iPhone Not Showing Up in Finder? Here’s the Real Fix!

If your first Apple devices are a newer iPhone and a newer Mac, you may not have ever used a cable to connect the two. There are significant benefits when you do, including backing up your iPhone to your Mac and accessing files or media. But what if you connect your iPhone to your Mac, and it doesn't show up in the Mac Finder as it should? Here's how to troubleshoot and fix the problem when your iPhone isn't showing up in Finder.

Related: 6 Easy Ways to Transfer Photos from iPhone to PC or Mac

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Basic Troubleshooting Steps If Finder Not Recognizing iPhone

For more handy tips on syncing your Apple devices, consider signing up for our free Tip of the Day Newsletter. Now, here's a few things to check first when troubleshooting why your iPhone is not showing up in Finder.

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Unlock Your iPhone

This step is pretty straightforward: make sure your device is unlocked. If your device is locked, this might be why your iPhone isn't showing up in Finder. If you're using an iPhone with a Home button, simply press the Home button and enter your passcode to unlock your phone. If you’ve set up Touch ID, you can also leave your finger on the Home button until your iPhone unlocks. On an iPhone X or later (iPhones with no Home button), tap the screen or press the side button. If Face ID is set up, look directly at your iPhone to unlock it, then swipe up from the bottom of the display. If Face ID isn’t set up, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen and enter your iPhone passcode.

Unplug & Connect iPhone to Mac

If your iPhone is unlocked and still doesn't show up in the Mac Finder, try unplugging it and plugging it back in. Doing so will give your iPhone and Mac a chance to try the connection again. I also recommend testing a different USB port on your laptop to see if that works. If a different USB port works, you likely have a damaged USB port that will need to be fixed. 

Update Your iOS & macOS Software 

If your iPhone or Mac does not have the most recent software installed, a quick software update may help link the iPhone to your Mac. Much like you can automate your iPhone backups, you can easily enable automatic iPhone updates. If your iPhone is up to date, an out-of-date Mac may be the culprit preventing your iPhone from showing up in the Finder. Updating your Mac to the newest macOS is a little more involved, but once your Mac is up to date, your iPhone will hopefully appear in Finder.

Restart Your iPhone & Mac

If the steps above haven't worked, I recommend restarting your Mac and rebooting your iPhone or iPad to fix minor software issues. Once you've restarted your devices, unplug and reconnect your Apple device to see if it appears in Finder. 

Check USB & Device Status If iPhone Doesn’t Appear in Finder

If your iPhone still isn't showing in Finder, it's time to check a simple system report to check the USB connection and make sure that iOS Device connection is enabled. 

Check Your USB Port Status To Connect iPhone to Mac

Follow the steps below to check the connection between your iPhone and computer with a quick system report.

  1. With your iPhone plugged into your Mac, click the Apple Logo.

    Click the Apple logo in the top-left corner.
  2. Click About This Mac.

    click about this mac to see if usb not showing up mac
  3. Click System Report.

    click system report if computer not recognizing iphone
  4. Click USB from the menu on the left.

    click usb when iphone wont' connect to macbook
  5. Check to make sure your iPhone listed underneath the USB Device Tree.

    find iphone listed to see if you connect iphone to macbook

If your iPhone shows up under the USB menu, that means that your Mac hardware is registering the iPhone as connected, but the software is not. If you skipped the step above, I recommend double-checking your Mac software is up to date and installing the latest update if it is not. 

Enable iOS Device Connection If Finder Not Recognizing iPhone

While it might seem obvious, checking the iOS Device connection will help to ensure you can connect your iPhone to your Mac. When people have trouble getting their iPhone to show up in Finder and the solutions above haven't worked, this setting is often the culprit. Here's how to check and enable iOS Device connection on your Mac: 

  1. With your iPhone plugged into your Mac, click Finder from the top menu.

    Click Finder in the top menu.
  2. Click Preferences.

    click preferences to edit mac finder options when iphone won't connect to mac
  3. Click Sidebar.

    click sidebar for mac sidebar settings when mac not recognizing iphone
  4. Click the CDs, DVDs, and iOS Devices checkbox to enable these connections.

    click checkbox next to CDs, DVDs, and iOS Devices for how to connect my iphone to my mac
  5. If this setting is already selected, click the CDs, DVDs, and iOS Devices checkbox to deselect it and wait a few seconds before selecting it again. 

    click checkbox next to CDs, DVDs, and iOS Devices for how to link iphone to mac

Give your Mac a few moments to recognize the connection. If this setting was not selected, you should see your iPhone should appear in the Finder's sidebar after a few moments. If your iPhone was already plugged in, you may need to unplug and reconnect the device for your Mac to recognize it. 

iPhone Not Appearing in Finder? Contact Apple Support!

Unfortunately, if you're still having connection issues, this signals that your issue is likely a hardware issue or damaged component. Although we hope the solution doesn't involve having to replace a hardware component, your best bet is to contact Apple Support for further assistance.

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Author Details

Emma Chase's picture

Author Details

Emma Chase

Emma Chase is a freelance writer for iPhone Life. She has her Bachelors degree in Communication from the University of Northern Iowa. Emma has worked in many sectors in her professional career, including the higher education, finance, and nonprofit. Emma lives in small-town Iowa with her husband and two children. When she’s not geeking out over the newest Apple product or wrangling her kids, Emma enjoys a good book, crocheting, and trying new foods.