You want to backup your iPhone or iPad to your Mac. But it’s not there. Why is your OS X portable device not showing up?
You’ve got your Finder app open. And it’s just not there.
So, what now?
iPhone Not Showing Up In Finder
Your iPhone or iPad not showing in the Finder app, happens most often when your Mac can’t talk to your iOS device. And typically, it’s because of a physical issue or a Mac setting you need to change.
When your iPhone doesn’t show up in finder try these fixes.
iPhone Not Showing In Finder Window Sidebar
So, you’ve plugged your iPhone. Or your iPad into your Mac with its USB cable. You’ve opened up a new Finder window or looked for it in an already opened finder window. Your iOS mobile device should be right there under Locations in your Finder sidebar.
Showing up a few seconds after you’ve plugged your iOS device in.
Let us work through the fixes.
1. Plug out and plug back in your USB cable.
It’s often the simplest things that trip you up. Just double check your USB cable is well seated into your Mac and your iPhone. Or your iPad or iPod.
2. Check Finder is Set to Show your iPhone.
There’s a setting on your Mac that tells your Finder window to show your Apple device when it’s plugged in. You check this by opening Finder preferences.
When your Finder preference pop up window shows. Click Sidebar.
Move down the pop up window until you get to the Location heading. Is the box for CDs, DVDSs and iOS devices checked?
If it’s not check the box. And see if your Apple iPhone or iPad appears in your Mac Finder window. In the Finder sidebar.
When the box is already checked. Uncheck the box. Count to 10. Then check the box again and your iPhone often shows up.
3. Try another USB port on your Mac.
This is a good idea when you’ve had another device plugged into the USB port on your Mac. Sometimes the software on the USB port gets hung up.
Or the other USB device just didn’t Eject itself properly. Or you may have forgotten to eject the last device you used. It’s a simple thing to do and may just fix your iPhone not showing up on finder.
4. Replace your USB cable.
You could have a physical issue with your cable.
USB cables are rolled up. Put in bags. Kinked accidentally. It’s pretty common for the cable to break on the inside but look perfectly fine on the outside. At this point it’s best to replace your iPhone’s or iPad’s USB cable.
And if you’re using a USB C to USB type A adaptor for your Mac.
Or a lightning to USB C adaptor. Try a different one of those as well.
Try a new cable and see if your Apple iPhone magically turns up.
5. Reboot your Mac.
Often a full shutdown of your Mac. A wait of at least 10 seconds for your Mac’s internal registries to reset. And a reboot. Is enough for your iPhone. Or iPad to turn up in a Finder app window on your Mac.
You can go further and carry out a SMC reset on your Mac. This Apple document here tells you how.
6. Restart your iPhone.
A stuck iOS setting on your actual iPhone could be the issue. Do a full shutdown, restart and power on of your iPhone iPad.
Not sure how to do that? For restarting on all the iPhone models check this Apple document at this link.
By now your iPhone should have at least appeared under the Locations heading.
If it hasn’t.
7. Try your iPhone on another Mac.
Can another Mac, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air see your iPhone? Try the same if your trouble is with your iPad.
What’s the difference between that Mac and your Mac?
Is it running a different version of MacOS? Can you upgrade your Mac to that version of MacOS? Your issue could be you have a more modern iPhone. Or iPad than your Mac can support.
Shows Up In Sidebar But iPhone Not Appearing In Finder Window
You can see your iPhone under locations. But your iPhone. Or iPad doesn’t appear in Finder on your Mac.
The central screen is just blank.
Or depending on your OS X version it doesn’t appear under Locations at all.
Here’s what to do.
1. Open your iPhone.
Put in your passcode. Or opened with your Touch ID or Face ID.
Do the same if your issue is with your iPad.
Your iPhone and or iPad could be set to not talk over USB without unlocking first.
You’ll see it under Locations but it seems greyed out.
It’s a setting in your iPhone/iPad that’s doing this. So open your iPhone so you can see its Home screen.
2. Trust your iPhone. And Trust your Mac.
When this is the first time you’ve plugged in your iPhone. Or your iPad into this Mac. Your Mac will ask if you trust this iPhone.
And you’ll need to click the Trust button. Then you’ll see a message in your iPhone asking you if you Trust this Mac. You’ll need to tap to say you trust the Mac you’ve plugged your iPhone into.
You’ll also have to click trust on your Mac when you plug in you iPad for the first time. And confirm the trust on your iPad for the first time as well.
You’ll need to do that before your iPhone. Or iPad will appear in your Mac Finder window.
When Your iPhone Doesn’t Show Up In Finder Check Your OS
It could be your iPhone or iPad needs a new MacOS version for full support. Check is there an update for your MacOS version?
And while you’re at it check if there’s any iOS update for your iPhone iPad or iPod Touch.
On Mac click on your Apple symbol top left on your desktop. And from the window that comes up click the Software Update button.
On your iPhone, iPad or iPod, tap Settings. Then Software Update.
Why You Need To Fix iPhone Not Appearing in Finder
It’s an issue when your iPhone or iPad doesn’t show up in Finder. Because that’s the way you backup. Or sync your iOS mobile devices up to your Apple Mac. Or MacBook.
Plus when you’ve an Apple watch all your data is sync’ed to your iPhone. And the only way your information is protected and backed up is if you can backup your iPhone to your Mac. Or with an iCloud backup.
In MacOS Mojave and earlier Mac os software you did your Mac mobile device backup. And sync in iTunes.
Apple changed all that with MacOS Catalina.
And with MacOS versions since then. In MacOS Big Sur and MacOS Monterey there is no iTunes app. The new Apple Music app is devoted to your music now. And all the Mac backup features previously in iTunes app were upgraded. And put under the Finder window on Mac.
Your iPhone and iPad photos you now backup to the Photo’s app. Your iPhone contacts, Calendar, files, iMessages and more you can backup with Finder.
We hope you have enjoyed our article. And have now fixed your iPhone, iPad or iPod not showing or appearing in Finder.
It is frustrating when you can’t use your device how you want.
Thank you for reading. While you’re here why not check out the other iPhone articles on our site.
About Simon Irons
As an admin I spend my day helping folks with their Mac issues. From the guy at work, through to unofficial 911 support for family and friends. I swear they have me on speed dial.
For fun I like testing out and playing with new stuff. I think Apple make the best products on the planet.
In my spare time I like to fish and play around with boats.