How to Remove Something From the Desktop of a Mac

Techwalla may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.
Image Credit: Jupiterimages/ Images

Is your Mac desktop crowded with icons, folders, and files? Clearing your desktop allows you to keep it organized. By default, many applications and folders automatically download to the desktop. After while, your desktop looks messy and you loose the ease of accessing files quickly. Macs make it easy to remove items from the desktop and keep the ones that you want.


Step 1

Select the files or folders you want to remove from the desktop and drag them to the trash to remove them from the desktop.

Video of the Day

Step 2

Eject an external hard drive from the desktop if you are not using it. To do so, press and hold "CTRL" and click the external hard drive icon. Select "Eject" to remove it from the desktop. Alternatively, drag the hard drive icon from the desktop to the trash bin to remove it from the desktop.


Step 3

Move the files you want to keep to a separate location other than the desktop. To do so, double-click the "Macintosh HD" drive on the desktop. Select the folder you want to transfer your saved desktop files to. Click the desktop files you want to transfer and drag them to the folder on the Macintosh HD drive.



Step 4

Click "Finder" on your desktop if you want to select the files and icons that can display on the desktop. Click "Preferences" and click the "General" tab. Select the items you want to display on the desktop under "Show items on Desktop." Close the window to save the changes


Step 5

Arrange the remaining icons that you want to keep on the desktop. To do so, press "CTRL" and click an empty spot on the desktop. Click "View" and click "Arrange by." Select the arrangement method you want to use. The icons are organized automatically based on your choice.




Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...