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Oct 26, 2020 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

'Everything on my desktop disappeared on Mac out of the blue. Can someone tell me how to restore my Mac desktop and get back Mac icons?'

It might sound surprising, but a lot of Mac users undergo issues like this related to their Mac folder icons, dock, and desktop. For instance, the chances are that some folders can get disappeared from the desktop on Mac unexpectedly, or your Mac toolbar can get hidden as well. Don't worry – we are here to help you with every essential solution regarding Mac desktop and other related problems.

In this guide, we will discuss stepwise solutions related to numerous Mac desktop issues and even teach you how to get back lost Mac folders.

Why Does Everything on Desktop Disappear on Mac?

Before we discuss various Mac desktop issues, it is important to learn what could have caused them in the first place. When everything on my desktop disappeared on Mac, I tried to diagnose the problem and discovered the following reasons behind it:

  • You could have accidentally deleted a file or icon from the desktop.
  • The chances are that you might have disabled dock or taskbar.
  • A third-party application could have changed your desktop settings.
  • Mac settings would have been altered during an update or OS repair.
  • There might be some change in the overall display or system settings on Mac.
  • A clash between some other kernel and local OS process could have caused the issue.
  • A broken firmware process or tamper with macOS can also cause the same.
  • Sometimes, a virus or malware attack can also make your desktop icons or dock disappear.

Problem 1: Folders Disappeared From Desktop Mac

When it comes to everything disappearing from the desktop, the first problem must be the missing folders or hidden Mac folder icons. There would be a problem with system settings, or you might have accidentally deleted something as well. Don't worry – we have an easy solution for both of these issues.

1. Disable the iCloud Drive Sync

Many users have noticed that when the iCloud sync option is enabled on their Mac, it leads to the temporary unavailability of certain folders on the desktop. This is because while iCloud syncs the data, the relevant Mac folder icons become missing or hidden. If you want, you can wait for the sync to finish or disable it altogether.

  1. Firstly, go to your Mac's System Preferences and open the iCloud application.
  2. From here, disable the iCloud Drive option by unchecking it.
  3. If you want, you can also go to its 'Options' to further customize things.

In the end, close the iCloud application on your Mac and go to the desktop to see if the icons are still missing or not on Mac.

2. Use a Missing Folder Recovery Tool

If you have accidentally deleted a folder from your Mac's desktop, then this would be an ideal solution for you. With Recoverit Mac Folder Recovery software's help, you can get back all kinds of deleted and lost content.

This includes the deleted folders on Mac as well. The tool is developed by Wondershare and is extremely easy to use. It can help you recover data lost due to a virus attack, formatted disk, accidental deletion, corrupt storage, and every other common scenario. The application features different scanning modes and is known for its high data recovery rate.

You can get the Mac desktop folder or any other content back using Recoverit by following these steps.

Step 1: Select the desktop disk.

Go to the official website of Wondershare Recoverit and install the recovery tool on your Mac. When you launch it, you can select a location to scan. In this case, we will be performing data recovery on Mac's internal hard drive (Macintosh HD) instead of any other connected source.

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Step 2: Scan the desktop disk.

As soon as you click on the 'Start' button, Recoverit will take the needed steps for data extraction. If you want positive results, then try not to close the application in between.

Step 3: Preview and recover desktop folders.

When the data recovery process is completed, the application will display the results on the interface. You can go to any category of your choice from here and preview the retrieved content. Make the needed selection and click on the 'Recover' button to save your files to a secure location.

In this way, you can easily get your documents that were disappeared back on Mac. If the quick scan could not fulfill your requirements, you could do a deep scan as well. To do this, click on the 'All-around Recovery' and wait as Recoverit would extract data from your Mac's storage. While the deep scan would take more time than the quick scan, the results would also be far better.

How to Recover Desktop Files on Mac

Problem 2: Downloaded Folder on Mac's Dock Disappeared

If you are a regular Mac user, you must be familiar with the Downloads folder on Mac's dock. By default, the Downloads folder is available on the dock for us to access with a single click. Nevertheless, there are times when the Downloads folder gets disappeared from Mac's dock. You would have done it by mistake, or an overwriting of settings could have also caused the same issue. To fix this and get the Download folder back on the dock, follow these steps:

1. Drag the Downloads Folder from the Home Directory

This is the easiest and the fastest solution to get the Downloads folder back on Mac's dock. Firstly, we will go to the Home directory to access the folder, and later we will reposition it on the dock.

  1. First, click on the 'Go' option on the menu and open the Home directory from here.
  2. Once the Home directory is opened, you can access multiple folders from here. Find the 'Downloads' folder where all the downloaded data is stored.
  3. Now, drag the Downloads folder and drop it to a relevant position on the dock. This will make the Downloads folder reappear on the dock.
If you accidentally removed downloads on your Mac computer, you need to know the best way of recovering deleted downloaded files and folders.

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2. Reset the Mac Dock

If the dock on your Mac is not working in an ideal manner, then you should consider resetting it as well. This will restore the dock to its default settings, which would automatically have the Downloads icon present. Here's how you can quickly reset the dock and even resolve issues as the Mac dock disappeared.

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  1. Click on the 'Go' option from the menu and visit the 'Utilities' folder.
  2. Here, you can view all the utility tools on your Mac. Launch the Terminal app from here.
  3. Now, enter the following commands on Terminal and press Enter: defaults delete com.apple.dock; killall Dock
  4. Close Terminal and try to access the Downloads folder on the dock once again.

Problem 3: Mac Desktop Icons Disappeared

A lot of times, users complain that their Mac's desktop icons have been disappeared. Why did Mac desktop icons disappear? What can make the icons gone? Sometimes missing icons are due to disk permissions or a macOS fault. In most cases, the reason is simple. An application could have overwritten the desktop icon settings, making them hidden or go missing. Therefore, if you wish to get your Mac icons back, then follow these steps.

  1. Click on the Finder on your desktop and go to its Preferences.
  2. Once the Finder Preferences tab is opened, go to its General section.
  3. Here, you can see an option to show various icons on Mac. Just make sure that the relevant options (like hard disk, connected drives, etc.) are enabled here.

Problem 4: Toolbar on Mac Disappeared

The toolbar is one of the most important features on Mac's desktop, which is often termed as the 'menu bar' by many. Apart from having the icons of the important apps, it also gives us access to numerous settings and tools. Also, it displays time, notifications and helps us manage our system. Though, there could be a change in your system's settings that might have made the Mac toolbar hidden. You can easily fix the Mac toolbar missing issue by following these solutions.

1. Use System Preferences to Show the Toolbar

Just like the dock, you can also get back the Mac toolbar hidden on your desktop via System Preferences.

  1. Firstly, go to the Apple menu on the top left and visit System Preferences.
  2. From here, visit the General preference panel settings to explore the available options.
  3. Under the Appearance section, you can view an option for 'Automatically hide and show the menu bar.' Just disable this feature by unchecking the box to make the toolbar stay on Mac's desktop.

2. Exit the Full-Screen Mode

Mac comes with a full-screen feature that lets us have an uninterrupted and wider view of the screen. While the full-screen mode is good for watching videos, it makes the Mac toolbar hidden, making it harder for you to access its settings. Therefore, you can exit the full-screen mode to get the toolbar back.

To exit the full-screen mode, go to the menu bar location, and hover the cursor. Once you see it, go to the 'View' menu and click on 'Exit Full Screen.'

Additionally, you can also use the keyboard shortcuts to do the same as well. Just press the Command + Control + F keys at the same time to exit the full-screen mode and get back to the toolbar on your Mac.

Problem 5: Mac Dock Disappeared

As you know, the dock is the inbuilt feature of Mac that allows us to access all the vital apps and settings quickly. Ideally, you can customize your Mac's dock as per your needs. Sometimes, while customizing, users end up hiding the dock by mistake. Also, a sudden change in your OS can cause this problem. When my dock disappeared on my Mac, I followed these steps, and it quickly solved the problem.

1. Use System Preferences to Hide or Show the Dock

The easiest way to fix the Mac dock disappeared is by visiting the System Preferences on your Mac and changing the dock settings.

  1. Firstly, go to the Apple logo on the top and click on the 'System Preferences' button.
  2. From the System Preferences window, you can open the 'Dock' settings.
  3. Here, you can see an option for 'Automatically hide and show the Dock.' Ensure that the feature is disabled (unchecked) so that the dock will stay visible all the time.

2. Use the Keyboard to Show or Hide the Dock

As you know, Mac has a setting to hide the dock automatically, and it will only be visible when we hover the mouse over it. If you still can't access the dock, follow this quick drill to fix the Mac dock disappeared issue.

  1. Move the mouse arrow over the dock to view it or press the Option + D keys simultaneously.
  2. Once the dock is visible, right-click it to get its context menu.
  3. From here, click on the 'Turn Hiding Off' option, which will make the dock static and visible permanently.

After reading this post, you would resolve queries related to the toolbar on Mac disappeared, or Mac dock disappeared. From getting back the missing dock to desktop icons, we have listed solutions for every common issue. If the Mac folder icons are missing on the desktop, then consider using Recoverit Data Recovery to get them back. If you have accidentally deleted some files, you will retrieve them using this reliable data recovery tool. You can also download it for free on your Mac and use it when needed to recover missing files and folders without any trouble.

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Now there's an app for every media type

With macOS Catalina, your music, videos, podcasts, and audiobooks are organized in to their own dedicated apps — the Apple Music app, Apple TV app, Apple Podcasts app, and Apple Books app. You can also access your iTunes Store purchases in these apps.

If you have a PC, you can continue to use iTunes for Windows to manage your media library, make purchases, and manually sync and manage your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

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Finder is the new place to back up, update, or restore your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Just connect your device to your Mac and it appears in the Finder sidebar. And you can easily drag and drop files to your device.

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After you update to macOS Catalina, just open the Apple Music app or Apple TV app to use your iTunes library in the new apps. Have multiple iTunes libraries? Learn how to switch between them in macOS Catalina.

If you open the Apple Podcasts app or Apple Books app first, you won't see any of your media until you open the Apple Music app or Apple TV app.

Here are some things to know

  • The Apple Music app and Apple TV app read the contents of your iTunes library — so don't delete your iTunes library.
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Where's my media?

Here's where you can find your entire media collection, access your iTunes Store purchases, and synced libraries.

All of your music is now in the Apple Music app

The Apple Music app is where you can find all of your music, including music that you imported in to iTunes, purchased from the iTunes Store, and playlists and smart playlists that you created in iTunes. And if you subscribe to Apple Music, you can stream and download millions of songs, and access your entire music library across all of your devices.

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Looking for the iTunes Store?

If you don't see the iTunes Store in the sidebar, here's how to find it:

  1. Open the Apple Music app.
  2. In the menu bar, choose Music > Preferences.
  3. Go to the General tab and select iTunes Store.
  4. Click OK.

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Everything you watch is now in the Apple TV app

The Apple TV app is the new home for all of your movies, TV shows, and home videos — including your purchases from iTunes. Browse movies and TV shows that you can buy, rent movies, and subscribe to just the channels that you want to watch. And soon you can discover new favorites with Apple TV+.

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Find podcasts in the Apple Podcasts app

Find all of the shows that you’ve subscribed to or added to iTunes in the Apple Podcasts app. Continue listening to your favorite podcast episodes. And discover new shows that you might like based on the ones that you’re already listening to.

Listen with the Apple Podcasts app.

Listen to audiobooks in the Apple Books app

Find your audiobooks, including the ones that you purchased from iTunes, in the Apple Books app. Discover new books to read in the Book Store. Or buy audiobooks from the new Audiobook Store so you can listen on the go.

Check out the Apple Books app.

The Apple Music app, Apple TV app, Apple Podcast app, and Apple Books app aren’t available in all countries and regions. Learn what’s available in your country or region.