Is your Mac desktop a mess? Don’t really want to organize everything? Don’t worry, you can use a terminal command to quickly hide all desktop icons before sharing your screen on a work call or taking a screenshot.
A cleaner desktop is only a terminal command away. While you can use Stacks to automatically organize the desktop, nothing beats a clean slate.
To get started, open the Terminal app on your Mac using Spotlight Search or Launchpad.
Terminal is the built-in command-line application on Mac. But don’t let that overwhelm you. In this guide, we will be using Terminal to run a specific command in a safe manner. It will not affect your work or the macOS system.
After opening the Terminal app, type or paste in the following command, and then press the Return (or Enter) key.
defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop false
Next, you’ll need to restart the Finder application. Type in the following command and press the Return (or Enter) key.
All Finder windows will restart, and just like that, your Mac desktop will be blank. All icons are now hidden.
Click the red Close button in the top-left corner of the Terminal app to safely exit the application.
You can now carry on with your presentation or screenshots.
You can reverse this change using another Terminal command. If you want the desktop icons back, return to the Terminal app, type or paste the following command, and then press Return (or Enter).
defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop true
Type the following command and then press the Return (Enter) key to restart Finder.
The desktop icons will spring back to life!
Once again, use the red Close button in the top-left corner of the Terminal window to safely exit the application. You can now go back to your merry work life!
If you aren’t comfortable using the Terminal app every time you want to hide or show desktop icons, try using the free HiddenMe menu bar application.
It’s a small, single-purpose utility that sits in the menu bar and lets you hide desktop icons with just a click.
While it’s great that macOS offers a quick way to hide all desktop icons, there will be times when you’ll still want to use them. Desktop icons and shortcuts can help you be more productive. But a messy desktop isn’t going to cut it. Take some time to organize your desktop icons. You’ll thank us later!