Lock Dashboard Widgets To Desktop

I like the Dashboard. It enables me to keep at a keypress alot of useful utilties. My favorite Dashboard widget right now is the Tempo time logging widget. There are times that pressing F12 is a bit too inconvenient. I sometimes want to leave a Dashboard widget on the desktop so I can always see it. Oddly, OS X doesn’t give you an easy way to make Dashboard widgets stick to the desktop.

Not to be deterred, I did some poking around and found a neat trick to allow you to do this. Before we begin, you must be comfortable using the Mac Terminal application.

  1. Open Terminal (Application->Utilities->Terminal)
  2. Type defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode YES
  3. Type killall Dock

Your Dock will disappear for a few seconds and then reappear. Once it does, you can move Dashboard widgets onto the Desktop.

  1. Press F12 to display the Dashboard
  2. Pick a widget and hold down the mouse button
  3. Press F12 again

You’ll see the widget now is on the desktop. You can stick it wherever you want. You can put the widget back into the Dashboard by clicking it first, pressing F12, then releasing the mouse.

If you want to go back to the defaults, do this:

  1. Open Terminal (Application->Utilities->Terminal)
  2. Type defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode NO
  3. Type killall Dock

Pretty handy trick eh? If you have any other interesting OS X hacks, please let us know in the comments.


  1. Geoff on July 12, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    You have to use Fn-F12 to access Dashboard, and then Fn-F12 while clicking on the widget you want to put on your desktop.

    • Joe on July 12, 2010 at 10:14 pm

      Hmm. Do you have a Macbook or Macbook Pro?

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