How to Disable Certain Features in OS X
Apple’s OS X desktop operating system comes with some pretty nifty features, including Notification Center, Spotlight Search, Mission Control and the Dashboard. However, not everyone uses all of these features, and while they can simply just not use them, they can still get in the way sometimes by taking up space in the menu bar and popping up when the user mistakingly presses the wrong button combo.
If you’re a minimalist OS X user and aren’t a huge fan of these kinds of features, there are ways to disable them so that it’s like they never existed in the first place. We’ll show you how to disable some of the most-requested features so that you’ll have the minimalist OS X setup that you’ve always dreamed of. Be aware, though, that some of the disabling requires commands being entered in Terminal, which may be too much for novice users, but we’ll guide you through step-by-step.
Notification Center can be great for reminders, messages and other alerts that you need in order to get through your day unscathed, but if you’re like me, notifications are the devil and they merely just distract you from what you were working on. To disable Notification Center completely, follow these quick steps:
- Open up the Terminal app in Applications > Utilities.
- Copy and paste this command into the Terminal window and press Enter: launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.notificationcenterui.plist
- Next, paste this command into Terminal and press Enter: killall NotificationCenter
Notification Center will officially be gone and the little icon will disappear from the menu bar. However, when you two-finger swipe from the right side, it’ll still bring up a gray space marking where Notification Center used to be. To disable this swipe gesture, follow these steps:
- Open up System Preferences and click on Trackpad.
- Click on the More Gestures tab and uncheck Notification Center.
Mission Control allows you to quickly see all of your open windows and apps in one easy-to-view window, and then you can click on the window that you want to go to (also known as Expose). This is especially convenient if you have a lot of windows open and aren’t sure exactly where the other window is that you want. However, if you never use Mission Control, here’s how to disable it:
- Open up the Terminal app.
- Copy and paste this command and press Enter: defaults write com.apple.dock mcx-expose-disabled -bool TRUE && killall Dock
There’s no need to go into System Preferences and uncheck the trackpad gesture, because it won’t work in the first place, but it never hurts to uncheck it anyway. Disabling Mission Control will also disable access to the Dashboard.
Spotlight Search Icon
This is a tricky one, mostly in the sense that you don’t necessarily want to disable Spotlight Search as a whole, but you simply just want to hide the Spotlight Search icon that shows up in the menu bar. Disabling Spotlight Search altogether is not recommended, as Time Machine and other functions of OS X depend on it, so you’ll only want to hide the icon that’s taking up space in the menu bar:
- Open up the Terminal app.
- Copy and paste this command and press Enter: sudo chmod 600 /System/Library/CoreServices/Search.bundle/Contents/MacOS/Search
- You might be asked for your admin password. Type it in and press Enter to continue.
- Next, paste in this command and press Enter: killall SystemUIServer
Sadly, Launchpad acts like an app, meaning that it shows up in the Applications folder, and since it’s a default app that comes preloaded, it can’t be deleted. However, there are simples ways to avoid it:
- Remove the Launchpad icon from the dock by dragging and dropping it from the dock onto the desktop. This will make it disappear, and you should see a poofy cloud effect that shows that the removal was successful.
- Next, open up System Preferences and click on Trackpad.
- Click on the More Gestures tab and uncheck Launchpad.
After that, the only way that you’ll be able to access Launchpad is if you hit F4 on your keyboard. It’s not a complete fix, but it’s the best you can do, sadly.
This is an OS X Mavericks exclusive feature, and it aims to save battery life by essentially “pausing” apps so that they don’t take up resources when they’re not being used at any given time. However, this isn’t ideal for every user, but you can disable it. Sadly, App Nap works on an app-by-app basis, so you’ll have to go through every app and disable it, but here’s how to do it:
- Open up the Applications folder, which you can find in the sidebar of a Finder window.
- Right click on an app and select Get Info.
- You’ll see a checkbox with Prevent App Nap next to it. Check this box to disable App Nap for this specific app.