Set Dashboard to Transparently Hover Over the Desktop in Mac OS X
Don’t like Dashboard much in Mac OS X? It’s a great feature but it’s often underutilized, and if changing Dashboards background wallpaper wasn’t sufficient enough for you to start using it again, you can always return Dashboard behavior to the standard transparent hovering state that existed prior to OS X 10.7 (and 10.8 or 10.9 for that matter). The end result of this change pulls Dashboard widgets out of their own dedicated Space in Mission Control, and instead shows widgets directly over the desktop and applications, just like it did in earlier versions of Mac OS X.
Letting Dashboard widgets overlay on the OS X screen is a very quick settings change to make, though it’s not labeled that well. Here’s what you’ll want to do:
- Open System Preferences from the Apple menu
- Click on “Mission Control”
- Uncheck “Show Dashboard as a space”
Now you’ll have to hit the good old F12 button to show the Dashboard instead of swiping left to the containing space with your trackpad. Note that some Mac keyboards may require the use of FN+F12 to activate the Dashboard, or you can just use the Keyboard control panel to set or customize a unique keystroke or Function key combo to summon the Dashboard.
This adjustment is also a great change for users who don’t have a trackpad or Magic Mouse, where swiping and gestures have no roll in their workflow anyway.
So what does the difference look like? Well, if you already forgot what Dashboard was like in Mac OS X 10.6, this is what it will look like. The difference is that widgets hover over the active screen with a transparent layer:
Compare that to the new default Dashboard behavior starting with OS X Lion, Mountain Lion, and continuing through beyond OS X Mavericks, where the Dashboard is a dedicated Space within Mission Control, interspersed with full-screen apps and virtual desktops:
What you use is going to be a matter of preference, but for many users having the Dashboard overlay the active desktop is a much more convenient solution.