The Dashboard - What the heck do you do with it? (Possible show idea)

While I’ve been a computer user / developer for decades, I’m relatively new to macOS having purchased my first MacBook just a year ago.

I’ve gotten a pretty decent feel for the macOS and its apps, except for one thing: the dashboard. When I go off to the left boom there’s this little pallet of a few apps.

I have a feeling this could be useful to me if used properly. I’m not sure what the most effective way is, however, to make the dashboard a helpful productivity tool. Any dashboard apps I should be looking at? And where do I look for them?


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While I’m sure some people use it daily, I think Dashboard’s best days are behind it. It’s off by default on new macOS installations, and I’m honestly surprised Apple hasn’t removed it.

The Today view in Notification Center has taken over these types of tasks, as many Mac apps offer widgets to place there. There’s hasn’t much in terms of new Dashabord widget action in years.

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Apple has tried the “widget” thing at least twice and it has flopped every time. I have Dashboard turned.

I tried it for a bit, but there’s so little useful functionality I gave up the idea and disabled it again. Menu bar items seem to suit the desktop environment better for me (I don’t even use Today on my Mac for some reason)

Dashboard is dead, vestigial tech. Haven’t enabled it in I don’t know how many years. Surprised it’s still around.

It seems like a good idea, a place to the side to keep notes and miscellanies. I have a dozen stickies on mine from 10 years ago, never use it, and forget it’s there.

I will be sad when Dashboard is removed. I have some sticky notes with my Life Goals on it that I like to be able to glance at easily. I also have a countdown timer set to countdown to my 85th birthday to remind me of how precious and limited our time is.


the what? swipe left? what?

I think the last time I’ve seen the dashboard is in Mountain Lion…

Dashboard = off

I feel like the dashboard has been superseded by the Today view and menu bar apps. Stickies and Helium cover pretty much everything else. That said, why get rid of it if people are using it?

Because maintaining code to keep it updated with the OS takes man hours (and institutional memory of the code) and complicates maintenance of the overall codebase.

Apple shunted it to the back years ago, it’s no longer on by default, and if macOS goes to ARM processors I’m willing to bet money it won’t follow to that platform.

Dashboard was Apple’s version of Konfabulator (see this heated rant from the time here), which I believe became Yahoo widgets. I used it a lot, and built a bunch of my own widgets (all just pretty simple HTML), but eventually replaced most of the functionality with Alfred workflows.

Its near-demise is, I’m sure, a product of the Jony Ive redesign of Apple products - like all the brushed metal, the skeumorphic calendar and address book, and iOS faux-mechanical buttons etc., it didn’t fit with the clean minimalist aesthetic his team has pushed in recent years.

Ive does not have a say over OS or app products, only UI and design of software/hardware. And Dashboard was mouldering long before Ive stepped up at Chieft Content officer in 2015. It’s been stuck with skeumorph design because no one cared enough about it to update it, especially since Notification Center does most of it better (and is supported with all OS releases). And if it isn’t skeuomorphic it’s just plain inconsistent - Stocks, Dictionary, Weather, Calculator, Calendar, and more all look like they’ve gone untouched since the days of Scott Forstall. The World Clock widget’s second hand moves in the same clunk-clunk way instead of a smooth, uninterrupted motion like in iOS and watchOS. Apple still has a built-in “Tile Game” widget. Blech. Detritus.

The closest things Apple today supports which resemble Dashboard are probably 1-2 Watch faces and maybe the iOS Health app.

Thanks for all the feedback. I bought my MacBooks used, they all had High Serria on them and were upgraded to Mojave after it came out.

One of them had Dashboards already turned off, but the other two had them on. I just turned them off (go into System Preferences, Mission Control, and set the Dashboard to “off” in case anyone else is wanting to turn it off as well).

I’ll look more into the today view and what it can do.

Thanks again!

I’m still using Dashboard, but for widgets that are no longer available – iStat Pro and Daily Comics. It’s basically dead technology. On the Windows side, several years ago I was using something similar sponsored by Microsoft. They shut it off citing security reasons.

At least part of Dashboard seems to be 32-bit, so I expect we won’t see it any more after Mojave.

I’ve been expecting Stickies to die as well. Several macOS versions ago a Beta automatically imported all Stickies into Notes. That must have upset enough beta testers that the final release left them alone. At least Stickies is a 64-bit app.

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It’s an app, and I think it’s 64-bit too, so I don’t see why it would be killed off any more than TextEdit would

Anyway, there are tons of replacements/supersets available for free or cheap - just search sticky in the Mac App Store. I stopped using Stickies years ago, instead using Antnotes (albeit fairly rarely):

(There’s also a free lite version called Simple Antnotes.)

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You can disable the Dashboard through the Terminal using the following command:
defaults write mcx-disabled -boolean TRUE; killall Dock