MacMost Now 902: Removing the Dashboard

While the Dashboard and Widgets are neat and can be very useful to some, not everyone uses them. If you find yourself accidentally triggering the Dashboard every once in a while, you can easily disable the keyboard shortcut and gesture that brings it up. You can also remove widgets from the Dashboard so it uses less resources. As an extreme measure, you can completely disable the Dashboard with a command in the Terminal window.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 902: Removing the Dashboard.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's look at how to get rid of the Dashboard.

So I love the Dashboard. I love Dashboard widgets. I love the idea of having these cool little apps you can easily get to that can do these tiny little tasks. But, in reality I never use them, never. Like year after year I've never used them once. As a matter of fact the only time I ever see the Dashboard is when I accidentally bring it onto the screen by hitting the wrong key on the keyboard or a gesture on my trackpad. It kinda of makes sense that I have to give it up and just get rid of the Dashboard.

Before we completely get rid of the Dashboard let's look at some lesser measures we can take.

If we go into System Preferences there are some things we can turn off that make it easier to deal with. For instance, if we go into Mission Control we can turn off Show Dashboard as a space. Now with it turned on as a space I can very easily use three fingers on my trackpad to move over and see the Dashboard and three fingers to go back. I can also use this keyboard shortcut here, F12, to do it and bring it up.

So I can disable both of these very easily and now I no longer accidentally see it. I can't go over there and hitting F12 doesn't do anything except generate a beep. So that kind of solves my problem. What it doesn't completely solve is getting rid of the Dashboard itself. If I go into Mission Control I see that it is not there because it is no longer a space and there is no way for me to bring it up but I can still bring up Dashboard using the Dock item here at the bottom. So I can still get to it which is kind of nice.

Now all of these are tiny little web applets and the thing about them is that all use a little bit of CPU power. Some people complain that they use a lot of CPU power. I don't see it. I use my Mac for tons of stuff and I kind of ignore the Dashboard and I don't really see these taking up much. But if you never use them then it may be worthwhile getting rid of them.

One simple thing you can do is to hit the minus button here at the bottom and simply remove ones that you don't need. As a matter of fact you can just remove them all and then they won't be running. Then Dashboard really shouldn't be using any CPU power once you get rid of all of the widgets and then you can kind of leave it at that.

But there is a more extreme measure you can take. You can use a terminal command to actually disable the Dashboard so it is not even running.

So the terminal command isn't too long of one. I'll put it there but I will also put is in the show notes on this page at so you can just copy and paste. When you execute this single line here it basically changes a preference saying to not launch Dashboard at all.

Now nothing is going to immediately happen because Dashboard is part of the Dock and the Dock is still running so it just has a preference to not launch Dashboard next time. You can force it to go away right now by using "killall Dock" and now you can see it kind of restarts the Desktop and the Dock there and now even if I tap on this icon here in the Dock nothing will happen because Dashboard is gone.

So I could actually at this point just lift up the Dashboard icon and get it out of the Dock and that removes everything. It is not here. There is no keyboard shortcuts for it. There is no gesture for it and it is actually not running.

If you are to just jump right to doing this I would still go into Preferences and disable the keyboard shortcut and disable its presence in Mission Control just to make sure. Just to be clean so that it is not trying to active the Dashboard even though it is not there.

Oh, and after doing this if you decide that you do want the Dock Dashboard back you can go over to this and use NO rather than YES and then do killall Dock again and it changes the preference back to NO don't disable the Dashboard and when you restart the Dock it is back.

I think one of the reasons that Dashboard is less relevant today than it was when it was first introduced is because of the iPhone and the iPad. A lot of users have smart phones right with them that have apps that kind of take the place of the things that are on Dashboard. You want a quick calculator, you want to look at the news really quick, something like that you can do it with your mobile device so there is no need to interrupt what you are doing on your computer, just use the app on your iPhone.

So I hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Here are the lines I type into the Terminal:
Line 1:
Line 2:

Comments: 12 Responses to “MacMost Now 902: Removing the Dashboard”

    6 years ago

    A bit peculiar that Apple is including Dashboard in Mavericks, even gave it some minor improvements! Meanwhile the Widget community has fallen into disuse with no foreseeable revival.

    6 years ago

    I use the Dashboard at least daily, for iStat Pro (quickly check on available disk space, network connection, processes, clocks in multiple timezones, the calendar and sticky pad.) Of course, I’ve got other ways to do any of those, but none are single click and prominent on the screen.

    What sezs you Gary?

    6 years ago

    Wow you must have read my mind, Thank You, As soon as I saw it I rushed to my iMac and disabled it. Thanks again

    6 years ago

    What is the Terminal command to restore the Dashboard?

      6 years ago

      It is the same, but NO instead of YES.

        6 years ago


    Mr Anthony Cotton
    6 years ago

    I agree what you said at the beginning then you went downhill.
    I think it`s a good idea,and I use it a lot. Say when you are on a website,and you want save some information I just use Stickies.
    The converter is very useful has well,because I live in England,and I covert the Dollar`s to Pounds to see how much Apple charges you to see the difference.
    When I am on my computer I certainly wouldn`t pick my mobile up to find thing`s out when they are on my computer.

    Marsha Avery
    6 years ago

    I would like certain apps on my desktop…like the calculator or weather or clock. How do I do that?

      6 years ago

      Depends on your version of OS X and what your skill level is (ever use Terminal?) Search for “Dashboard widgets on desktop” and you’ll come up with some details.
      A better solution might be to simply use what is already there. You have a clock in your menubar (you can change what it displays in System Preferences) and you can do calculations with the Spotlight menu.

    6 years ago

    my dash bord got disabled some how and i was looking for a way to fix it. After watching this video i figured it out and my dash bord works perfectly.

    6 years ago

    I don’t really use the dashboard much. There are 4 widgets on my dashboard, and the only thing I can use is the calculator, which looks great.

    6 years ago

    Thank you so much ! I hate that frackin’ Dashboard!!

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