The Favorites section in the Finder sidebar is a handy way to access your most important folders and cloud-storage drives. But after updating, many users discover that they are missing favorites section in the Mac Finder Sidebar.
So what gives?
- Go to Finder > Preferences > Sidebar and put a checkmark next to all the things you want to show up in your favorites
- Go to Finder and open a new Finder Window (Command + N)
- In the window’s sidebar, place and hold your cursor on the word Favorites
- Tap the word Show, and all your favorites should show up!
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About Your Mac’s Finder Favorites
Even if you haven’t taken the time to set it up, the Favorites section should still automatically display your Desktop, Documents, Pictures, Videos, Downloads, and other relevant directories.
And mounted cloud storage drives, like iCloud Drive or Dropbox, also show up here.
However, on some versions of OS X and macOS, the Favorites section can simply disappear from the Finder sidebar without explanation, often after a major or minor update.
Here’s how to diagnose and fix the issue.
Specific Instances of Missing Favorites Section in the Mac Finder Sidebar
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 resolved this problem with macOS 10.13.)
But there are actually a couple of 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.
Check Your Sidebar First!
Oftentimes, all you need to do is get your favorite to show!
So let’s do that first and see if the problem resolves with a simple step
- Open Finder
- Create a new Finder Window (or press Command + N)
- In the window’s sidebar, look for the word Favorites
- Float your cursor on that word
- When you see the word Show, tap it
- All your favorites should now show up underneath
How to Fix Missing Favorites on macOS Advanced Steps
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 problem without much effort.
Similarly, you’ll want to make sure Favorites is even turned on for Finder.
- Open Finder
- Tap on Finder in the upper-right corner
- Click on Preferences
- Select 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 include 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.
- Open a new Finder Window or when using the command Open File or Save As, drag any folder or other items into the sidebar. This should create a new Favorites section in the sidebar. Then restart your Mac and check that after rebooting, the sidebar now shows that Favorites section
- 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 reappears
- Use the Terminal command Kill sharedfilelistd and then restart Finder
- Open Finder and make a single change to your Favorites like dragging a new folder into Favorites. Then relaunch Finder to see if it’s working normally
Mike is a freelance journalist from San Diego, California.
While he primarily covers Apple and consumer technology, he has past experience writing about public safety, local government, and education for a variety of publications.
He’s worn quite a few hats in the journalism field, including writer, editor, and news designer.