How to clean up your Mac's desktop

How do I clean up my Mac desktop? macOS has several options to keep you orangized!

Your Mac's desktop is where you do a lot of your work. Many of us have a tendency to use it to keep files we access frequently, piling them on until your desktop becomes a hot mess. Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to clean up your Mac desktop, then use these tips to keep it tidy in the future.

How to organize desktop items into folders on Mac

Rather than just leaving every file on the desktop, group them into folders. Folders make it easier to keep track of related items.

  1. Right click any blank space on your desktop background.
  2. Click New Folder. You can also use the Command-Shift-N keyboard shortcut.

    Right click any blank space on your desktop background and then click New Folder

  3. Click on the new folder that just appeared.
  4. Hit enter on your keyboard.
  5. Type a name for the folder.

    Click on the newfolder that just appeared, hit enter on your keyboard, and then type a name for that folder.

Now you can drag any items you want into that new folder.

How to align and sort desktop items automatically on Mac

If you feel you need some sort of structure to the way your folders and files are placed, your Mac can help you automatically sort your files into a nice and tidy grid by specific types of files.

  1. Right click any blank space on your desktop background.
  2. Click on Clean Up By.

    Right click amny blan space on your desktop and then click Clean up by

  3. Choose the option you want. Your options are as follows:

    • Name
    • Kind
    • Date Modified
    • Date Created
    • Size
    • Tags

      Click the sorting option you want.

How to keep all your desktop files in a grid formation on Mac

If you find your desktop has lost all structure and files are in every corner, you can easily snap all the files and folders back into a grid formation at any time.

  1. Right click any blank space on your desktop background.
  2. Click on Sort By.
  3. Click Snap to Grid.

    Right click any blank space on your desktop backgroun, click Sort By, but then Click Snap to Grid.

Now, until you change it, all your files will always snap to a grid. If you want to reverse it, you can follow the same steps listed above.

How to adjust the size of desktop icons on Mac

If you think the icons on your screen are too small or too big, you can easily change their size.

  1. Right click any blank space on your desktop background.
  2. Click Show View Options.
  3. Adjust the icon size with the slider.

    Right click any blank space on your desktop background, click show veiw options, and then adjust the icon size with the slider.

How to change the grid spacing on the desktop on Mac

  1. Right click any blank space on your desktop background.
  2. Click Show View Options.
  3. Adjust the grid spacing with the slider.

    Right click any blank space on your desktop background, click show veiw options, and then adjust the icon size with the slider.

Questions?

Want to know anything else? Let us know in the comments below!

Originally published June 2015. Updated Nov 2016 to reflect changes in macOS