How to Make Your iPhone and iPad Appear in the macOS Catalina Finder

With macOS Catalina, Apple broke up the iTunes app into three separate apps: Apple Music, Apple TV, and Podcasts. Previously, you could connect iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches to your Mac and their icons would appear in iTunes. No longer. 

Now that — as well as syncing — is handled entirely in the Finder. To manage your iOS or iPad device in macOS Catalina:

Connect it to your Mac.

Unlock your device and tap “Trust.”

"Trust this computer" popup window on iPhone.

Enter your passcode when prompted.

Open a Finder window and scroll down the sidebar until you see the name of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Click on the device and click “Trust.”

"Trust iPhone" popup window on a Mac.

However, sometimes your device may not show up even after going through these steps. If so:

  • Go to the Finder and select Preferences (under the Apple icon in the top left-hand side of your Mac’s screen).
  • Click the Sidebar button.
  • Check the box under the Locations section that reads CDs, DVDs, and iOS Devices.
macOS Finder Preferences window with Sidebar tab selected

Now your connected device should appear in the Finder.

Screenshot of iPhone management in the Finder of macOS Catalina
Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Contributing Author
Dennis has over 40 years of journalism experience and has written hundreds of articles. For the past 20-plus years, he's been an online journalist, covering mainly Apple Inc. He's written for MacCentral, MacWorld, MacMinute, Macsimum News, Apple Daily Report, and is now contributing editor at Apple World Today.
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16 Comments

  • Try tuning off (uncheck) the CD,DVD,iOS Devices box, and close preferences. Then reopen, and check that box to on again. Presto !! The iDevice appears !!

  • I followed your instructions — the boxes are checked in Finder – Preferences. You said they SHOULD show up now on Sidebar. They don’t. I also tried restating the computer. The only thing that shows up in Sidebar is my Mac. Any other suggestions? Thanks.

  • I have followed all the steps to allow my new I Touch to appear in finder…and still the device will not appear.

    Unable to transfer playlist to new device

  • I can’t seem to get this to work with an iPhone 6 Plus which is stuck at iOS 12.4.5 (the newest iPhone that can’t run the new software).

    Not supported, I assume. Correct?

  • Thank you! My phone disappeared a couple of months ago and I couldn’t figure out how to get it back.
    This really helped!

  • Does this work with Sierra? I have the latest iOS on my iPhone 7 and it is now no longer accessible via iTunes on my MacBook. It would be great if it would show up on my desktop.

    I know I should update my macBook (2010) to the latest OS, but I can’t afford a newer computer and I don’t want to break what software may not work under it. I can’t find anything to explain why my iPhone 7 running iOS 13.3 can’t be seen in iTunes.

  • A couple questions:
    “Connect it to your Mac.” — I suppose you mean via USB? Can the initial connection be wireless?

    What if the iPhone is using a different AppleID? Does it matter if it’s in the same family?

  • Just had to use “The New Way” to upgrade to a new iPhone. What I didn’t see was a good indicator of progress for backups/syncs. Only a tiny progress icon next to the phone. Are iTunes big detailed progress windows/banners a thing of the past?