How to Hide Connected Drives and Keep Your Desktop Tidy [Mac]


Lately, I’ve been on a “streamlined desktop” kick. More on that in a future post. For now, though, I want to talk about how to address one minor annoyance if you want to keep your desktop clutter-free. When I first made the switch to a Mac, I noticed that all of my external drives were displayed as icons on my desktop. That wasn’t a big deal with my MacBook Air, since I rarely connect drives to it. With my iMac, though, I keep my TimeMachine drive and a SuperDuper drive connected 24/7. Here’s how I removed them from the desktop, while still keeping them hooked up to my Mac.

To remove them from the desktop, start the Finder, and select Preferences. The very first tab is the “General” tab, and lists the items that you want displayed on the desktop.

Finder Preferences

Uncheck everything that you don’t want to appear on the desktop, and you’re in business. Simple, huh? If you’re like me, though, you never had occasion to open the Finder preferences before, and you didn’t even know that setting was there.

Do you have any Finder tweaks or secrets? If so, let us know in the comments.

Evan Kline

Hello, I'm Evan. I write about tech from my perspective – that of the average 40-something tech geek. You can also find me on Twitter and at my real-life job as a lawyer.    MORE ABOUT ME.


  1. I actually had to use this trick when we got the new Mac, for the opposite reason – because the drives don’t show up on the desktop by default. After two decades of using the Mac OS, I’ve grown rather found of seeing all the drives on the desktop :)

  2. Wow yeah thanks for that tip. Like you said, I never even knew those settings were there.

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