How to Disable Some 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 Dashboard. However, not everyone uses all of these features, and while they can’t simply use them, they can still get in the way sometimes by taking up space in the menu bar and popping up when the user accidentally presses the wrong key combination.

If you are a minimalist OS X user and not a big fan of such features, there are ways to disable them as if they never existed. We’ll show you how to disable some of the most requested features so you can have the minimalist OS X setup you’ve always dreamed of. Note, though, that some disabling operations require commands that must be entered in Terminal; this may be too much for novice users, but we will guide you step by step.

Notification Center

Notification Center can be great for reminders, messages, and other alerts you need to get your day going unscathed, but if you’re like me, notifications are the devil and they only distract you from what you’re working on. To disable Notification Center completely, follow these quick steps:

  1. Open the app inside.
  2. Copy and paste this command into the Terminal window and press: launchctl dump -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/
  3. Next, paste this command into Terminal and press: killall Notification Center


Notification Center will officially disappear and the little icon in the menu bar will disappear. However, when you swipe with two fingers from the right side, a gray space mark will still appear where Notification Center used to be. To disable this swipe gesture, follow these steps:

  1. Open and click.
  2. Click the tab and uncheck it.

Screenshot 2013-11-19 12.47.39

Mission control

Mission Control lets you quickly see all your open windows and applications in one easy-to-view window, and then you can click on the window you want to go to (aka Expoze). This is especially useful if you have a lot of open windows and you’re not sure exactly where the other window is. However, if you never use Mission Control, here’s how to disable it:

  1. Open the application.
  2. Copy and paste this command and press: defaults author mcx-expose-disabled -bool TRUE && killall Dock

There’s no need to go into System Preferences and uncheck the trackpad gesture as it won’t work in the first place, but it wouldn’t hurt to uncheck it anyway. Disabling Mission Control also disables access to the Dashboard.

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Spotlight Search Icon


This is a tricky process mostly in the sense that you don’t want to disable Spotlight Search as a whole, but only want to hide the Spotlight Search icon that appears in the menu bar. It is not recommended to completely disable Spotlight Search as Time Machine and other functions of OS X depend on it, so you will only want to hide the icon that takes up space in the menu bar:

  1. Open the application.
  2. Copy and paste this command and press: sudo chmod 600 /System/Library/CoreServices/Search.bundle/Contents/MacOS/Search
  3. You may be asked for your administrator password. Type and press to continue.
  4. Next, paste this command and press: killall SystemUIServer


Screenshot 2013-11-19 13.18.20

Unfortunately, Launchpad behaves like an app, meaning it appears in the Applications folder and cannot be deleted as it is a default app that comes pre-installed. However, there are simple ways to avoid this:

  1. Remove the Launchpad icon from the dock by dragging and dropping it from the dock to the desktop. This will make it disappear and you should see a fluffy cloud effect indicating successful removal.
  2. Then open it and click on it.
  3. Click the tab and uncheck it.

From now on, the only way to access Launchpad is to press F4 on your keyboard. It’s not a complete fix, but unfortunately it’s the best you can do.

Application Sleep


This is a feature exclusive to OS X Mavericks and mainly aims to save battery life by “pausing” apps so they don’t consume resources at any given time. However, this is not ideal for every user, but you can disable it. Unfortunately, App Nap works on an app-by-app basis, so you’ll need to review and disable each app, but here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the folder you can find in the sidebar of a Finder window.
  2. Right-click an application and select .
  3. You will see a checkbox next to it. Check this box to disable App Nap for this particular app.

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