How to Hide External Drives from Mac Desktop

Dec 7, 2022 - Leave a Comment

How to hide external drives from the Mac desktop

By default, the Mac desktop will show external drives and volumes, including things like external hard drives, USB flash keys, and other external storage. If you wish to not show those external volumes on the desktop, you can adjust a setting in MacOS to hide external drives form the Mac desktop.

Hiding external drives from the Mac desktop offers a cleaner and more simplified desktop experience, and you can continue to access the external drives and volumes from the Finder at any time.

How to Hide External Disks Icons from Desktop on Mac

  1. From the Finder, pull down the “Finder” menu and choose “Settings” (or “Preferences” on older MacOS versions)
  2. Go to the General tab if it is not selected already
  3. Uncheck the box for “External disks” to hide all external disk drives, USB flash drives, etc
  4. Optionally, uncheck the box for CDs, DVDs, and iPods, to hide other external devices when they are connected
  5. Hide external drives from Mac desktop

  6. Close out of Finder Settings

The change is immediate, and if you have any currently attached external disks they will no longer be shown on the Mac Desktop.

You can access connected external disks at any time through the Finder, where you’ll see them in the sidebar, or the absolute root of any Finder window.

If you want to also hide internal hard disks, including “Macintosh HD”, you can uncheck the box in the same settings panel for ‘Hard disks’, which has the effect of hiding Macintosh HD from the Desktop on the Mac.

Note that this setting is the same in all versions of MacOS, though from macOS Ventura 13 onward the Finder Settings are labeled as Settings, whereas earlier versions of MacOS labeled them as Preferences.

If you toggled this feature off to clean up your desktop and have a tidier experience, you might also want to make sure that Stacks are enabled on the Mac desktop, which help to dramatically declutter tons of files on the desktop. You can also go ultra-minimalist and hide all Desktop icons on the Mac by disabling the display of the desktop, which makes it so that you can only access items in the file system through Finder and not the desktop.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks

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