How to Hide Icons on a Mac Desktop? (macOS Sonoma Compatible)

As a Mac user, you likely know about the desktop, a handy area for keeping your files. When you start your MacBook, the desktop is the first thing you see. It's like a home screen where you can find and open all the files and icons you've saved. However, only some people like a cluttered desktop with numerous app icons. Some prefer a clean and tidy way to hide icons on a Mac desktop without barriers.

If you need clarification on all the little pictures on your Mac computer's screen and want to make icons disappear, this article will help you with some simple and fast ways to do it.

Part 1. Why Do You Need to Hide All Icons on a Desktop Mac?

There are several reasons why Mac users might choose to hide icons on desktop Mac. These reasons range from personal preference to improving productivity and reducing clutter. Have a detailed look at these reasons to understand the importance of customizing the desktop:

  • Personal Preference: Some users prefer a clean and minimalist desktop environment. By hiding all icons, they can enjoy a clutter-free workspace and focus on the task without visual distractions.
  • Improved Productivity: With a clear desktop, users can easily locate and access specific files or applications using alternative methods such as Finder. This can save time and help you increase your productivity.
  • Reduced Clutter: A cluttered desktop with numerous icons can be visually distracting and challenging to find specific items. With icons hidden, users can organize their files in folders in a specific manner.
  • Enhanced Security and Privacy: Hiding icons on a desktop Mac can offer an additional layer of security and privacy. By hiding sensitive files, users can prevent unauthorized access to confidential information.

Part 2. How Do I Remove Icons from My Mac Desktop Without Deleting Them?

Removing icons from your Mac desktop without deleting the files is straightforward. Following are a few steps outlined below, where you can keep your desktop clutter-free while preserving your important files and applications. See the methods below and learn how to hide desktop icons on Mac within a few clicks.

1. Hide Icons on Desktop Mac Via Finder Preferences

Finder, a versatile file manager, and graphical UI exclusively designed for macOS, offers a range of options. The best feature is to conceal icons from the Mac desktop effortlessly. Follow the detailed steps below to hide icons using Finder on your Mac device effectively:

Step 1: Click the Finder icon in the toolbar at the top of your Mac's screen. Then, a drop-down menu will appear. From the options there, select "Settings." This will open the Finder Settings window.

Tap on the setting options on Mac to hide icons on mac desktop

Step 2: Following this, inside the Finder Settings window, you'll see several tabs at the top. Click on the "General" tab to access the general settings. Within the General tab, find a section titled "Show these items on the desktop." To hide all the items on your desktop, uncheck all the options through checkboxes.

 Update Show these items on the desktop option on Mac to hide icons on desktop mac


  • Provides a convenient and user-friendly interface for managing files and folders.


  • This method can only hide a limited set of icons, such as it cannot hide screenshots or folders.

2. Hide Mac Desktop Icons Via Terminal

The Terminal of Mac is an incredibly powerful built-in tool that gives you complete control over various aspects of your system. However, with patience and a step-by-step approach, you can easily learn how to hide icons on a desktop Mac:

Step 1: Launch the Terminal application by clicking on "Applications" in the Dock, then navigate to the "Utilities" folder, and finally launch the "Terminal." Once the Terminal window is open, type the command " CreateDesktop false.”

type the command " CreateDesktop false" on Terminal

Step 2: Now, hit the "Enter" key on your keyboard. This will execute the command and applies the changes to the Finder preferences. You need to restart the Finder application to ensure that the changes take effect.

Step 3: To do this, type the “killall Finder” command in the Terminal window and press "Enter" again. This command terminates the currently running Finder process, and the changes will be made.

 type the “killall Finder” command in the Terminal window


  • Allows you to execute advanced tasks that may not be easily achievable through other means.


  • Terminal commands can be complex, especially for beginners.

3. Hide All Desktop Icons on Mac Via PresenterMate

While using your device, if you need an app to hide desktop icons on Mac, you can easily do so by utilizing PresenterMate. It is a handy application designed for presentation purposes. With PresenterMate, you can clean up your desktop by temporarily hiding all the icons. To do so:

Instruction: Start by downloading and installing PresenterMate from the official website. Then, launch the PresenterMate software on your Mac. Once the PresenterMate app is launched, it will automatically hide all the icons present on your desktop.

 utilizing PresenterMate to hide mac desktop icons


  • Enhances the visual appeal and professionalism of presentations by eliminating desktop clutter.


  • This tool causes inconvenience if users need to access or organize files during their work quickly.

4. Hide All Desktop Icons on Mac Via HiddenMe

If you prefer to hide all desktop icons on Mac without relying on Terminal commands, you can use an application called HiddenMe. HiddenMe is a free application that seamlessly integrates with the native features of macOS. Follow the aforementioned steps to use this tool:

Step 1: To start, install the HiddenMe software on your Mac and open it. When it's ready, you'll see its icon in the menu bar at the top of your Mac's screen. Look for the HiddenMe icon, which usually looks like a circle or a similar symbol.

Use HiddenMe to hide all desktop icons mac

Step 2: Then click the HiddenMe icon in the menu bar to access its options. From the drop-down menu, hit the "Hide Desktop Icons" option. All the files and icons previously visible on your Mac's desktop will disappear. If you wish to return the icons, click the "Show Desktop Icons" option from the same drop-down menu.


  • It provides a straightforward and hassle-free way to hide your icons.


  • Relying on an external app for desktop customization can be risky in case of sensitive information.

Part 3. How to Hide PDF Files on Mac Using UPDF

UPDF is a versatile tool that allows you to edit and manage your PDF files and provides a feature to hide your PDF files on Mac using its integrated UPDF Cloud service. Even if you have multiple PDF files, you can store and upload all of them. However, this will also enable you to access files from any location. In addition, this makes your desktop look more organized than before.

Supports Windows 7 or later100% secure

Supports macOS 10.14.6 or later100% secure

100% secure

100% secure

Use UPDF Cloud to hide PDF files on Mac

With UPDF Cloud, you can also start making changes to your files directly, and you will not need to download them. The files stored on your Mac will not be visible anymore, and even if other people are using your device, they will be unable to access those files.

Also Read: Simple and Easy Ways to Hide Text in PDF

Step-by-Step Guide to Hide PDF Documents Effectively Using UPDF

To get the additional layer of privacy and security for your sensitive or confidential documents, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Open UPDF Tool and Access UCloud

Open the installed UPDF tool to open it on your Mac computer. Then from the left sidebar, select the "UPDF Cloud" option. Now, you can tap the "Upload File" option or drag and drop the file to upload it within seconds.

Uplod file to UPDF Cloud

Step 2: Delete All the Files from Finder

Now, press the Finder app on your Mac, locate, and select your PDF file. Next, click on the “More” icon and select "Move to Bin" from the drop-down list. This will delete your selected files from the desktop.


To sum up, hiding icons on a Mac desktop is a simple task that can help you organize your workspace and maintain a clean and clutter-free environment. Additionally, we recommend using UPDF Cloud to protect your files.

It offers effective encryption and advanced security features to safeguard your important documents. By uploading your files to UPDF Cloud, you can ensure their protection and access them from anywhere, anytime.

Supports Windows 7 or later100% secure

Supports macOS 10.14.6 or later100% secure

100% secure

100% secure