How to Organize Your Mac Desktop

Clean up your messy Mac desktop!
1 minute

I've seen countless messy Mac desktops. Sometimes it's organized chaos like my junk drawer, but other times it impacts a Mac user's daily experience with their Mac. It is extremely frustrating to be looking for that paper you spent a week on or those priceless family photos that you cannot replace, only to get lost in the mess of your Mac desktop.

Luckily, macOS is designed to allow you to customize your Mac and organize it in a way that best suits your individual needs. In this guide, I show you how to organize your Mac desktop using either Stacks or Sort By and choosing your sorting method.

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Click "View"

First, click "View" in the upper left-hand corner of your Menu Bar.

Click "Sort-by" or "Stacks"

Then, choose your organization method!

What Stacks does to your Mac desktop

By clicking "Stacks," my personal favorite, Stacks organizes your desktop folders and files into groups based on folder or file type. Stacks will organize screenshots in one place, stacking them on top of one another. It will do the same with pictures. It will also organize your folders and other data. Suffice it to say, your desktop will be organized!

Stacks can be further customized once you have selected it as your Mac desktop's organization method, by choosing its "Group Stacks By" settings. After choosing "Stacks," if you want to change the organization method of your desktop data, you can again go to View > Group Stacks By > and choose your organization method. The Groups your stacks can be sorted into are as follows:

  1. Kind
  2. Shared By
  3. Date Last Opened
  4. Date Added
  5. Date Modified
  6. Date Created
  7. Tags

Again, by default, it will be sorted by file "Kind."

What Sort By does to your Mac desktop

By choosing "Sort By" and a sorting method, you can avoid stacking your data if you don't prefer Stacks, while still sorting your data. After hovering your mouse over "Sort By," the following options will appear for you to click on:

  1. Name
  2. Kind
  3. Shared By
  4. Last Modified By
  5. Date Last Opened
  6. Date Added
  7. Date Modified
  8. Date Created
  9. Size
  10. Tags

Try out each option to get the feel for what works for you! Once you have settled on an option, your desktop is organized, and you can start enjoying the new organization.

Check out this guide on how to customize your Finder View!

Organize your Mac with multiple desktops.
1 minute

If you're a student or use your Mac for work, then you know what it's like to have multiple windows or apps open at a time, and how messy that can sometimes make your Mac desktop.