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Mac Performance Tips – Reduce or Eliminate Widgets

Widgets Consume Valuable Memory

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Apple introduced Dashboard and widgets with Tiger (OS X 10.4). Widgets can be helpful little applications; they can display the weather forecast, provide stock updates, even control iTunes. But they also tend to consume memory, even when you're not viewing them in Dashboard. And when you are using them, they consume some CPU cycles that may be better left free for other applications to use.

Close Widgets You're Not Using

  1. Open Dashboard by clicking the Dashboard icon in the Dock.

  2. Click the plus (+) sign that appears at the far left of the Dock.

  3. Each open widget will display an X in its upper left corner.

  4. Click the X to close a widget.

  5. Close all widgets you don't routinely use.

Disable Dashboard and All Widgets

If you don't use any widgets, you can disable the Dashboard application that allows widgets to run. This will free up a bit more RAM and free up a few CPU cycles as well.

To Disable Dashboard

  1. Launch Terminal, located at /Applications/Utilities.

  2. At the Terminal prompt, enter the following text exactly as shown, then press the return or enter key on your keyboard:

    defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES


  3. When the Terminal prompt returns, enter the following text exactly as shown, then press the return or enter key on your keyboard:

    killall Dock

The Dock will disappear for a moment. When it returns, Dashboard will no longer be running. The Dashboard icon will remain in the Dock, but clicking on it won't do anything. I recommend keeping the Dashboard Dock icon, in case you wish to use Dashboard in the future.

To Enable Dashboard

  1. Launch Terminal, located at /Applications/Utilities.

  2. At the Terminal prompt, enter the following text exactly as shown, then press the return or enter key on your keyboard:

    defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean NO


  3. When the Terminal prompt returns, enter the following text exactly as shown, then press the return or enter key on your keyboard:

    killall Dock

The Dock will disappear for a moment. When it returns, Dashboard will be running again. You can access Dashboard and all installed widgets by clicking the Dashboard Dock icon.

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