How to Hide Desktop Icons on Mac

Last Updated: June 20, 2017

Some people are good at managing their desktop space and keeping it really neat and tidy. Well, I am not one of them and my Mac’s desktop is cluttered with folders and files. I love my chaos, and I am not going to change my habits in the foreseeable future. However, I do need to hide my desktop files on certain occasions. For example, if I have to attach screenshots in any of my articles, or when I have to give a presentation at work, I would rather show people a cleaner desktop, as it is easier for them to focus on the right things. Whether you are struggling to keep your desktop clean or you thrive in the chaos like me, you will encounter moments when you have to hide all that clutter quickly. For those quick moments, here’s how to hide desktop icons in macOS quickly:

Note: I have tried all the methods to hide desktop icons on both macOS Sierra and macOS High Sierra, so they should work fine for you as well. 

Hide Desktop Icons in macOS Using Terminal

The Terminal is like a trove of treasure. You can do wonders on your Mac with the right commands, so it’s no surprise that you can use the Terminal to hide desktop icons on a Mac. You can just launch the Terminal by searching for it in Spotlight and run the following command:

defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop false

Then, restart the finder by using the following command. This will hide all your desktop icons.

killall Finder

FalseTo bring back the icons, just replace the word “false” in the command with “true” and run the commands. Also, do not forget to refresh the finder by using the “Killall Finder” command.

True

Hide Desktop Icons on Mac Using Third-party Apps

If you are someone who likes to play hide and seek with your desktop icons, using Terminal can be a little bit time-consuming. You will need a one click solution for your problem, and this is where third-party apps come in handy. HiddenMe Free (download) is the best such app out there. It’s free and works flawlessly. When launched, the app lives in your menu bar and you can hide/unhide your desktop icons with a single click.

Hidden Me free

If you want an even quicker method, you can use the Global Hotkey option in the app and assign a shortcut which will work no matter where you are on your Mac. For example, I have assigned command+l as my personal shortcut. Whenever I hit my shortcut combo, all my desktop files are hidden. You can press the hotkey again to bring the icons back.

Record Shortcut

SEE ALSO: How to Add Spaces to Organise Apps in Dock On Mac

Hide Desktop Icons on Mac to Give It a Cleaner Look

By using either of the above methods, you can ensure that no one is able to catch you off-guard and make you feel ashamed about your digital cleanliness habits. Now, you can clutter up your desktop to your heart’s desire and when the moment comes, you can clean it up with a few keystrokes. So, try these methods out and let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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