How to Hide or Remove Icons from Mac Desktop

remove icons from mac desktop

A chaotic desktop can be extremely deteriorating to do anything productive. However, many users frequently end up crowding their desktops and making them look very messy. Most of the time they save a file on the desktop, as it is more convenient to find, but then they will forget to clean it up. These files will pile up over time and will eventually flood your desktop. Thus, you will need to clean your Mac desktop up to return to your world of sanity. This article includes simple steps that you can use to hide or remove Mac desktop icons. There is even an option that will prevent newly connected hard disks and USBs from being displayed on your desktop.

Benefits of Hiding and Removing Icons on Mac

Hiding and removing the icons from your Mac has many benefits. You will be able to find important files more easily as you will not have to skim through a jungle of files. The jungle of files will also irritate you each time you open your Mac as you are staring at a mess of files. You will also be able to prevent any snoopers from being able to see the various files and storage that are located on your Mac. A cluttered desktop will also give you an unprofessional look for your clients. A clean and tidy desktop will make sure that you are able to be more productive with your precious time. Thus make sure that you hide and remove any required files and folders from your desktop to make the most out of your computer.

Ways to Hide or Remove Icons from Mac Desktop

There are many ways by which you can hide or remove icons from the Mac desktop easily.

Way 1. Hide Icons from the Desktop with Finder

The simplest step is to use the Finder to hide desktop icons. You can just use it to get rid of the stuff that you don’t want to be displayed on your desktop.

  • Launch the Finder on your Mac.
  • Click on the top left corner of the Finder and open its menu, then open Preferences.
  • Now click and open the General tab.
  • Once you have opened you will be able to see a list of items under “Show these items on the desktop,” now just uncheck the ones that you do not want to display. The various items that you can prevent from popping up on your desktop include CDs, DVs, iPods, Connected servers, Hard disks, External disks, and solid-state drives.
  • Once you have selected them, they will instantly disappear. If you want them to appear once again, you just have to check the box next to the thing that you want to display.

Way 2. Hide All Icons from the Desktop with Terminal

You can also remove files instantaneously using the terminal command. While the terminal command is mostly required for experts, you can follow the below steps easily.

  • Launch the Terminal application from your Mac. You find it by searching its name in the Spotlight.
  • Now type “defaults write CreateDesktop -bool false” into the dialogue box of Terminal and press the enter key.
  • After that command has been sent, type “killall Finder” into the terminal and press enter.
  • Once you have done this, there will be no more icons on your screen.
  • The files have not been deleted but are just hidden. You can find them in the Finder, under the desktop section.
  • If you ever want the icons to be displayed again on your Mac desktop, you must open the command terminal and enter “defaults write CreateDesktop -bool true; killall Finder” into it. This will restore all your icons back to your desktop.

Way 3. Hide Icons from the Desktop by Organizing Files

You could also use the oldest method in the book. You can simply drag all of your files into a separate folder and thus remove them from your desktop. If you have a few files that you don’t want, you can simply drag them into the Trash. You can also right-click on the file and select “Move to Trash.”

You can also use the newly introduced stack features in macOS to clear the clutter on your desktop. This feature lets you organize all your files based on their file types and places them on the right-hand side of your screen. You can also organize them based on their date modified, date created, and many other categories. All you have to do to stack is to right-click on the desktop and then click on Sort stacks by/Group stacks and choose your preferred method of stacking. This feature is only available in macOS Mojave and above.

Way 4. Easily Hide/Remove Icons From Desktop via Mac Cleaner

If all these steps seem too tedious for you, there are many applications that can help you. These applications will let you quickly remove or hide your files without any hassle. They also make the process of unhiding your files much simpler. In order to find an easier way to hide icons on your Mac desktop, you can get help from MacDeed Mac Cleaner. It can help you disable the Launch Agents, which will autorun every time you start your computer, to remove some unneeded app icons. Moreover, if you don’t need some applications anymore, you can completely remove them from your Mac with Mac Cleaner in one click.

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Step 1. Download Mac Cleaner and install it.
MacDeed Mac Cleaner

Step 2. Select Optimization > Launch Agents, and disable what you no longer need. Or select Uninstaller, and remove unwanted apps on your Mac completely.

Mac Optimization > Launch Agents


A messy desktop is one of the worst things to see when you start your Mac. Other than the psychological effect it will also drastically reduce your efficiency as you will need to wade through a huge amount of useless files to find your important documents. While you can simply select everything and move it to trash, you will most likely end up losing a few important documents along with the junk. A few preventive measures that you can take is to make sure you don’t use your desktop as your documents folder, even if you do store something on your desktop make sure that you move it once you are done with it. In this case, removing icons from the desktop should be a great way for you not only to save your important files on Mac but also to make your Mac run faster keeping perfect performances. And MacDeed Mac Cleaner will help you always keep your Mac clean, fast, and safe.

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