How to hide all desktop icons on Mac

Is your Mac desktop a mess? Don’t you really want to organize everything? Don’t worry, you can use a terminal command to quickly hide all desktop icons before sharing your screen for a work call or taking a screenshot.

A clean desktop is just a terminal command away. While you can use stacks to automatically organize the desktop, nothing beats a clean slate.

How to organize your desktop with stacks on macOS Mojave

First, open the Terminal app on your Mac using Spotlight Search or the Launchpad.

Terminal is the built-in command line application on the Mac. But don’t let that overwhelm you. In this guide, we will use Terminal to safely execute a specific command. It doesn’t affect your work or the macOS system.

After opening the Terminal app, type or paste the following command, then press Enter (or Enter) Key.

defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop false


Next, you need to restart the Finder application. Type the following command and press Enter (or Enter) Key.

killall Finder

Enter    the command to restart Finder and hit Enter.

All Finder windows will restart and your Mac desktop will be blank. All symbols are now hidden.

Click the red Close button in the upper left corner of the Terminal app to safely exit the application.

Click the red Close button in the top left corner of the window to be safe close the terminal app.

You can now proceed with your presentation or screenshots.

You can undo this change with another Terminal command. If you want to restore the desktop icons, return to the Terminal app, type or paste the following command, then press Enter (or Enter).

defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop true

Type the following command, then press Enter (Enter) Button to restart Finder.

killall Finder

Enter    the command to restart Finder windows and press Enter.

The desktop icons come back to life!


Again, use the red Close button in the upper left corner of the Terminal window to safely exit the application. You can now get back to your happy work life!

If you don’t want to use the Terminal app every time you want to show or hide desktop icons, try the free one HiddenMe Menu bar application.

It’s a small, single-purpose utility located on the menu bar that allows you to hide desktop icons with just one click.

While it’s great that macOS has a quick way to hide all of your desktop icons, there will be times when you’ll want to use them anyway. Desktop icons and shortcuts can help you be more productive. But a messy desktop won’t make it. Take some time to organize your desktop icons. You will thank us later!

How to organize your Mac’s desktop icons

Related Posts