Widgets on Your Mac Desktop

What is the Dashboard?

Dashboard is an app which is used for hosting mini-applications known as Widgets. When Dashboard is activated, the user’s desktop is dimmed and widgets appeared in the foreground.

What are Widgets?

Widgets are small app which is used to perform smaller tasks or show data. They are programmed the same way as websites (with CSS, HTML and JS).

How do I use it?

Simply click the dashboard icon on the Dock or press the dashboard button the keyword.

Apple created Dashboard so that widgets would run within a special protected area.  You can think if Dashboard as a corral because the widgets within Dashboard can’t get to the system or user information outside Dashboard.

If you’d prefer to move a widget to your desktop, follow these instructions:

Use Terminal to Enable Dashboard Development Mode

  • Launch Terminal, located in App/ Utilities/ Terminal.
  • Enter the “(defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode Yes)” into Terminal
  • Press enter or return.
  • Enter the “killall Dock” text into Terminal
  • Press enter or return.
  • The Dock will go for a moment and then reappear.
  • Enter the following text into Terminal (exit)
  • Press enter or return.
  • The exit command can cause Terminal to finish the current session. You can then quit Terminal app.

How to Drag a Widget to the Desktop (Mac OS X Mountain Lion or Later)?

  • Launch System Preferences by clicking on its Dock icon
  • Select Mission Control preference pane
  • Remove the checkmark from Show Dashboard as Space (Mavericks or Mountain Lion), or use the drop-down list of options to set Dashboard to display as overlay (El Capitan, Yosemite, and macOS Sierra).
  • Continue the instructions which are below for moving Widgets to the Desktop (Mac OS X Mountain Lion or Earlier).

How to Drag a Widget to the Desktop (OS X Mountain Lion or Earlier)?

  • Press F12 or click the ‘Dashboard’ icon in the Dock.
  • Choose a widget by clicking on it.
  • Press F12 then move the widget to the place of your choice on the desktop.

Use Terminal to Disable Dashboard Development Mode

  • Launch Terminal, located in /Applications /Utilities /Terminal
  • Enter the “(defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode NO)” text into Terminal
  • Press enter or return
  • Enter the “killall Dock” text into Terminal
  • Press enter or return
  • The Dock will go for a moment and then reappear
  • Enter the “Exit” text into Terminal
  • Press enter or return.
  • The exit command can cause Terminal to finish the current session. You can then quit the Terminal app.