How to Enable Dashboard Features in macOS Catalina

After keeping it alive for a long time, Apple finally killed the Dashboard feature in macOS Catalina. Over the years, Dashboard had become a skeleton of its original self, but some Mac users still used this feature daily. And while we cannot enable the Dashboard in macOS Catalina, there are several third-party apps that you can use to get the same features. In this article, we are going to show the best macOS Dashboard alternatives that you can use to fill the void that Apple has created by killing it.

Enable Dashboard Features in macOS Catalina

I spent days to figure out a way to enable Dashboard features in macOS Catalina. But sadly, it cannot be done. There’s no hidden feature or setting or hack that will allow you to do it. Thankfully, there are third-party apps that you can use to enable most Dashboard Features in Catalina. You can click on the table of content below to check the list of apps mentioned in this list. With that said, let’s get to our list, shall we?

1. Widgets

The closest replacement to the macOS Dashboard that I could find is the Widgets app. There are several things that I like about this app. First and foremost is the fact that it has the largest collection of widgets of all the apps that I tested. With this app, you are getting widgets for an audio player, calendar, calculator, clock, contacts, counter, dictionary, and weather among several others.

So, it replaces almost all the widgets that you are losing with the axing of the Mac Dashboard. One of my favorite Dashboard widgets was the unit-converter widget and thankfully the Widgets app also brings that widget.

1. widgets

Another thing that impressed me was the inclusion of multiple themes. So, not only you can see widgets in traditional black and white themes but also in other colors.

The Widgets app gives you a modernized Dashboard and that’s probably the highest praise that I can give to this app. The only drawback that I could find was the app crashed a few times on me. Also, it’s only available in the US Mac App Store. If you are missing the Dashboard on macOS Catalina, try it out.

Download from App Store: $4.99

2. Use the Today View

While Apple killed Dashboard with macOS Catalina, it also introduced a kind of replacement for it by launching the Today View area (access by swiping left to right from the right edge of Mac trackpad). The Today View is the same as its iOS counterpart, which means you can place widgets there. The benefits of the Today View area is that apart from showing you the stock widgets, it also gives you an option to showcase third-party widgets.

And this feature is going to matter a lot more with upcoming macOS Big Sure and ARM Macs, as they will be able to run iPhone and iPad apps natively. And since the introduction of third-party custom widgets on iOS 14, you will get all those widgets on your Mac. But, that’s in the future, and we are not there yet.

2. Today View

Well, talking about the current scenario, you get the stock widgets for calendar, reminders, world clock, calculator, now playing, weather, and stocks. Apart from the stock widgets, there are third-party apps like Things 3 and OmniFocus that bring their widgets.

You can also search for widgets on the Mac App Store if you are looking for specific ones. For example, here’s a unit-converter widget and world-clock widget that I download. So, if you don’t want to experiment with third-party apps, you might want to look into it. It’s only going to get more powerful in the future.

3. Infinity Dashboard

Infinity Dashboard in an excellent macOS Dashboard replacement for people who want access to glanceable information. It allows you to track anything you want in a clean and concise informational dashboard. It has over 35 built-in modules for tracking and monitoring things ranging from current weather, travel times, website stats, stock prices, and birthdays to currency rates, social tickers (Twitter followers, YouTube subscribers, etc), product prices on Amazon, and more.

3. Infinity Dashboard

Not only that, but Infinity Dashboard also supports user-generated modules, allowing you to do monitor things like cryptocurrency pricing, percentage lived, and workday percentage, among other things. You can also create your modules using Javascript. The data is refreshed automatically at a defined frequency which makes it a live dashboard. Finally, there’s a native Mac app along with the ability to share a web app version of your dashboard.

Download: Free trial, $9.99

4. iWall-Dynamic Desktop Engine

iWall is less like the Mac Dashboard and more like Rainmeter skins for Windows. For the unfamiliar, Rainmeter allows you to create a dynamic desktop background using different themes, wallpapers, and widgets. You can create some cool stuff using Rainmeter on Windows (you can click on the linked article above to check them out). While iWall is not that powerful, it is good enough to act as a Dashboard replacement.

4. iWall

Mind you, it will not bring all the widgets that we lost, but something is better than nothing. With iWall you can set dynamic backgrounds that change the colors based on time, show a visual representation of audio playback, set a video as the background, showcase time and calendar, and more. The main difference between iWall and the macOS Desktop is that the former is more focused on aesthetics while the latter was more functional. Check it out and see for yourself if you like it or not.

Download from Mac App Store: $2.99

5. Dashful

Dashful is a beautiful dashboard replacement if you can live with a web dashboard. The app doesn’t offer any native Mac app, so you will have to access it using a browser. That flaw aside, it is a very powerful dashboard replacement. There is one caveat though. The widgets here are not meant to be interactive like macOS Dashboard. They are more like information widgets.

5. Dashful

So you can use it for getting information at a glance. You can add widgets for weather, social media (see a live count of Twitter follower or Twitch and YouTube subscribers), year progress, countdown timer, image, and more. You can also add custom widgets using <iframe> and custom APIs. Again, this is not strictly a macOS Dashboard alternative per se, but it is a cool dashboard.

Visit Dashful: Free, $10/month

Use These Mac Dashboard Replacements to Get All the Widgets

The Mac Dashboard was not a popular feature, with only a small percentage of Mac users using it. But that doesn’t negate the fact that it was a good feature, and people who used it loved it.

So, if you are saddened by the killing of Dashboard in macOS Catalina, check out these alternatives. If you have found a good alternative that we couldn’t, share with us in the comments below so the whole community can benefit from it.

comment Comments 1
  • trzzz says:

    The very first option – the Widgets app. Who’s the developer? What’s their site? Virtually nothing on that in the Internet.

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