Why Are Some Files Not Appearing in Finder?

Finder is one of the oldest features of macOS. And because of that, sometimes using it can seem a bit less intuitive. Still, it’s one of the best file management systems for macOS. There are a lot of neat tricks and shortcuts for the Finder.

Why Are Some Files Not Appearing in Finder?

But what do you do the file you’re looking for is not appearing? It could be just a temporary glitch or the file in question might be hidden away. Is there any way to fix that? We have solutions for both cases.

Check the Search Feature

Finder has a powerful built-in search function. When you open it, the search bar is just at the top right corner. Click on the bar and type in the name of the file you can’t find.

If it’s not showing up, check the search parameters. For example, if the file you’re looking for is an image, but the file “kind” setting is Music or Document, it won’t come up in the search.

And if the file you’re looking for is an Application, but your search is set to “Other,” there still won’t be any results. That’s just a simple overlook, and it’s easy to fix.

Files Not Appearing

Relaunch Finder

Even the best and most reliable apps crash sometimes. If you’re using Finder frequently, you may notice that your computer is somewhat sluggish and less responsive. And you may see that the files you’ve downloaded aren’t showing in Finder.

These symptoms are a signal that your Finder app needs a reboot. It’s a simple fix. Here’s what you do:

  1. On your keyboard use this shortcut: command + option + escape
  2. A window with a “Force Quit Application” list will pop up. Scroll to the bottom.
  3. Select “Finder.”
  4. Select “Relaunch.”

Once Finder is back on, check to see if your files have appeared now. There was probably some process that was stuck, and the Finder was unable to update the folder correctly. In most cases, the relaunch will do the trick.


Show Finder Hidden Files

You might not be aware of this, but Apple hides away some types of files from the Mac Finder. The reason is that it’s safer for your computer that way. However, you might need to see those files if you have to fix something else that’s troubling your Mac.

Most of them are in the Library folder, which holds application type files and other data. If you have any version of macOS made after 2016, this is what you need to do to show hidden files in Finder:

  1. Launch Finder on your Mac.
  2. Find the Macintosh HD folder. Then select “Home.”
  3. Press command + Shift + (dot).
  4. Every hidden file now becomes visible.

You can also try this:

  1. Launch Finder.
  2. Select “go” from the Menu.
  3. Select Go to Folder (Shift + Command + G)
  4. Type in “Library” and then select “Go.”

You have to remember that these files will only appear while the Finder window is open. When you close it and open it again, Finder will hide them once more.

Show Hidden Files Using Terminal

Terminal is a tool that resides in the Utilities folder in Applications. The main objective of Terminal is to perform tasks that would usually require more software. Or which would be too difficult for users to do on their own. You can use Terminal to show hidden files in Finder. Here is the path to follow:

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Type in this script:
    $ defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles true
    $ killall Finder

Finder Files Not Appearing

Fixing Greyed Out Folders

Here’s another issue you might run into with Finder. What if instead of files not appearing or being hidden, they’re just grey. They’re there, you can see them, but you can’t open greyed out files or access them in any way.

This problem occurs when Mac detects an error and resets the date to January 24, 1984, the date of birth of Macintosh computers. A lot of things can cause this, like a wrong file system entry or even a power outage. You can use the Terminal application to fix this problem as well. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Launch Finder and select a folder that has the date error.
  2. Open Applications and then Terminal.
  3. Type in the following: Type SetFile -d 04/21/2020 /Path/to/grayed-out-folder/
  4. Hit Return.

This command will change the date to 04/21/2020. But you can change it to anything you want. These steps should make your greyed-out files and folders go back to normal.

Make the Most of macOS Finder

Organizing your files can be quite a chore. But if you have a great app like Finder, things become a little easier. Finder is as old as Mac itself, and there’s a reason it’s hard to replace it.

If you can’t see your recently uploaded or downloaded files in Finder, try checking your search settings.

Then relaunch it if you need to. The odds are that the files will appear. And if you’re looking for the hidden files, not to worry, they’re most likely still around. Terminal is an excellent tool that can help you with hidden and greyed out files and folders.

How do you feel about Finder? Do you like it? Do you use it often? Let us know in the comments section below.

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