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How To Remove or Hide Desktop Icon on Your Mac

Clean and organized desktop is the best thing in the world, right?

Written on November 07, 2023 · 2 min read

How To Remove or Hide Desktop Icon on Your Mac

Hiding those desktop icons can seriously level up your workspace. Picture this: a clean, organized desktop that's like a breath of fresh air, helping you stay zoned in and productive without all the distractions. Plus, it's not just about looks; it can actually give your computer a performance boost by lightening the load of rendering all those icons.

And let's face it, avoiding accidental file changes or deletions is a lifesaver, especially in shared environments. It's like your own secret place for personal stuff, keeping it away from prying eyes when you're on a shared or public computer—perfect for those packed days with video calls and screen shares.

Just a heads up, though, on macOS, there's no simple 'hide/show' button for desktop icons, so diving into a few commands is the easiest way to keep things tidy.

So, here’s the scoop on hiding and revealing those desktop icons on macOS:

  1. First off, open your terminal.

  2. Now, let’s kick things off with these commands to hide your desktop icons:

$ defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop false
$ killall Finder

If you’re ready to bring those icons back into view, just run these commands:

$ defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop true
$ killall Finder

These commands are the secret sauce to play hide-and-seek with your desktop icons. Happy organizing!

ps: Let's talk about macOS Sonoma. I've tried it, and it works. But here's the catch: if you hide those desktop icons, you might run into a snag: it can impact the functionality of the widget feature. At least, that was the case when I jotted down this note.

This note is written by Diky Hadna — Software Engineer & Digital Nomad Mentor. Read my story and get in touch with me!