If you have many apps open under macOS and your Mac desktop is therefore not visible, there are now a number of ways to quickly regain access to this area. Away macOS 13 Adventure For example, the Stage Manager can be used for tidier work. With macOS 14 Sonoma there is an option that can be used both with and without the Stage Manager: show the desktop by clicking on the background image, for example next to the dock. This ensures that the app windows move to the side and the desktop becomes visible. Here's why this new feature is (probably) there and how to disable it.
Chapter in this post:
Click wallpaper to view desktop objects
If you find a small scrap of your desktop background between all your app windows or next to the dock, then simply click on it from macOS 14 - and the desktop will be displayed to you. But it's not just the background image that becomes visible, the stored files and folders, the drives (if displayed) and the desktop widgets that can also be placed with this Mac operating system also become visible.
In the desktop display triggered in this way, you can even interact with the desktop objects, open files and folders, click on widgets, use their functions, etc. If you then click on the background image again, the app windows move back into the foreground. This all sounds more complicated than it is; it is very intuitive to use. Once you've tried it once or twice, you'll get the hang of it.
It takes some getting used to: Clicking on the wallpaper again brings apps back
While this is all very intuitive to use, it can get annoying if you accidentally misclick. If you didn't want to click on the background image at all, but on a widget, a drive or a folder, then the view is suddenly blocked again by the open apps. That can certainly break the workflow.
Although you can mark desktop objects in this view with the mouse button pressed, you can also make a mistake there. If you don't hold the mouse button properly or accidentally trigger a single click for motor reasons, then the desktop display is gone again. So: a good idea, but annoying with accidental clicks.
Show (de)activate the desk by clicking: Here's how!
I only noticed this feature by accident. Because I clicked on the desktop or its wallpaper in order to be able to use the menus for the Finder in the menu bar. I noticed that the app windows move to the side and the desks (I use two screens) each get a dark border - as in the screenshots shown above. In the long run I found this annoying and wanted to disable the function.
If you feel the same way, then you no longer need to look for a solution. Because here you will find the step-by-step instructions with which you can switch off the display of the desktop by clicking on the background image from macOS 14 Sonoma:
- Click on the top left of the menu bar Apple logo ()
- In its drop-down menu, select the System settings ... from
- Now click in the list on the left Desk & dock an
- Look for the “Desk” area on the right
- Next to "Click wallpaper to show desktop objects," select "Only in Stage Manager."
- Possibly restart the Mac (this was a tip from a reader where it only worked after a restart)
Feature usefulness vs. accidental clicks
As noted above, this new feature isn't a bad idea. Especially with the possibility of placing widgets on the desktop as of macOS 14 Sonoma, this quick access is quite useful. Of course, one could argue that you can also just click on the clock in the upper-right corner to see the notification center's widget overview, but some might prefer the desktop tiles.
It will certainly take a while before you stop letting yourself be ripped out of the workflow by accidental wallpaper clicks or until you get used to clicking carelessly. If you don't need such desktop shortcuts to interact with widgets or use drives, files, and folders in that location, you can turn off the feature as shown above. Feel free to leave a comment if you find this useful or not!
[On vacation] After graduating from high school, Johannes completed training as a business assistant specializing in foreign languages. But then he decided to research and write, which led to his independence. He has been working for Sir Apfelot, among others, for several years now. His articles include product introductions, news, instructions, video games, consoles and much more. He follows Apple keynotes live via stream.