My actual downloads have completely disappeared. Not just in the folder in the dock, but the Finder downloads folder is also completely empty. The continuously given answer is to assume one just needs to "go to Finder and drag the Downloads folder to the dock and presto. But the Download folder in Finder and in the dock are bare.

Can anyone please help me?

  • The Downloads folder in Dock is the same as the one in Finder. Are you sure the default downlod target in Safari is set to that folder? – nohillside Jul 15 '18 at 4:40

Time Machine backs those files up. Have you checked your backup?

If you don’t have a backup, you might need to follow any of the several questions here about software that looks for deleted files and folders and shut down the Mac immediately to prevent further data loss from overwriting free space with new files.

If you don’t care about recovery of files, get a backup of what you still have and then boot to Recovery HD and check the disk for errors before recreating the folder.


I would check the logged-in user’s “.Trash” folder:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES

in a command prompt via ‘Terminal’ app found in Applications/Utilities. Then restart Finder by holding down the option key and clicking the Finder icon in the Dock. Choose restart Finder.

Then go to the root level of your user’s home directory in a new Finder window ( where you should see the ‘Desktop’, ‘Downloads’ and ‘Movies’ et cetera folders ). Open the .Trash.

Also make sure that you are logged in as the appropriate user.

If all that and what bmike’s answer correctly suggested to do fails, then it might look like recovery is needed.

Hope that helps,


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