Reveal Your Desktop Quickly with a Keyboard Shortcut

The Mac’s Desktop is a remarkably useful place. It’s a good spot for in-progress documents, screenshots, images dragged out of Web pages, and more. However, app windows tend to obscure the Desktop, making it harder to use. There are two quick ways you can temporarily hide windows, making it easy to access icons on the Desktop, either with a keyboard shortcut or with a hot corner.

  • macOS 13 Ventura: Apple menu > System Settings > Desktop & Dock
    • Keyboard Shortcut: click the Shortcuts button at the bottom and assign a keyboard shortcut to Show Desktop (like the Right Option key)
    • Hot corner: on that same screen click Hot Corners and choose Desktop for one of the corners
  • macOS 12 Monterey and earlier: Apple menu > System Preferences > Mission Control
    • Keyboard Shortcut: click the dropdown by “Show Desktop: to choose your preferred keyboard shortcut
    • Hot Corner: on that same screen click Hot Corners and choose Desktop for one of the corners

Once set up, press that keyboard shortcut or put your pointer in that corner to move your windows aside temporarily. And I don’t mean near that corner; bump the mouse the whole way into the corner. When you’re done, press the key or move the pointer there again to put the windows back. You can even drag and drop while performing these actions, allowing you to drop items onto your desktop. Just don’t let go of the mouse button as you move to the hot corner or press the shortcut button, and whatever you are dragging will remain held.

(Featured image based on an original by

Further help

If you are an existing customer who needs help with this or if you have other questions, or if you are in San Francisco and interested in becoming a client I invite you to book an appointment with me. Otherwise, you may wish to contact Apple Support or find a local Apple consultant.

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