Hide Desktop Icons in macOS

When I need to hold a training through a screen share with my desktop in full display I usually don’t want the people I am training to see any current projects, research, and notes that might be sitting on my desktop. There are several reasons why you might want to hide your desktop while doing a screen share:

  • You have a messy desktop
  • You don’t want research you’re doing on full display
  • You don’t want to potentially share any sensitive material like client names
  • To look more professional

I also didn’t want to have to remember the command to quickly kill the desktop in macOS so I created a quick shell script where I can just call desktop in my terminal and tell it to hide; then get on with my training. Run the command again and tell the script to show the desktop when you’re done.

Add the follow script to your .bash_profile, .zshrc, or which ever default shell you are using.

    vared -p "Show or hide Desktop? (show/hide): " -c SHOWHIDEDESKTOP

    if [[ "$SHOWHIDEDESKTOP" == "hide" ]]; then
        defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop false
        killall Finder

        echo -e "\e[31mDesktop Hidden"
        defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop true
        killall Finder

        echo -e "\e[32mDesktop Visible"


One big thing you want to remember, if you choose to use this: YOU WILL NOT HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR DESKTOP, AT ALL!

If you need to drag and drop items from your desktop during your training you will need to rely on the finder as everything on your desktop will be inaccessible.