Icons Missing On Dock Apps After Mac Hard Drive Update

Icons Missing On Dock Apps After Mac Hard Drive Update Average ratng: 3,5/5 8231 reviews

Oct 12, 2019  Some users are reporting that the Dock keeps disappearing forcing users to restart their computers multiple times a day. If you notice that your Dock is missing after you update, then this article is for you. The Dock offers a great way to easily access your favorite apps. So when it is missing, you may find that very annoying.


There are times when your Mac desktop files or icons disappear all of a sudden. Sometimes, you may find everything on my desktop disappeared on Mac. This page guides you to turn the icons back on, restore icons missing on Mac immediately. Learn how to restore missing desktop files and icons on Mac with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac and other manual methods on your own.

When the desktop files and drive icons disappear on your Mac, stay calm. Accordingly, due to macOS or Mac OS X update, personal settings, and careless operations, you may find Mac desktop files and icons not sowing.

Follow through the two parts below to display your disappeared Mac desktop icons and restore the lost files with ease:

Workable SolutionsStep-by-step Troubleshooting
Phrase 1. Display Missing iConsMethod 1. Use Finder..Full steps
Method 2. Use Time Machine Backup..Full steps
Phrase 2. Get Missing FilesMethod 1. Use Mac Desktop File Recovery Software..Full steps
Method 2. Use iCloud Backup..Full steps
Method 3. Use Time Machine Backup..Full steps
Method 4. Use Stacks..Full steps
Method 5. Use Trash..Full steps

Everything on My Mac Desktop Disappeared, Help

Don't worry if you are having a similar case as listed here, you can continue reading and find the right solution to make your Mac desktop icon showing and restore all missing files on your own.

Case 1 - Everything on my desktop disappeared on Mac computer, need help!

'Hello, after saving a .xls file on my desktop, all my desktop files and folders disappeared! Impossible to find them, also my bin was empty too, nothing to find or delete. Also, I didn't do any back up in the past to restore. What's worse, some drive icons are also missing! Those files and folders are really important as they are work-related. What should I try? Please, urgent help is needed. Thanks!'

Case 2 - Mac desktop files not showing, seemed lost, after macOS update.

'Does someone know how to bring the lost desktop files back after macOS update? My desktop files not showing after macOS update, how do I do? Do I still have a chance to restore them?'

Why Did Everything on My Desktop Disappear on Mac?

At times you might notice that files and icons from your Mac desktop are missing or they have just disappeared. Here are the normal reasons:

  1. #1. macOS or Mac OS X update causes Mac desktop icons and items lost
  2. #2. Default settings of Finder that makes no icons and items appear on Mac desktop
  3. #3. Set files to hide on Mac
  4. #4. The false operation that delete items on Mac

It is really shocking especially for those who have stored important files, folders, and icons on the Mac desktop. However, before you assume that they are permanently gone from your Mac desktop, refer the following points to see if you can restore disappeared files and icons from the desktop.

Part 1. Show and Retrieve Missing Mac Icons

It is easy to find missing Windows icons. But when it comes to Mac, most people become confused. It's the Finder that controls the display of Mac desktop and all of its icons, including drive icons of storage devices.

Usually, when you install macOS or upgrade Mac OS X, it renders the desktop without the drive icons by default. Sometimes, misoperations cause desktop icons missing from the desktop.

Luckily, you can show the disappeared Mac desktop icons by using either of the following methods.

Method 1. Show Missing Mac iCons using Finder

By changing the Finder's default settings, you can effectively make the desktop display the missing icons again.

Step 1. Click on the desktop or open a Finder window.

Step 2. From the menu bar, select 'Finder Preferences'.

Step 3. In the Finder Preferences window that opens, click the 'General tab'.

You'll see a list of devices that can have their associated icon displayed on your desktop.

Step 4. Place a checkmark next to the items you wish to display on the desktop.

After this, close the Finder Preferences window. The selected items will display on the desktop again.

Method 2. Retrieve Disappeared Mac Desktop iCons from Times Machine Backup


Pre-condition: You have created a Time Machine backup of your Mac desktop before the icons and files missed.

When you lost desktop settings, you can also try to bring them back by running Time Machine backup recovery. It will bring you back to the date before Mac desktop icons disappearing.

Let's see how to retrieve the disappeared Mac desktop icons:

Step 1. Connect the external Time Machine backup disk to Mac. Enter 'Time Machine' from the Time Machine menu.

Step 2. Use the timeline or up and down arrow browse and select the backup point.

Step 3. Press 'Space' bar to preview and see whether it's the one you want.

Step 4. Click 'Restore' to restore the selected file.

After this, you can view and check items like icons saved on your Mac desktop again, including the missing files.

Part 2. Recover Missing Desktop Files/Folders on Mac

There are several ways that can help to find the missing files from the Mac desktop. Check out the workable methods and follow to restore desktop files on Mac now.

Note that the former method is presented, the more effective it will be.

Quick Fix. Check If the Desktop Files Are Hidden

Mac has a built-in application called Terminal. Using this application, you can search, delete, or modify files and folders. You can also use it to check if desktop files are hidden or missing.

Here are the steps:

Step 1. Go to Mac terminal on Mac.

Step 2. Type defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles true and press Return.

Step 3. Type killall Finder and hit Return.

This will close Mac Terminal and shows those hidden files on your Mac desktop. If this technique doesn't work, recover files from the empty Mac desktop with Mac desktop files recovery software.

Method 1. Restore Mac Desktop Files/Folders Using Mac Desktop File Recovery Software

Applies to: All levels of Mac users to restore missing Mac desktop files and folders.

Work on: Latest macOS 10.15.5 (Catalina)/10.15.4 and even older Mac OS X, like 10.9.

When your saved items lost on Mac desktop, professional Mac data recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac can scan the hard drive to scan and find disappeared files from Mac Desktop. It can smoothly restore disappeared files from Mac desktop without any difficulties.

Many users have used this application to recover 200+ files, Keynotes, Pages documents, AbiWord files, MS Office files, archive files, PDF documents from Mac desktop. Download this effective desktop file recovery software and get the desktop files back.

Moreover, if you only need to recover a few files less than 2GB, you may try the free version of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac. It works exactly the same as the pro version.

Steps to Restore Missing/Lost Mac Desktop Files

Step 1. Select the disk location (it can be an internal HDD/SSD or a removable storage device) where you lost data and files. Click the Scan button.

Step 2. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac will immediately scan your selected disk volume and display the scanning results on the left pane.

Step 3. In the scan results, select the file(s) and click Recover Now button to have them back.

After this, you can save the found files back to your Mac desktop and use them again.

Method 2. Restore Lost Mac Desktop Files via iCloud Backup

Applies to: iCloud users who have set up iCloud to Sync Mac files, restore missing Mac desktop files from iCloud backup.

Works on: All Mac computers with iCloud backup.

If you have synced Mac files to your iCloud, you can immediately bring the lost or missing desktop files like documents back via your iCloud account.

Here are the steps:

Step 1. Go to iCloud.com and sign in with your account and password.

Step 2. Click iCloud Settings and scroll to the bottom, click 'Restore Files' under Advanced section.

Step 3. Tick the boxes of your lost files on Mac, and click 'Restore'.

Method 3. Restore Not Showing Mac Files via Time Machine Backup

Applies to: Restore lost Mac files via Time Machine backup.

Works on: All Mac computers.

Being similar to iCloud backup recovery, if you have created a backup of your Mac files to a Time Machine backup disk, you can also immediately bring them back on your Mac desktop.

For a detailed guide, you can revert to Method 2 in Part 1 for help.

Method 4. Use Stacks to Find Missing Desktop Files on Mac

Applies to: Re-organize and make Mac desktop files show up.

Works on: macOS Catalina, Mojave, etc.

If you are using the latest macOS on your computer, such as macOS Catalina, Mojave, you can use Stacks on your computer to automatically organize your desktop files by file type.

When you lose or missing files on the Mac desktop, try Stacks. It may surprise you.

Step 1. On Mac desktop, right-click an empty space to bring up the Context Menu. How to close apps on mac.

Step 2. Uncheck 'Use Stacks'.

Step 3. Repeat Step 1 again, and check 'Use Stacks' this time.

After this, you may find the missing files back on your desktop again.

Method 5. Restore Missing Mac Desktop Files from Trash

Applies to: All levels of Mac users to bring deleted files saved on Mac desktop from Trash.

Works on: All macOS and Mac OS X platforms.

When you lost files on Mac desktop, you may mistakenly dragged them into the Trash bin. Then you can try to find the in the Trash.

Here are the steps:

Step 1. Open Trash Bin on Mac desktop, find the files that you lost.

Step 2. Drag the files you want to recover back to the desktop.

Or you can right-click on the file and select 'Put Back'.


On this page, we explained why do the desktop icons and saved items disappeared on Mac, and also covered several practical methods to help you find and restore the missing icons on Mac desktop.

To make everything work fine on your Mac, you need first display Mac icons using methods in Part 1. Then you can apply file recovery tips such as to let EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac help and retrieve Mac desktop files.

After finishing all the operations, your jobs are done. You can use your Mac icons and files again.

Summary: Mac won't boot after Catalina update? Lost everything stored on your Mac after macOS Catalina or Big Sur upgrade? Want to downgrade from macOS Big Sur to Catalina? Don't freak out! Free download the best data recovery software for macOS - iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac to recover lost/missing files after macOS update, and then go ahead to find solutions.

Table of contents
1. What's new in macOS 11 Big Sur?
2. How to recover lost/missing files after macOS Catalina/Big Sur update?
3. Potential problems after macOS update
4. How to downgrade from macOS Big Sur to Catalina?
5. Final thoughts

What's new in macOS 11 Big Sur?

When everyone is looking forward to macOS 10.16, the next major release of macOS - macOS 11 Big Sur comes out in WWDC 2020. Like every macOS update, macOS Big Sur has a bunch of great features.

  • The biggest new feature is the refined user interface, which includes reworked icons, menus, Control Center, Notification Center, and Widgets, Finder, etc.
  • Built-in software updates including Safari, Stocks, Messages, Mails, Calendar, Notes, Music, and Podcasts, etc.
  • Catalyst has been updated. Mac Catalyst is a developer's tool, but users will benefit from it by better experiencing a favorite iPhone or iPad app on Mac machine.

macOS Big Sur is expected to be released in September or October if it's not delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more detailed features, you can click to see the Big Sur preview from Apple's official site.

But before the official releasement, macOS 11 Big Sur Beta opens the gate for more people who are interested in testing out the upcoming software on their Macs and providing feedback for improvements.

Lost files after upgrading to macOS Catalina/Big Sur, help!

Hi all, after recently trying to update to macOS from Catalina to Big Sur, my entire hard drive has been wiped. Nothing on my desktop, documents, mail, folders, etc. and the files I used most often all disappeared. The applications are there but that's it. I search for Trash, but no luck. Very annoying. Is there any way I can restore the lost files?

As macOS Big Sur is coming with many attractive features, you probably already have upgraded to the new operating system. However, like the problems found in macOS Catalina update, macOS Big Sur could also run into troubles in updating. The worst part is, just like what happened above, some Mac users reported that after macOS upgrade, files on their MacBook or iMac are gone. If you have encountered a similar situation, try the following solutions to recover lost files after macOS Catalina or Big Sur update.

How to recover missing files after macOS Catalina/Big Sur update?

Before upgrading to macOS 10.15 or macOS 11, you should make a backup of your Mac. This is always a good idea in case the changes bring something unexpected like data loss. But if you forgot to back up important files, no worries! You can follow the steps below:

Solution 1:Check another folder

This had happened in macOS Catalina update last year. Apple Developer indicated in macOS 10.15 release notes that Macintosh HD contains files on the root of the volume, so files/folders stored at the root level of the volume will be relocated to /Library/SystemMigration/History/Migration-UUID/QuarantineRoot/ when the Mac upgrades to macOS Catalina. So, you can go to this folder to check if you can find those relocated items after macOS Big Sur update as well.

Solution 2:Restore lost data from Time Machine Backup

When it comes to restoring some of those files or your entire Mac, Time Machine app makes it easy. But this method works well only if you have Time Machine backups. You can try the following steps to see if you can restore lost data from Time Machine Backup.

1. Restore specific files/folders from your Time Machine backup

If you only want to restore specific files and folders from a Time Machine Backup, you can restore them by proceeding with this tutorial.

Step 1: Open up Launchpad on Mac and click Other.

Step 2: Find the Time Machine icon and click it to enter.

Tips: You can also open Time Machine by clicking the Time Machine icon in the menu bar and then choose Enter Time Machine. If the Time Machine icon isn't in the menu bar, go to Apple menu and choose System Preferences, click Time Machine and then check the box next to Show Time Machine in menu bar.

Step 3: Use the arrows at the bottom and timeline on the left to browse the backups.

Step 4: Select the files or folders that you want to recover and click Store.

2. Restore your Mac from a Time Machine backup

If your Mac crashes and you lose it all after upgrading to macOS Catalina, you can use Time Machine backups to restore your Mac.

Step 1: Restart your Mac and while the startup disc is walking up, hold down the Command + R keys simultaneously. Your Mac will boot into macOS Recovery mode and you will see the macOS Utilities window. (If your Mac won't boot into macOS Recovery mode, please try again).

Step 2: Select Restore from Time Machine Backup; under the macOS Utilities and click Continue.

Step 3: Read the info on the Restore Your System page and click Continue.

Step 4: Select the disk that contains the Time Machine backup and click Continue.

Step 5: You will see a list of all versions of backups in the form of APFS snapshot. Choose the most recent backup of your hard disk and click Continue. Your Mac will restore the Mac from the selected version of backup and then restart once it is finished.

Solution 3:Recover lost files from the iCloud backup

If the Time Machine Restore failed or greyed out, you can rely on iCloud Drive. As the most common cloud storage service on iOS and Mac computers, iCloud drives are used to store and sync files between various devices. People store more and more items into iCloud storage in order to reduce the local storage space of Macs. But don't ignore the hidden restore feature on iCloud. With this feature, you can recover deleted/lost files, recover photos, videos, contacts, bookmarks, calendars, and reminders from iCloud backup.

Step 1: Go to iCloud.com in any web browser and log in.

Step 2: Click on the Setting icon and then scroll down to the bottom of the page that appears.

Step 3: At the bottom left, click on Restore Files under Advanced.

Tips: If you want to restore contacts, bookmarks, calendars and reminders from iCloud, click the corresponding option under Advanced.

Step 4: Check off the boxes to the left of the files you want to restore or click Select All if you really need to restore everything. Click the Restore button to recover them to iCloud Drive.

Solution 4:Recover lost data with the best data recovery software

Unable to restore files from Time Machine backup or iCloud Drive? Relax! You still have a chance to recover lost data with professional Mac data recovery software.

iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac is the best file recovery software for macOS. It can recover missing files after macOS update, recover lost data after downgrading from macOS Big Sur to macOS Catalina (vice versa), recover lost data from Mac startup disk. Even when your Mac won't boot after macOS Catalina update, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac can handle it with ease. What's worth mentioning that the program is the most comprehensive APFS data recovery software. It can easily and completely recover recently deleted files, recover lost data from formatted, corrupted, inaccessible APFS volumes/drives.

Besides, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac works on different storage media, including hard drives, external hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, memory cards, CF cards, etc. It can support almost all file types including photos, videos, documents, emails on Mac.

Note: iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac now supports data recovery on macOS 10.15 Catalina, and the version that is fully compatible with macOS Big Sur is under development and will be unveiled soon.

Tutorial to recover lost data after macOS 10.15 Catalina update

Step 1: To avoid overwriting the lost files, please download iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac to an external drive, instead of your Mac startup disk.

Step 2: Double click iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac installation file, then double click iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac icon to directly run it.

Step 3: After launching iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac, select the startup disk where you lost data.

Step 4: Click Scan to search for all lost files on the startup disk.

Step 5: Preview the listed recoverable files, choose those you want and click Recover to get them back.

Tips: If you can't see the desired files, you need to check File types option in the Preferences panel, check the Deep scan option and try again.

Potential problems with macOS Catalina/Big Sur upgrade

Whether it is a beta version or a public release, the operating system upgrades or updates were designed to go smoothly but things always didn't go as what you have expected. It's possible that you might get into more troubles than the previous macOS has as a whole. Here are some potential problems after macOS upgrades.

Icons Missing On Dock Apps After Mac Hard Drive Update Download

Case 1: macOS Catalina/Big Sur won't download

The most common problem is that users fail to download the upgrades of macOS Catalina or Big Sur. This is because a lot of people are trying to download the new macOS 11 Big Sur at the same time. Meanwhile, downloading may also fail if you don't have a reliable internet connection or enough storage space available on your Mac. If you have tried several times but macOS updates still won't download, here is what to do exactly to fix this issue:

Fix 1: Clean App store and download cache

Go to Finder and press ⌘ + Shift + G. Locate ~/Library/Caches/com.apple.appstore and empty this folder. Then reboot your Mac and try to download macOS Catalina upgrades again.

Fix 2: Check the internet

To check the internet, go to Apple menu and then click on System Preferences. Next select Next from the Control Panel. You can try to switch a Wi-Fi connection to an Ethernet cable in order to ensure your internet connection is as stable as possible.

Fix 3: Check the RAM (memory) and available storage

To check whether your Mac has enough space to download the new macOS Big Sur, you need to click on the Apple menu on the top left of your screen and then select 'About This Mac'. Make sure you have less than 4 GB of memory. Then click on the Storage tab on the same window. You will see how much storage has been used and how much free space is available (make sure you have at least 16 GB of free disk space). If your computer doesn't have enough space, you can add more memory or free up as much as disk space as possible.

Case 2: macOS Big Sur won't install

The macOS Big Sur installation stops at 99% loading bar and won't move forward? This can sometimes point to a compatibility issue. From the preview of macOS 11 Big Sur, you can ensure that your Mac is actually compatible with Catalina

Fix: Check if your Mac can run macOS Big Sur

Firstly, you should check your Mac model and make sure you have a Mac that can run macOS Big Sur. You will see your model specifications from the a list of all the Macs that can currently run macOS 11:

  • MacBook models from early 2015 or later
  • MacBook Air models from 2013 or later
  • MacBook Pro models from 2013 or later
  • Mac mini models from late 2014 or later
  • iMac models from late 2014 or later
  • iMac Pro from 2017 and later
  • Mac Pro models from 2013 and later

Moreover, the new version cannot be installed onto an encrypted volume unless it's already in the APFS format. Last but not least, if your Mac has macOS 10.10 or earlier installed, you must first upgrade to macOS 10.14 Mojave or High Sierra before upgrading to macOS 11. If unfortunately, your Mac computer doesn't support macOS Big Sur, you should not upgrade or you can downgrade to the lower version.

Case 3: Apps freeze, crash or quit unexpectedly after macOS upgrade

App crashing after a macOS update is related to app incompatibility issues after a macOS update. This issue can mostly occur when the developer of the app hasn't released app updates compatible with the new OS requirements, or when the user hasn't installed the released app updates.

Fix 1: Force quit and restart the app

You can quickly fix a frozen and unresponsive app by forcing it to quit. Click on the Apple Menu. From the drop-down window, select the Force Quit option, choose the name of the App and then click Force Quit. After that, simply restart the app and see if it runs normally.

Fix 2: Check for App updates

If the app is downloaded from the App Store, you need to open the App Store, and then click Updates and then check the updates for the faulty app. If the app was downloaded from a third-party vendor, you should visit the vendor's website to check if there are any updates available for the app.

Icons Missing On Dock Apps After Mac Hard Drive Updates

Fix 3: Uninstall and reinstall the crashing app

The last solution is to completely uninstall an application. This operation is more than just dragging and dropping the app in the Trash. You have to delete all of its preference files.

First of all, you need to go to Finder > Applications and locate the crashing app and drag it to Trash. Afterward, you should get rid of all of its linked files and folders. Open Finder click Go in the menu bar, hold down on the Alt/option key to bring up the Library option and then click on it. Search for the name of the application and the name of the company that created it.

Make sure you have deleted all of them. After completely uninstall the app, download and install the update again.

Case 4: Mac runs slow after macOS update

It's possible that you make the macOS update, but the system runs slow. The first reason could be that your Mac has too many programs that automatically run when your machine boots. It is also caused by the almost full startup disk on your Mac, leading to the slow performance issues. Beyond that, if you are using a mechanical hard drive or fusion drives, chances are your Mac will take much longer to start up.

Fix 1: Disable unnecessary login items

Click on the Apple menu on the top-left corner and go to System Preferences >Users & Groups. Click Login Items on the top of the window. Select the apps you don't want to open automatically and hit - option.

Fix 2: Free up the startup disk space

If you check the storage of your startup disk and find it is almost full, you need to make room for getting macOS Catalina running efficiently.

Fix 3: Replace your old hard drive with a new SSD

If your Mac has a spinning hard drive or fusion drive, the only fix is to swap out your old hard drive with a new SSD.

Case 5: Mac computer won't boot after macOS Catalina/Big Sur update

If your MacBooks and other Macs won't turn on after macOS Catalina/Big Sur update, the problem might be caused by a lack of power, some issues with Power Management System, corrupted files system of the boot drive, etc.

Fix: Click to learn about how to fix if Mac computer won't boot after macOS upgrade and share.

How to downgrade from macOS Big Sur to macOS Catalina?

Icons Missing On Dock Apps After Mac Hard Drive Update Windows 10

The new released macOS may not be stable. That means it might crash or some features might not work properly when you use them. If you regret upgrading to macOS Big Sur, luckily, it's possible to downgrade. The following is how to downgrade from macOS 11 Big Sur to macOS Catalina:

Warning: This approach will completely erase your Mac. If you've been using your Mac for a while, you should make sure you have backed up important data.

Similar to downgrade from macOS Catalina to macOS Mojave, you need an internet connection. If your Mac won't boot after macOS update, you have to enter Recovery Mode and choose Utilities from the upper left sidebar. From the drop-down window, select Network Utility.

Step 1. Erase your Mac hard drive

1: Restart your Mac. When it is starting, hold down Command + Option + R until the macOS Utilities menu appears.

2: Select Disk Utility in the macOS Utilities window.

3: Click Continue and then click on the startup disk.

4: Click Erase and give the disk name, choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) or APFS as the file format.

5: Click Erase and quit Disk Utility.

Step 2. Downgrade from macOS 11 to Catalina or Mojave

After you erase the startup drive, you can quit Disk Utility and go back to the main macOS Utilities screen.

Step 1: Choose Reinstall macOS under macOS Utilities.

Icons Missing On Dock Apps After Mac Hard Drive Update Windows 7

Step 2: Click Continue and then follow the onscreen instructions to reinstall macOS Mojave.

Final thoughts

It's quite common if you are faced with some annoying problems after macOS Big Sur update, such download issues, performance and app problems. Even worse, your Mac computer won't boot after Catalina/Big Surupdate. In this case, you may think all data stored on your Mac will lose forever.

Not at all! Fortunately, recovering missing/lost files after macOS update could be quite simple if you have iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac at hand. Don't hesitate to download it for free.

What's more? If you're fed with a macOS Big Sur problem that we haven't covered or you have any problem with data recovery, please feel free to let us know.