Desktop clutter, in fact most clutter, is something that everyone on a computer struggles with. For most people, the desktop is a good place to put files that need to be accessed often but you can only put so many items on your desktop before it turns into a mess. macOS Mojave has a feature called desktop stacks that helps you keep your desktop somewhat cleaner if you tend to place loads of files on it. Here’s how you can enable/disable desktop stacks on macOS Mojave.

Desktop stacks

Desktop stacks are basically virtual folders. When you put files on your desktop, they’re grouped together so that it looks like there’s just one file. This virtual folder has an arrow on it and when you click it, it expands to reveal the files in it.

Enable/disable desktop stacks

To enable/disable desktop stacks, open Finder or just go to your desktop and click on an empty area so that you get Finder in the menu bar.

Once you have the Finder’s items in the menu bar, go to ViewUse Stacks. Select it if you want to enable desktop stacks, or uncheck it if you want to disable them.

By default, the stacks are created based on file type. This means that if you, for example, have loads of image files on your desktop, they will all be grouped into one stack. If you want to change the grouping criteria, go to ViewGroup Stacks By and select how you want the files to be grouped. You can group them by the date they were last opened on, the date they were added, the date they were modified, the date they were created, and by tags.

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Most of the grouping criteria is date based. You don’t have an option to group by file extension so if you have JPGs and PNGs, they will all go into one stack.

As mentioned before, the stacks are virtual folders which means they don’t actually exist. If you happen to open Desktop in Finder you will find all your files listed there in no folder of any sort. Compared to the clean look of your desktop, the Finder is going to show you a bit of the mess.

The point is, this feature is cosmetic for the most part. It’s not going to organize your files for you. It will only make your desktop look cleaner. That’s not to say it’s a useless feature. It’s quite good for anyone who habitually puts files on their desktop though it might encourage users to continue to neglect organizing files.