iPhone not showing up in Finder? Here's the fix!

iPhone connected to MacBook
(Image credit: Adam Oram / iMore)

If your Mac is running the latest operating system and you've connected your iOS device to that Mac, you'll know that you can manage things like iPhone and iPad backups and syncing through the Finder, rather than through the apps formerly known as iTunes.

Sometimes though, you might run into a situation where the Finder doesn't recognize your device even if you're using the latest iPhone. This can be a problem for people who absolutely rely on manual backups, but there are steps you can take to get your device working with your Mac again. You'll want to get this sorted out before the release of iOS 16 and iPhone 14.

How to troubleshoot your Mac not recognizing your iPhone or iPad

The first thing you'll want to check if your Mac isn't recognizing your iPhone is to make sure that its USB ports are still working properly. Unplug everything except your device from your Mac then test every port with the cable plugged into your iPhone.

But while the problem could relate to a hardware failure, it's more likely that you're experiencing a software issue. If you've tried all of your USB ports and your iPhone or iPad still isn't showing up, you can check to see if your iPhone shows up in the System Information rundown. Here's how:

  1. Plug your iPhone or iPad into your Mac.
  2. Click the Apple logo on your Mac.
  3. While holding down the Option key (maybe Alt on some keyboards), click System Information.

Troubleshoot Mac not recognizing iPhone showing how to click the Apple logo and click System Information while holding the Option key (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click USB in the sidebar.

Troubleshoot Mac not recognizing iPhone whosing how to Click USB in the System Information sidebar (Image credit: iMore)

If your iPhone shows up under the USB menu, that means that your Mac is registering the iPhone as connected, but macOS is, for whatever reason, not. To rectify this, your best bet is to update macOS to its latest version.

How to get your iPhone or iPad to show in the Finder

If you've gone through the troubleshooting steps and your device still isn't showing in the Finder sidebar, here's what you can do about it.

  1. Plug your iPhone or iPad into your Mac.
  2. Click Finder in the Menu bar.
  3. Click Preferences.

Show iPhone in Finder showing how to click Finder, then click "Preferences" (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click the Sidebar tab.
  2. Click the checkbox next to CDs, DVDs, and iOS Devices to check it if the box is empty. If the box is already checked, still click it to uncheck it and wait a few seconds.

Show iPhone in Finder showing how to click the Sidebar tab, then click the CDs, DVDs, and iOS Devices checkbox (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click the checkbox next to CDs, DVDs, and iOS Devices again to check it off and wait a few minutes.

Show iPhone in Finder showing how to click the checkbox for CDs, DVDs, and iOS Devices again to check it (Image credit: iMore)

After a few minutes, your iPhone or iPad should appear in the sidebar of the Finder under Locations. 

That's all there is to it

Whether you're on macOS Monterey or the macOS Ventura beta, managing your iPhone and iPad backups is more intuitive than ever. Hopefully, this troubleshooting guide has ironed out any issues you may have had getting your iPhone to show up in Finder.

Update August 2022: Updated for macOS Monterey.

Adam Oram

Adam Oram is a Senior Writer at iMore. He studied Media at Newcastle University and has been writing about technology since 2013. He previously worked as an Apple Genius and as a Deals Editor at Thrifter. His spare time is spent watching football (both kinds), playing Pokémon games, and eating vegan food. Follow him on Twitter at @adamoram.

With contributions from