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  1. You don’t need to restart macOS, and you definitely should not force quit Finder. All you need to do is open Finder Preferences and make sure all the items you want to appear on the desktop are selected.

  2. Thanks! #5 fixed my issue.

    I had files and folders on my desktop that won’t appear on the desktop itself, nor in Finder when I open the desktop folder in it. I can only find them if I search for them.
    The problem with the search method is that I have to know the name of the file/folder in order to find it. So, if I had some files with names that I don’t remember, I cannot open them.

  3. I backup my computer to icloud,

    1. I went to finder and selected desktop.

    This folder was empty as it was desktop-local.

    2. I went to icloud drive and selected desktop

    This folder had all my icons.

    3. Select all and copy

    4. Paste to desktop; and

    Have a good day!

  4. iCloud (#2) fixed the problem. My desktop icons had disappeared after an automatic system update for Catalina. Thanks so much!

  5. thanks much. I used the steps and icons came back. Not sure why they disappeared in the first place though.

  6. I freaked out when my desktop icons vanished. I went through your instructions and got them back when I went to iCloud Drive (Step 2). Thank goodness for back-ups. And thank you for such a clearly written recipe for recovery.

  7. Thank you so much, you are a lifesaver. The Unhide desktop command using
    Terminal did the trick. I now see all my desktop icons again. Thanks once again Dr Serhart Kurt.


  8. When I went to safe mode most of the icons returned but in files which in a way is better.
    I do hope when I wish to upload things I will be able to as before many documents were not being shown in strong color they were grayed out.

    1. I also used the CB loud method. I did a select all once I opened the cloud desktop and did a copy & paste to my blank desk top which worked great.

  9. excellent – it works. You prevented a major trauma here. Even though everything is backed up I couldn’t recall everything that had been there and what I may have lost.

  10. Thank you so much! For me it was #2 with iCloud. Once I managed to tick the box it all went back to normal. I really appreciate your help!

  11. thanks sooo much. I lost hope for the disappearing icon tbh but the terminal thing fixed it! can’t tell you how grateful I am!!!

  12. Hi, #2 worked for me (also)!

    Thanks so, so much for your assistance and for providing this awesome resource!

  13. Thank you so much for your help.
    So easy to follow and you helped me solved an issue i was freaking out a bit.
    Your user friendly layout and presentation of information also helped me access this information with ease and comfort.
    Really appreciate.

  14. THANK YOU, number #2 was what fixed my issue. Quicky and easy (very well-written directions to follow as well!)

  15. Thanks!!! You’re a life savior! Number 2 worked for me!!! I have no idea why all the icons disappeared from my desktop but thanks to you they’re all back there now! 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  16. Hi there,

    Thanks for the tips, tried all of the above and still not working.

    In Preferences, the link wasn’t there at all.

    Desktop item doesn’t seem to be detected anywhere and the drag and drop function to move file onto Desktop directly won’t work either.

    Any other suggestions??

    Thank you:)

    1. I also had same issue … I tried all else and nothing is working.

      The two files: and < are nowhere to be found via the library when searching/looking for.

      I don't know what else to do, help!
      My entire desktop is still poof – gone – vanished.

  17. The terminal thing worked for me too ! Thanks a lot. I was unable to see anything and to right click on my desktop.

  18. Thanks a lot mate ,the terminal thing worked for me.I was about to reinstall MacOS 😅!!!
    Life Saver

  19. Thank you so much I even contacted apple I followed what they told me too Nope didn’t work but the Corrupt Preference files worked for me thankyou <3

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