How to hide or unhide desktop icons on Mac

If you like some Zen space on your screen or you don’t like app icons scattered all over that beautiful wallpaper on your Mac screen, you’re probably considering hiding desktop icons. In this guide, we will provide a step-by-step explanation for hiding these icons.

On the other hand, if you have hidden desktop icons by mistake and you would like to revert the settings, we will show you how to unhide these icons on your Mac. All these can be achieved by a simple command as you will learn here.

How to hide desktop files in Mac

There are different ways to hide and unhide app icons on your Mac. We’ve highlighted two of the best methods below:

Hide or unhide Mac desktop icons using the Terminal

To hide desktop icons on your Mac using the terminal:

  • Go to utilities then launch terminal
  • Enter defaults write CreateDesktop false in the terminal and press Enter
  • Type killall Finder on a new line and press Enter

To unhide desktop icons through the terminal:

  • Type defaults write CreateDesktop true and press Enter
  • Then type killall Finder on the new line

How to hide or unhide desktop icons on Mac using an app

You can also use an app to hide or unhide desktop icons. Some of the apps you can use include HideenMe and Clean.

Both apps operate differently from each other. If you are using HiddenMe, follow these steps:

  • Open the Mac App Store and search for HiddenMe
  • Install then launch the app
  • Click on its icon on your desktop
  • Click Hide Desktop Icons

To unhide these icons, simply click on the app’s icon then Show Desktop Icons.

Clean, on the other hand, organizes your desktop icons in folders based on the date or your preferred settings, leaving your desktop clean. This app is also available on the Mac App Store.


If your screen is messy, any of the above methods could bring in some organization. Hopefully, you’ve decided on a method that suits you better and that you’ve found this guide to be helpful. If you have multiple apps or files on your desktop, make it a habit to remove those that you don’t use to avoid making your device slow.

Read: Is CleanMyMac 3 safe?