How to Hide or Remove Icons from Your Mac Desktop: 4 Methods Explained

Often find your desktop icons untidy? Give a shot to the following tricks that can help you get rid of the mess in a jiffy!

A completely cluttered desktop is the last thing I want to see on my Mac. However, I do have to deal with the messed up display quite often. Many a time, I save files on the desktop to find them a bit more conveniently. And if I forget to clean them up in time, they pile up to clutter the entire screen. But when that happens, I run to some of the easy-to-use tricks to hide or remove icons from the Mac desktop to get rid of the mess immediately.

Are you on the same page as me and looking for more effective ways to deal with the untidy desktop? Well, these hacks have proved to be enormously useful for me. And I’m sure you will also find them right on the money. So, why not give them a try straight away!

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Tips to Hide Desktop Icons on Mac:

Method #1: Use Finder to Hide Desktop Icons

First off, we are going to try out this simple way that has existed on the macOS for long. To do so, you need to head over to Finder and get rid of the stuff that you don’t want to show on the desktop.

Step #1. Open Finder on your Mac.

Launch Finder on your Mac

Step #2. Click on Finder menu at the top left corner and then click Preferences.

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Click on Finder menu and then click Preferences on Mac

Step #4. Next, click on the General tab.

Click on General tab in Finder Preferences on Mac

Step #5. Under “Show these items on the desktop,” uncheck the boxes next to hard disks, external disks, CDs, DVs, iPods, Connected servers.

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Uncheck the boxes next options Under Show these items in Finder Preferences on Mac

All these items will be immediately hidden. Later, if you want to show them, follow the same steps and then check the box next to the thing that you want to show on the screen again.

Method #2: Make the Most of Terminal Commands

Another trick that I often use to remove the files from the macOS desktop instantly is the Terminal command. Well, even if you aren’t quite good at using the Terminal app, you will find this hack pretty simple to try.

Step #1. Launch Terminal app on your Mac. (Simply search it in the Spotlight and open it.)

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Launch Terminal app on Mac using Spotlight

Step #2. Now, you have to type the following command:

defaults write CreateDesktop -bool false

Enter the Hide command in Mac Terminal App

Step #3. Next, press Enter and then type the second command given below:

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killall Finder

Type the second Hide command in Mac Terminal App
Step #4. Next up, hit the enter key.

Voila! Check out the desktop; there won’t be any files on the screen.

Hide Desktop Icons on Mac using Terminal Commands

Don’t worry, they are just hidden and you can still find them in the FinderDesktop section.

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However, if you ever want to show them on the desktop again, simply enter the following command and hit return/enter key.

defaults write CreateDesktop -bool true; killall Finder

Simple Enter the Unhide Command in Mac Terminal App

Method #3: A Smart App Like HiddenMe Can be Worth Having a Look At

If you want to have an even easier option or don’t wish to deal with the Terminal commands too often, there is an app called HiddenMe that can let you quickly remove all the files from the desktop. Moreover, it’s available for free and works like a native feature on the Mac.

Step #1. First off, download HiddenMe on your computer and launch it.

Install HiddenMe App on Mac

Step #2. Now, check out a circle icon in the menu bar. Click on it and then select Hide Desktop Icons.

Select Hide Desktop Icons in Mac HiddenMe App

Now, all the files will go away from the screen. If you want to bring them back, click on the circle icon and then select Show Desktop Icons.

Select Show Desktop Icons in Mac HiddenMe App

Note: if you ever want to remove the HiddenMe icon from the menu bar, click on it and select Quit.

Method #4: The Old-Fashioned Way of Cleaning Up the Mess

It’s the old-fashioned way of clearing out the mess. And I think you probably already know about it.

Just drag the icons from the desktop to another folder for removing it.

Alternately, you can drag the unwanted icons to Trash to remove them. Alternatively, you will also right click on the icon and choose “Move to Trash.”

Bonus Tip: Use Stacks

Apple has introduced a new Stacks feature in macOS Mojave to let users keep the desktop neat and clean. So, how does this feature work? Well, it basically organizes all the files into file types and then places them on the right edge of the screen.

However, you have the option to stack them based on date added, date modified and more. To use it, right click on the View menu and select Use Stacks. To sort or group stacks based on your preference, right click on the desktop and then select Sort stacks by/Group stacks → choose the preferred option.

Wrapping up:

Hopefully, you have got all the tricks required to keep your Mac desktop clean or remove the clutter instantly. Let us know your feedback down below in the comments.

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Jignesh Padhiyar
Jignesh Padhiyar is the co-founder of who has a keen eye for news, rumors and all the unusual stuff that happens around Apple products. During his tight schedule, Jignesh finds some moments of respite to share side-splitting contents on social media.
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