Cleaning Up and Concealing Desktop Icons in OS X: A Step-by-Step Guide

Cleaning Up and Concealing Desktop Icons in OS X: A Step-by-Step Guide

Hey there! Are you tired of your cluttered desktop on your Mac? Do you wish you could make it look more organized and tidy? Well, I’ve got you covered! In this guide, I’ll walk you through the process of cleaning up and hiding your desktop icons on OS X, so you can enjoy a clean and visually appealing workspace. Let’s get started!

Cleaning Up the Desktop

First things first, let’s tackle the clutter on your desktop. It’s time to say goodbye to the multitude of icons that make it hard to find anything. Here’s what you need to do:

Select the icons you want to clean up by clicking and dragging your mouse over them. You can also hold down the Command key while clicking to select multiple icons individually.

  • Once you’ve selected the icons, right-click on any of them and choose the “Move to Trash” option from the contextual menu. Don’t worry, this won’t delete the files; it will just remove them from your desktop.

  • For a more advanced cleanup, you can create folders on your desktop to group similar icons together. Simply right-click on your desktop, choose the “New Folder” option, and give it a meaningful name. You can then drag and drop the relevant icons into these folders.

  • By following these steps, you’ll have a much cleaner desktop, making it easier for you to locate and access the files you need. But wait, there’s more!

    Hiding Desktop Icons

    If you prefer an even cleaner look, where your desktop is free of any distracting icons, you can easily hide them. Here’s how:

    Start by opening a Finder window. You can do this by clicking on the Finder icon in your dock.

  • In the Finder menu, click on “Preferences” (or press Command + Comma).

  • In the Preferences window, click on the “General” tab.

  • Look for the checkbox that says “Show these items on the desktop” and uncheck it. This will hide all the default desktop items, including your hard drive, external drives, and connected servers.

  • If you want to hide specific icons, such as files or folders, you can do so by right-clicking on them and selecting the “Get Info” option. In the Info window, check the box that says “Hide extension” to hide the icon from the desktop.

  • Once you’ve gone through these steps, your desktop will be free from any visible icons, giving you a clean and minimalistic workspace. Now you can focus on what’s important without any distractions!

    Bringing Back Hidden Icons

    If you change your mind and want to restore the hidden icons, don’t worry; it’s a breeze to bring them back. Here’s how:

    Open a Finder window and go to your desktop.

  • In the Finder menu, click on “Preferences” (or press Command + Comma).

  • In the Preferences window, click on the “General” tab.

  • Check the box next to “Show these items on the desktop” to restore the default desktop items.

  • If you had hidden specific icons, simply right-click on them, select “Get Info”, and uncheck the “Hide extension” box to make them visible again.

  • And voila! Your hidden icons will be back, and you can customize your desktop to your heart’s content.

    So there you have it! By following these steps, you can clean up and hide your desktop icons in OS X, creating a clutter-free and visually pleasing environment. Give it a try and see the difference it makes. Happy organizing!

    How to Clean Up and Hide Desktop Icons in OS X

    When it comes to Mac users, I bet you can relate – our desktops tend to turn into a dumping ground for all sorts of things. From files and documents to projects and random bits, it can quickly become a chaotic mess. And let’s not forget about those external hard drives and network folders that pop up on our screens, adding to the clutter.

    Messy Desktop OS X

    I’ve seen desktops messier than this. And you know what? That’s okay. But even if you’re okay with a cluttered desktop, there might be times when you want to clear it up and have a clean slate for a new task or a neat background for screencasts. Now, you could manually move all your files and folders to a different location on your Mac’s hard drive, but there’s a faster and easier way. Let me show you how to hide desktop icons in OS X.

    First things first, open up Terminal. You can find it in the Applications > Utilities folder. Once it’s open, just copy and paste the following command into Terminal and hit Enter:


    defaults write CreateDesktop false; killall Finder


    This command will turn off OS X’s ability to display desktop icons. You’ll immediately notice that all your files, folders, and drives have vanished. But don’t worry, they haven’t been deleted. They’re just hidden away for now.

    Hide Desktop Icons OS X

    All of the icons on your desktop, like the ones for your hard drives and network, are not visible.

    To show you what I mean, go ahead and open up a Finder window, then go to your personal desktop folder. You’ll see that all of your files are still there, perfectly fine. It’s just that OS X has decided not to display them on the desktop. But don’t worry, you can still use and work with your files without any problems. You just have to access them through the Finder window instead of directly on the desktop.

    Desktop Icons in Finder OS X

    If you need to access your desktop files, simply open Finder.

    When you want to bring back your desktop icons, go back to Terminal and use this command instead: defaults write CreateDesktop true; killall Finder

    This will make OS X display your desktop icons again, and they will reappear as quickly as they disappeared. This command in Terminal will hide the desktop icons even after you restart your computer, but it won’t work if you upgrade to a new version of OS X.
    If you often need to hide desktop icons for things like taking screenshots or recording your screen, you might want to consider using third-party software like Desktop Curtain. It offers more advanced features, such as using a custom background or hiding all icons except one application. However, if you just need a clean desktop quickly, the Terminal command mentioned here should do the job.

    How to Skip the Windows 8 Password Screen Without Losing Your Password

    2 ideas about “How to Tidy Up and Conceal Desktop Icons in OS X”

    Adam “Fuzzy” Konner says:

    I made a simple “Show/Hide Desktop” app using Automator based on this article. Here’s the code:

    if [ `defaults read CreateDesktop` = true ]; then
    defaults write CreateDesktop false && killall Finder
    defaults write CreateDesktop true && killall Finder

    1. Open Automator
    2. New > Application
    3. Utilities > Run Shell Script
    4. Paste the code snippet
    5. Save and put it in your Dock or wherever you want!
    You can also use it as a Service or a command line script. I hope this helps someone out there.

    Leave a Comment

    Do not miss this experience!

    Ask us any questions

    Get in touch