How to Hide Desktop Icons on Mac

Do you know you can change icons on Mac or hide desktop icons on Mac? Learn how to hide desktop icons on Mac, change their size, and do so much more right here.

May 28,2019 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

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“How can I hide desktop icons on Mac? There are too many shortcuts and icons on my Mac desktop and I wish to get rid of them – but I don’t know how to do it!”

This is one of the queries that I have recently read on an online Mac community. Since I also use a Mac, it made me think of ways to change icon on Mac or hide them altogether. I realized that just like Windows, Mac users can also customize their desktop icons or completely get rid of them if they wish to.

In order to help you do the same, we have come up with this complete guide on how to remove icons from desktop on Mac. Apart from different solutions to hide desktop icons on Mac, we will list some other techniques to manage your desktop as well.

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Solution 1. Use the Finder Preferences to Hide Desktop Icons on Mac

If you are a regular Mac user, then you must be aware of the System and Finder Preferences. It involves all kinds of settings and options that can help us customize the way we use our Mac. If you wish to know how to remove icons from desktop on Mac, then follow these simple steps:

  1. To start with, just go to the Finder option on your Mac, which is on the top left corner. Click on it to get its context menu and choose the “Preferences” option.

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  2. This will open the Finder Preferences tab on the screen. From here, you need to go to the “General” section, if you aren’t there already.

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  3. Here, you can view an option for “Show these items on the desktop”. Just disable (uncheck) the feature for all the options here like hard disks, external disks, etc.

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In the end, just close the tab and go to the desktop to verify. You will see that all the icons on your Mac desktop would be hidden now. You can follow the same approach and enable their options to unhide them. Although the same technique will work on every leading macOS version, the interface might differ from one version to another.


Solution 2. Use Terminal to Hide the Icons on Mac Desktop

Apart from the Finder Preferences, the system also allows us to hide desktop icons on Mac via the Terminal. The Terminal app works similar to that of Command Prompt in Windows. Users can just enter certain commands to the Terminal and run it to complete a relevant operation. If you know the right commands, you can simply type them correctly and perform almost anything on your Mac. For instance, if you wish to learn how to hide desktop icons on Mac via Terminal, then follow these steps:

  1. Firstly, you need to access the Terminal app on your Mac. To do this, just go to the Spotlight and look for “Terminal”. Just make sure that you are logged in as an administrator before running any command.

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  2. Once the Terminal app is opened, just type the following command and press enter:defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool false
  3. After that, simply type “killall Finder” and press enter. This will hide all desktop icons on Mac in one go.

This simple step would work seamlessly on every major macOS version. If you wish to show the hidden icons on your desktop again, then follow the same process. Just enter the following command instead and your hidden icons will appear again on Mac’s desktop: defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool true; killall Finder

By following either of these two methods, you can easily learn how to hide desktop icons on Mac like a pro. While the Terminal command will hide all icons in one go, you can customize things via Finder Preferences. That is, you can handpick and select the icons you wish to show or hide. You can follow your preferred approach to change icons on Mac and customize your desktop. Besides that, there are so many things that you can do on your desktop. Here are some of these bonus tips that will let you manage your desktop like a pro.


Bonus 1. Change the Mac App Icons on the Desktop

By default, Mac displays all the icons on the desktop in a certain way, which would vary among different macOS versions. Though, if you want, you can change any icon on Mac and customize your overall experience. While the process is a bit different than learning how to hide desktop icons on Mac, you can easily get a hold of it. When you change an icon on Mac, it will reflect it everywhere, including the desktop.

  1. To start with, just go to the Finder and open your Applications to view all the installed apps.

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  2. Simply select the app that you wish to customize and right-click it. From the context menu, click on the “Get Info” section. You can also just press the Command + I keys as well.

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  3. Make sure that you already have the new icon image that you wish to change. For instance, you can keep it on the desktop on a temporary basis.

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  4. Copy the new image by pressing the Command + C keys and then click on the small icon of the existing image.

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  5. Now, just press the Command + V keys at the same time to paste the image.
  6. Save your changes after the image is posted and close the screen. You can go to the desktop and view the changed icon on Mac.

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While the solution to change icon on Mac would work smoothly, make sure that the image format you are taking is compatible. In most of the cases, JPG or PNG formats work quite smoothly.


Bonus 2. Make the Desktop Icons Smaller on Mac

  1. To change the size of icons on Mac, firstly go to its desktop and press the Command + J keys at the same time.
  2. If you want, you can also go to the “View” menu on the top and click on the “Show View Options” feature.

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  3. This will open view options for desktop on the screen. Here, you can see a slider for “icon size”.
  4. You can simply move the slider towards the left to make the icons smaller (and right to make them larger).

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Once you are happy with an icon size, just close the screen. You can also alter the text and grid size from here as well.


Bonus 3. Recover Missing Desktop Files on Mac

This is one of the most important things to note if you do not wish to suffer from an unforeseen loss of data on your Mac. In case if you have accidentally deleted files from Mac’s desktop or the files have been corrupted, then take the assistance of Recoverit Data Recovery software. It is a complete data recovery tool for Mac that can extract all kinds of files from your system, lost under numerous conditions.

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If you have deleted a partition on Mac or have lost it due to any other reason, then you should use Recoverit Data Recovery. It can help you restore partition data on Mac by following these easy steps.

Step 1: Select a Source Drive

To start with, just launch Recoverit Data Recovery on your Mac and select a source drive to scan. In this case, it will be the native drive of your Mac.

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Step 2: Scan the Location

As the scanning for the lost and deleted content will progress, you can just wait for a while for it to be finished.

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Step 3: Preview and Recover

When the recovery process is finished, you can just preview your files on the interface and select the ones you wish to get back. Click on the “Recover” button in the end and save them to a secure location.

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Conclusion

Now when you know how to hide desktop icons on Mac, you can easily customize your desktop as per your requirements. We have also provided a quick solution to change icons on Mac and even alter their size. Apart from that, you can also consider using Recoverit Data Recovery application too. As a remarkable tool, it will make sure that you never suffer from any unforeseen data loss on Mac ever again.

Sue Wen

staff Editor

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