How to hide desktop icons on Mac (2023)

How to hide desktop icons on Mac

A completely cluttered desktop is the last thing I want to see on my Mac. However, I have to deal with the messed-up display quite often.

Many times, I save files on the desktop so that I can find them a bit more conveniently. And if I forget to clean them up in time, they pile up and clutter the entire screen.

Luckily, I’ve put together some easy-to-use tricks to hide desktop icons on Mac to get rid of the mess immediately. Let’s give them a try!

How to hide desktop icons on Mac using Terminal

  1. Launch Terminal on your Mac. (Use Spotlight Search to find and open it.)

    Launch Terminal app on Mac using Spotlight
  2. Now, enter the following command:
    defaults write CreateDesktop -bool false

    Enter the Hide command in Mac Terminal App
  3. After entering the first command, copy and paste the second command given below:
    killall Finder

    Type the second Hide command in Mac Terminal App
  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’re just hidden and you can still find them under FinderDesktop section.

However, if you ever want to show them on the desktop again, simply enter the following command:

defaults write CreateDesktop -bool true; killall Finder

Simple Enter the Unhide Command in Mac Terminal App

Use HiddenMe to hide desktop icons on Mac

If you’d rather hide your desktop icons without using Terminal, there’s an app called HiddenMe that lets you quickly do so. Moreover, it’s available for free and works like a native feature on Mac.

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

    Install HiddenMe App on Mac
  2. Now, look for a circle icon in the menu bar. Click on it and then select Hide Desktop Icons.

    Select Hide Desktop Icons in Mac HiddenMe App
  3. 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.

Delete icons from a Mac desktop using Stacks

Apple introduced a new Stacks feature in macOS Mojave that lets 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.

Workaround: The old-fashioned way of cleaning up the mess

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

Just drag the icons from the desktop to another folder for removal.

Alternatively, you can drag the unwanted icons to Trash to remove them.

Hopefully, one of the tricks helped to hide the desktop icons on your Mac and cut down on clutter. Let us know your feedback in the comments. We’ll do our best to help you out!

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A tech-aficionado whose superpower lies in blabbering interminably about new technologies. After 4+ years and 4500+ content pieces that helped diverse companies grow, I followed my passion and made iGeeks Media my home. When not gushing over technology, you will find me immersed in a fictional world, either reading or creating one.

  1. I have the problem that all desktop thumbnails (except one, of my external hard drive) disappeared but are visible in Finder > Desktop. I tried your Terminal command “defaults write CreateDesktop -bool true; killall Finder” but it didn’t change anything. Can you help? Thanks!

  2. 1. Restart your Mac and see if the issue resolves itself.
    2. Force quit the finder and relaunch. Go to the Apple menu > Force Quit. Then select Finder and click Force Quit.
    3. Open the Finder, and on the menu toolbar, click Finder and then select Preferences. Select the General tab. It will say “show these items on the desktop”. And then please make sure that the items you want to keep on your Desktop are selected. And then close the Finder Preferences window.
    4. Try to disable iCloud Drive. Open the Apple menu, and then go to “System Preferences > iCloud”. Select “Options”, and then uncheck the “Desktop & Documents Folders” box, and then select “Done”.

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