How to Take Control of System Preferences on macOS | Hide Icons, Sort + Search!

11th June 2021


Jacob Woolcock

11th June 2021

Jacob Woolcock




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How many times have you opened up System Preferences on your Mac and been sat there for ages staring at the rows of icons, just trying to find the one you need? This short #QuickTips video will show you how to search for, re-organise and even remove icons from the System Preferences pane on macOS Big Sur and macOS Monterey to make finding the settings you need much, much easier!


Let’s be honest, it’s never particularly easy to find what you’re looking for in System Preferences! Here are a few tips to try and make it a little bit simpler for you.

I don’t know what it is about System Preferences, perhaps it’s all the different icons or the fact they’re not really in much of an order, but I always struggle to find what I’m looking for when I open up the app. For example, if I’m looking for Bluetooth, I always find that a hard one to find, but in the top right corner is a little handy search bar, and if you start typing, it will automatically highlight any possible options containing your text.

But you can also choose to organise your System Preferences in an even more logical way (for example, alphabetically). To do this, simply go on the top toolbar and click onto View, and then you can go to Organise Alphabetically. Now your System Preferences will not be broken up into those categories; instead, they’ll be from A to Z, and you can easily find what you’re looking for. I personally find this much quicker, and I’m leaving mine on this setting from now on.

But the other thing to think about is actually a lot of those System Preferences you may never need to use. For example, you may not have a Trackpad, or you may never want to use Apple Pay on your Mac. And this is where another really handy feature comes in. Tap onto that View toolbar once more at the top and then go on to Customise. I can now really simply tick and deselect any objects that I don’t want in this window. For example, I’m not likely to change my Language or Region anytime soon, so I’ll lose that option straight away, and I can go through and I can deselect as many or as few of these as I like.

And then when I press Done on the top toolbar of System Preferences, the new icons will be reflected there. That means there are now fewer things to look at and, hopefully, easier to find the one that you want. And lastly, don’t worry—these icons have not gone forever! You can simply go back to View and then Customise, and then you can re-enable any settings that you need. This makes it super quick to customise your System Preferences and hopefully gives you a little bit more control over such an important part of the Mac experience.

I hope you found this tip helpful. Please do like the video and subscribe to my channel if you have. There are loads more iPhone, iPad, and Mac QuickTips just waiting for you there.


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