Stuffing my desktop with everything I use on my Mac is what I hate doing, and cluttered desktop literally makes me angry. Yet I do it all the time, and over a period of time, my Mac desktop gets filled with icons I never use or hardly ever use. Any solutions for cleaning my desktop?

A lot of icons and files on the desktop take up precious space on your screen and in your memory, so cleaning up your Mac desktop doesn’t only make the screen look good, but it also makes the machine work faster too. So, we will learn how to clean up desktop on Mac in this article.

How Do I Clean up My Desktop on A Mac

We have gathered a list of the most effective tips and tricks to keep your desktop all nice and clean and your Mac work faster. Let's check out these useful聽tips below.

Trick 1: Arrange Your Desktop Icons

There are a number of things you can do to arrange your Mac desktop is well-placed columns automatically. Mac provides a very easy solution to automatically re-arrange your Mac desktop. All you need to do is hit Right-click on your desktop and select Show View Options (You can also go in the Finder app and look for this in View-> Show View Option or simply press Command + J) to get this screen.

The selection here gives you the option of automatically arranging your desktop according to Name, Size, Label, Date Modified, Date Created, Date Last Opened, etc. The first thing I would recommend is to check Snap to Grid聽and then select the arrangement criteria in the way you like.

sort by icons on desktop


The latest Mac OS X Mojave gives you another option to group together your files, which is called Stacks. As the name shows, this feature stacks the common files and folders on one part of your desktop screen instead of everything lying around scattered. It’s very useful when you are fond of putting things you use on the desktop more often. Just open Finder, then click View section and choose "Use Stacks".

use stacks mojave

Trick 2: Adjust Icon Size on Desktop

Mac has always optimized its features to make them user-friendly, and what makes anything special are the small details. You have the option of adjusting small details when it comes to your desktop icons, you can select the size of the icons on your desktop along with the space between the grid columns. This is an excellent feature to clean up Mac desktop聽even when you have a large number of icons.

adjust icon size

Trick 3: Organize Desktop Items into New Folders on Mac

We talked about the cool stacking feature in the latest macOS X Mojave, but even if you are using an older version of macOS, there is a very easy way to get around this fix. You can group all the items that fall in some category or the other and put them in folders. All you have to do is create a folder on the desktop and name it for the category you would like to group your files in and start throwing everything inside. Isn’t it an amazingly easy way to clean up Mac desktop!

new folder on mac

You can right-click anywhere on your Mac desktop and click New Folder (if you are a fan of keyboard shortcuts, just hit Command + Shift + N), rename the folder and here you go.

Trick 4: Hide Desktop Icons聽on Mac

If you have done the above things to clean up your Mac desktop and still feel that you need more space on your screen. Mac OS Finder lets you hide the items on your screen till the time you want to use them. A number of ways are available to achieve this.

1. Use Finder:

You can go to Finder > Preferences and just select what all devices you want to show or hide on your Mac desktop (The items can always be accessed from the Finder sidebar).

finder hide icons

2. Use Terminal

Another useful tip helps to clear Mac desktop聽by hiding all your desktop icons temporarily when you are not using anything. This might get a little technical but if you learn this single command, so we don’t recommend this way to beginners. Type the following command in the Terminal application:

terminal hide icons

And a similar command can bring all those hidden icons back to your desktop.

terminal show icons

Trick 5: Get Rid of All Unneeded Files

How to clean up my Mac desktop聽with a more efficient way? Have you ever wondered if you need all those files jumbled up on your desktop or not? As a rule of thumb, anything older than seven days should be moved away from the desktop, maybe in some other folder on your drive. If you don’t remember why you put any file on the desktop in the first place, then it has no place on your Mac desktop at all. Get rid of these files to get a lot of space cleaned up on your Mac desktop. You can use either of the following.

1. Move to Trash

To get rid of a file you don’t need anymore, you can just move it to the trash items folder. To remove an icon, select and drag it to the Trash or you can right-click and choose ‘Move to Trash’. However, cleaning up every icon from the already cluttered Mac desktop takes up a lot of time, a recommended way is to use an efficient Mac cleaning software. And the Umate Mac Cleaner is one of the best Mac cleaner app available on the market, which is highly recommended and trusted by many famous tech sites like Macworld, MakeUseof, Cult of Mac and more.

2. Automatically Detect and Delete All Unneeded Files with Umate Mac Cleaner hot

Automatically removing all your unnecessary files can be done by using Umate Mac Cleaner. It is easy to use, efficient and powerful with the best features available for cleaning up your Mac. Umate Mac Cleaner is able to聽completely scan your Mac system and chase junks from every corner of the device聽for a full cleanup. 聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽

One of the app’s main features - Clean Up Junk is designed to locate聽all the unneeded聽files and remove them on a single click. It聽has 2 cleaning modes available聽- Quick Clean and Deep Clean. Instead of digging through a cluttered desktop, you can just let the app scan through your Macbook to find all the files you don’t need in minutes. You definitely want to use this application rather than clicking every icon one by one.

Getting Umate Mac Cleaner up and running on your computer聽is very easy and simple. Just follow these steps:

1. Download , install Umate Mac Cleaner and launch it.

Mac version

2. Hit the big Scan button in聽“Clean Up Junk”聽tab.

umate clean up junk

3. Once the scan is complete, only select the items you want to delete and click “Clean” to confirm the request.

umate deep clean

Let's see which way is better to delete unneeded files on your desktop. You will find answer in the form below.

Time Needed Functionality Whether hidden junk files removal is supported
Umate Mac Cleaner A few seconds Automatically scan your Mac for junk files and removes them with one click. Yes! It will automatically scan your Mac for chasing junk filess from every corner of the device including hidden ones.
Move to Trash Maybe hours Need to dig around the desktop for hours to end. No! This way only supported to delete those files you can see.

Actually, You Can Avoid Desktop Clutter聽& Keep Your Desktop Clean

You can use all these tips and tools to clean the clutter from your Mac desktop. The best choice would be to avoid this altogether in the first place and not let your Mac desktop get filled with unnecessary files. But the only reason these files get to your Mac desktop is that you need to quickly access them. A perfect application that provides you an alternate to avoid putting files on the desktop and still be able to quickly access them is ‘Spotlight’.

Spotlight聽is an application launcher embedded in MacOS. It’s a very simple way to access your files and applications. You can press Command + Space on your Mac anytime to go to Spotlight and type in the name of the app or file you need to access, the launcher will find the item and start listing the matches to your keywords as you type. You can search for any file, folder or application using Spotlight.

spotlight search on mac


Now you know how to clean up Mac desktop, right? It’s not a surprise that we need to clean up our Mac desktop every now and then, even the most organized out of us get to this point. These tips will help you get your space sorted out, and your machine running as good as it always was. We recommend regularly using a cleaning software tool like Umate Mac Cleaner to avoid piling up junk files聽and other unnecessary desktop clutter on your Mac.

Mac version