have accidentally switched to another desktop by pressing Windows+Tab.

Why did everything on my Mac desktop disappeared?

It is possible that everything on your Mac desktop disappeared due to changes in the dock or taskbar settings, a third-party application altering desktop settings, changes during an update or OS repair, or modifications in the overall display or system settings on your Mac.

How do I get my apps back on my Mac desktop?

To get your apps back on your Mac desktop, simply open the app to make its icon reappear in the Dock. Then, control-click the app’s icon and choose Options > Keep in Dock. You can also rearrange items in the Dock by dragging them to a new location.

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