The Favorites section in the Finder sidebar is a handy way to access your most important folders and cloud-storage drives.
Even if you haven’t taken the time to set it up, the Favorites section will still automatically display your Desktop, Documents, Pictures, Videos, Downloads, and other relevant directories. Mounted cloud storage drives, like iCloud Drive or Dropbox, will also show up here.
With that being said, on some versions of OS X and macOS, the Favorites section can simply disappear from the Finder sidebar without explanation. Here’s how to diagnose and fix the issue.
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Older versions of OS X and macOS seem to be most prone to this issue According to user reports, it seems fairly prevalent on OS X El Capitan. (On a side note, Apple says it believes this issue has been resolved as of macOS 10.13.)
But there are actually a couple different ways this issue can plague Mac users. For one, the Favorites section could simply disappear from the Finder sidebar entirely.
In other cases, Favorites will fail to appear only in specific areas — like the “Open File” box that pops up when you’re adding an email attachment or uploading a file.
Either way, it’s annoying and inconvenient. And unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an easy fix in some cases.
How to Fix Missing Favorites
First off, you’ll want to diagnose the issue. Before you do anything else, simply relaunch Finder or restart your computer. In some instances, this could fix the issue without much effort.
Similarly, you’ll want to make sure Favorites is even turned on for Finder.
- Open Finder.
- Click on Finder in the upper-right corner.
- Click on Preferences.
- Click on the Sidebar tab.
- From here, ensure that there are ticks next to some of the options under Favorites.
If this was the issue, just tick the options you’d like to add. Some Mac users report that this patches a Favorites issue in Finder, but not the Open File dialog box.
If it didn’t fix the problem, proceed with the following steps.
The method below requires a bit of digging, but a handful of users report that it works well.
At this point, we have to note that there might be an easier way than this, but we’re including the below method for the sake of information.
If you’ve run out of patience, skip to method 2. Otherwise, try this first.
- Open Finder.
- Hold down Option and click Go in the top menu bar, while continuing to hold the Option key down.
- Click on Library.
- Find and click on Preferences.
- Delete any files named com.apple.finder.plist — and any files that contain that phrase in their filenames.
- Restart your computer or log out and back into your user account.
- Empty your Trash.
- Open Finder and see if Favorites reappears.
If that didn’t work, or you skipped ahead, this method probably will. It’s perhaps the quickest and perhaps most effective way of fixing this issue. It feels like a bit of a “scorched earth” solution, but it does work (even in the writer’s own experience with this issue).
- Open Activity Monitor. It should be in a Launchpad folder called Other if you haven’t put it elsewhere.
- Scroll around until you find the process called sharedfileslitd.
- Click on the X box in the upper-right-hand corner of Activity Monitor.
- A new dialog box should pop up. Click on Force Quit.
- If you have more than one process with the same file name (like in the image above), try force quitting both of them.
- Relaunch Finder.
In the vast majority of cases, this should fix the issue entirely. If it didn’t, it might be worth contacting Apple Support to see if they can help you further.
- Give Bob’s tips a try:
- Hover over the word ‘Favorites’ in the Finder sidebar.
- Note that a little ‘show’ appears to the left of the word ‘Favorites’
- Click on the word ‘show’ and all will reappear