How to quickly display your desktop on a Mac

How to quickly display your desktop on a Mac

If you save a work file on your desktop, you might minimize the window to view the desktop. Or you might want to see the desktop to quickly hide the application window. Here’s how to quickly display the desktop on a Mac.

Use Keyboard or Mouse Shortcuts

The fastest way to see the desktop (without setting new features) is to use keyboard shortcuts. Actually, there are several ways you can do this:

  • Command + F3: Use the Command + F3 (Mission Control) keyboard shortcut to quickly see the desktop. This shortcut works on most modern Macs.
  • Fn + F11: If you have an older Mac, or if you use a keyboard that does not have a media key, you can use a combination of the F11 or Fn + F11 keyboard to open the desktop.

You can also create your own shortcuts (using the keyboard or mouse) to open the desktop. To do this, click the “Apple” logo found in the upper left corner of the screen and then select the “System Preferences” option.


Here, click the “Mission Control” option.


Now, you will see two drop-down menus next to the “Show Desktop” option. From the one on the left, you can set keyboard shortcuts, and from the second, you can choose mouse shortcuts.


You can choose from the function key, and the Shift, Command, Option, and Control keys. Look at keys that you don’t use often. For us, choosing the Right Option button makes sense because we rarely use it.


If you use a mouse with additional buttons, you can also set it to display the desktop.

Set the Heat Angle

You might not know this, but there is a hidden feature on your Mac called Hot Corners. This basically allows you to take action just by bolstering the cursor in one of the four corners of the screen.

For example, you can open the Notification Center, Mission Control, and yes, show the desktop by moving the cursor to one of the edges of the screen.

You will find this feature by going to System Preferences> Mission Control. Here, click the “Hot Corner” button found in the lower left corner of the screen.


Now, click the drop-down next to one of the edges (we go to the top left corner) and select the “Desktop” option. Then click the “OK” button to save changes.


Going forward, when you move the cursor to the upper left corner of the screen, your Mac will immediately move the window and display the desktop. To hide it, pay attention to the cursor to the same edge again.

Use Trackpad Movement

If you use a MacBook with a trackpad (or if you use Magic Trackpad), you can quickly display the desktop using simple gestures.

Spread your thumb out of three fingers on the trackpad to open the desktop. Pinch with thumb and three fingers to hide the desktop.


The gesture is activated by default on all Macs, but if that doesn’t work for you, go to System Preferences> Trackpad> More Gestures and here, make sure that the “Show Desktop” option is checked.


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