Folders disappearing from your Favorites in the Finder sidebar

Several people have reported that folders that they’ve put in the Favorites section of the sidebar in Finder windows just disappear, and have thought that either Default Folder X or Jettison was at fault. I’ve confirmed with Apple that this is a known bug in Mac OS 10.9.2. It’s not caused by Default Folder X, Jettison or any other 3rd party application. It’s an issue that Apple needs to fix in OS X.

Here’s a more complete description of the problem:


If I drag a folder to the Finder sidebar to add it as a Favorite, then later eject the disk containing the folder, the Finder deletes the folder from the sidebar. It doesn’t return when I remount the disk.

Steps to Reproduce:

  1. Plug in an external drive (I used a FW800 drive, but apparently any old disk will do).
  2. Open a Finder window, navigate to the external drive and then drag a folder from the drive to the Favorites list in the Finder window’s sidebar.
  3. Eject the external drive.
  4. Run Disk Utility and remount the external drive.

Expected Results:

I would expect the folder to stay in the Favorites list in the sidebar, regardless of the availability of the disk. If I click on it it should ask for the disk or try to remount it automatically. Failing this, if the folder is going to be hidden in the sidebar because the disk is unavailable, it should reappear when the disk is available again.

Actual Results:

The folder is removed from the Favorites list in the sidebar, never to return.

23 Responses to “Folders disappearing from your Favorites in the Finder sidebar”

  1. Rue says:

    Is this still a problem in El Capitan? My coworkers and I work off of the server for design work, and when the connection disconnects without shutting down the computer first I end up losing all my server shortcuts on my sidebar.

  2. Andreas says:

    Yes, I experience this also with El Capitan 10.11.1.

  3. Per Christian says:

    I also have this problem with 10.10.5.

    It doesn’t happen every time I disconnect the external drive that has the shortcuts in the fav sidebar, but sometimes.

    Very strange.

  4. Jack says:

    Confirmed still happening irregularly in 10.11.5, super irritating.

  5. Jon says:

    Yup – very irritating. I’ve noticed in the Sierra betas that they’ve been working on the macOS preference system for 10.12, so I’m hopeful Apple will finally put this (and other preference-related bugs) to rest this fall.

    • Debs says:

      10.12.6 Sierra or is this high sierra? still have the problem with shortcuts disappearing out of the favourites menu side bar.very irritating!

  6. Jay Nelson says:

    This happened to me this week, on macOS Sierra 10.12.3. All my favorite folders disappeared in the Open and Save dialog boxes.

    • Peter Lundholm says:

      Same here since after Snow Leopard. Sierra now and shortcuts disappear (links to a local server)


  7. Joe Medosch says:

    This blog addresses Favorite Folders missing from Sidebar – but from the concept of removable hard drives!
    That is not my issue – just saving any document, the Favorite Folders are missing from Default Folder window Sidebar? Maybe related – but nothing to do with removal HDs.

    • Jon says:

      That’s a separate issue, and I’m afraid it’s not something I can fix in Default Folder X – it’s a bug in macOS. In El Capitan, Sierra and High Sierra, it seems that people lose their sidebar items randomly (it was also an issue in Yosemite, but didn’t happen as often). A quick Google shows lots of complaints, and the problem is pervasive enough that has an article about it:

      The problem affects file dialogs disproportionately because your Finder prefs are read by the file dialogs for each application, while they’re only read once by the Finder when it launches upon login. I don’t have a foolproof solution, but think it has to do with the Finder’s preferences getting corrupted. You might want to try deleting this file:


      and then immediately restart your Mac. That has worked for some people who’ve experienced the problem repeatedly.

      – Jon

  8. Kelly says:

    Problem STILL exists even in OSX Catalina 10.15. Annoying beyond belief.

  9. Jeffrey Foster says:

    Just to confirm that this is still happening in late March 2020.

    All it takes is the Macbook Pro going to sleep, and any favorites linked to my external HD vanish from the Finder menu.

    I saw some recommendations to create an alias and use that to drag into the finder to create the favorite, but that didn’t work either.

  10. Steven Schwartz says:

    This also happens if you have folders that point to files on Box for Mac. I logged out of Box and when I logged back in I lost all my finder sidebar favorites. This is on a new Macbook Pro running 10.14.6 Mojave.

    • Jon says:

      Yes – any folders located on a network server permanently disappear from the sidebar if the server goes offline. For some reason, they’ve chosen not to just hide them until the server comes back online. Maybe because that could potentially lead to an ever-growing (internal) list of unavailable folders? I don’t know – it’s still a very user-hostile approach.

    • Steven Schwartz says:

      My update to this issue is amusing….when I went to add back my first of many missing folders, upon adding the first folder, all missing favorite folders reappeared as if by magic. Must have something to do with logging off and then back on from Box? Very strange…

      • Jon says:

        Hey, that’s better, at least! Oh wait, though – the folders in Box are actually all local in your Box Sync folder – you’re not actually accessing a remote or external volume. Box just copies them from the cloud to a folder on your Mac. So I’m surprised they disappeared in the first place, unless you told Box to actually remove them when you logged out.

  11. Ed Taylor says:

    I also have this problem, July 2020, latest version of Catalina, in case Apple is listening…

  12. Chris says:

    Same thing happened to me and I have a solution. To clarify, this problem occurred because I accidentally dragged the iPad connection from Locations to Favorites in the Finder sidebar.

    Following Jon’s comment above, I found the Finder preferences file (HOME/Library/Preferences/ but instead of deleting it, I reviewed the code.

    Near the bottom is a key called “iOSDevicesExcludedFromSidebar” which listed the UDID for my iPad. I deleted these lines, saved, and restarted. The next time I connected the iPad it showed up under Locations again.

    The specific lines to delete:



    I was on a call with Apple support while I tried this – when I specifically said “dragged into Favorites and it disappeared” she sounded like she had heard of the problem before. I told her my solution and she acknowledged it but who knows if she’ll pass it onto the development team.

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