iPhone or iPad not Showing up in Finder on Mac, How to Fix

iPad or iPhone not appearing in the Finder sidebar? Here are several ways to fix this issue.

By Tom Griffin - Executive Editor
3 Min Read

You connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac with your USB cable and your device is not showing in Finder windows? This article explains what you can do to troubleshoot when your iPhone or iPad doesn’t show up in the Finder.

When your device is connected to your Mac, you can do various things via Finder. For instance, you can sync your content, back up your device or you can update your device. Once connected, you can access your device in the sidebar of any window in the Finder.

If your device is not appearing in the Finder windows, this means that Mac isn’t recognizing your iPhone or iPad. . If you experience this problem, you will not be able to use the Finder to sync, update or restore your device using your Mac. Below, we’ll explain how you can fix if your iPhone or iPad doesn’t show up in the Finder sidebar.

Before you do anything, please try the following:

  • Disconnect your device from your Mac then reconnect it to see if this resolves your problem.
  • Make sure that your iPhone or iPad is on. If not, turned it on.
  • Make sure that your iPhone or iPad is unlocked and on the Home screen.
  • If your Mac ask whether you want to allow accessory to connect, click “Allow.”
  • If you see the “Trust this Computer” alert popup on your iPhone, tap “Trust” and enter your passcode.

If your iPhone or iPad is still not appearing in Finder, then read on.

1. Ensure that all of your devices are up to date

Ensure that all of your devices are updated to the latest version of the operating software. Follow these steps on your devices:

  • iPhone or iPad: Go to Settings >General > Software Update.
  • Mac: System Settings > General > Software Update.

If there is an update, follow the onscreen instructions to update your device.

2. Restart your devices

Restart your iPhone, iPad and Mac to see if this fixes the problem.

  • Mac: Apple menu  > Restart.
  • iPad without a Home button and iPhone X and later: Press and hold the side or top and one of the Volume buttons together until you see the power-off slider. Drag the slider. Wait for the device to turn off, and then press and hold the side or top button to turn it on again.
  • iPad with a Home button and other iPhone models: Press and hold the side or top button until you see the power off-slider. Drag the slider and wait about 30 seconds. Then press and hold the top or side button until you see the Apple logo.

3. Check your USB cable and port

Ensure that you connect your phone to your Mac with a USB:

  • Low-quality 3rd-party USB cables can cause issues. Try to use a higher-quality cable. Use Apple or MFI certified cables.
  • Inspect your cable for damages. Try a different cable if possible to see if that works.
  • Dirt or debris may cause this. In fact I had this problem, and it was resolved when I cleaned the charging port of my iPhone. You may want to clean any debris or dirt from the charging port of your device too.
  • Switch ports. There may be issues with the USB port on your Mac. Try plugging your iPhone or iPad into another USB port on your Mac.
  • Check that the cable is properly connected. Ensure that the connection between your device and Mac is firm and not loose. When your Mac and device are connected correctly, you should see that your device is charging.

4. Check for software conflicts

Some third-party software might affect whether your iPhone or iPad can connect with your Mac. Check your VPN or third-party security software on your Mac. If you find any such apps:

  • Try updating your security software
  • If possible, try temporarily disabling your security software to make sure if that causing the problem.
  • Contact your security software developers.

5. Set Finder settings to show your device in the sidebar

If you are still having this problem, check that Finder settings are set to show your device in the sidebar. Please try the following:

  • Connect your device to your Mac.
  • From the menu bar in the Finder, choose Finder.
  • Click Settings.
  • Click Sidebar at the top of the settings window, then make sure that “CDs, DVDs and iOS Devices” checkbox is selected.
    • If it is selected, deselect it. Wait a few seconds and then select it.
    • If it is deselected, select it.
      And now check the sidebar again to see if your iPhone or iPad is showing in Finder windows.

6. If your iPhone or iPad still doesn’t appear in the Finder

In the vast majority of cases, one of the above tips should sort out your problem. That said, your iPhone or iPad not showing up in the Finder can have many causes. When you’ve run out of fixes to try, you may want to contact Apple support. You can make a Genius Bar appointment, if you prefer.

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By Tom Griffin Executive Editor
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Tom Griffin is the editor-in-chief at GeeksChalk where he oversees all of site’s evergreen content to ensure it’s up to date with the latest information. Hailing from London in the UK, he has over seven years of experience in the tech journalism space and holds a degree in English Literature. In his spare time, Tom can found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, and petting every dog he comes across in the outside world.
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