How to Hide Icons on the Mac OS X Desktop

Last Updated: Feb 8, 2024 by

If you’re someone who likes to keep a clean and clutter-free desktop, you may find the default icons on your Mac OS X desktop to be a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, there are ways to hide these icons and create a more minimalist desktop design. In this article, we’ll go over how to hide icons on the Mac OS X desktop.

Using Terminal

One way to hide icons on your Mac OS X desktop is by using the Terminal application. This method involves using a command line to hide the icons, so it may be a bit intimidating for those who are not familiar with Terminal. However, it is a quick and effective way to hide icons on your desktop.

To begin, open the Terminal application by going to Applications > Utilities > Terminal. Once the Terminal window is open, type in the following command:

defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool false

Press enter and then type in the following command to restart the Finder:

killall Finder

This will hide all the icons on your desktop. If you want to bring them back, simply type in the following command and restart the Finder:

defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool true

Using Third-Party Applications

There are also third-party applications that can help you hide icons on your Mac OS X desktop. One popular option is the app “Desktop Curtain,” which allows you to hide all the icons on your desktop with just one click. This app also has additional features such as the ability to set a custom background image for your desktop.

Another option is the app “HiddenMe,” which allows you to hide all the icons on your desktop with a simple keyboard shortcut. This app also has the option to hide specific icons, such as external drive icons, which can be useful for those who want to keep their desktop clean but still have easy access to their drives.

Using Stacks

Mac OS X also has a built-in feature called “Stacks” that can help you organize and hide your desktop icons. Stacks automatically groups your desktop icons into categories, such as documents, images, and downloads. To enable Stacks, right-click on your desktop and select “Use Stacks.” This will automatically organize your icons into stacks, making your desktop look more organized and less cluttered.

Using a Custom Wallpaper

Another way to hide icons on your Mac OS X desktop is by using a custom wallpaper. You can create a wallpaper with a solid color or a simple design that will blend in with your desktop icons, making them less noticeable. This method is not as effective as the others, as the icons are still technically there, but it can help create a cleaner look for your desktop.

By using these methods, you can easily hide icons on your Mac OS X desktop and create a more minimalist and organized desktop design. Which method do you prefer? Let us know in the comments.

Gulrukh Ch

About the Author: Gulrukh Ch

Gulrukh Chaudhary, an accomplished digital marketer and technology writer with a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation. Armed with a Master's degree in Information Technology, Gulrukh seamlessly blends her technical prowess with her creative flair, resulting in captivating insights into the world of emerging technologies. Discover more about her on her LinkedIn profile.