For many users, a computer’s desktop quickly turns into a headache. If you are anything like me, you use it to keep temporary files that you might only use once, but that need to be saved somewhere temporarily. I sometimes keep items there to remind myself of things that I need to do. It is also always filled with .dmg files from installed apps, among other things.
Whatever it is that I’ve used my desktop for recently, it is usually filled with a number of items that I probably don’t need at that moment and that just distract me. Sometimes you need a clean desktop to do a presentation, or sometimes you want to quickly hide everything that is there to take a quick screenshot (like if you are a writer for a Mac app website and you need to take a lot of screenshots of running apps).
That’s why we are reviewing today’s app. It’s called Desktop Tidy and it claims to fix this problem with a few features you don’t typically see in competing apps. Does it succeed? Let’s see!
How it Works
When you first install and open the app, you’ll be greeted with a short screenshot tutorial that will pinpoint every feature in the app and show you in general terms what the app does. After this is over you’ll have a chance to check over a few settings.
Desktop Tidy will let you set a periodic time when it will check with your desktop to see if there are any recent items. If there are, it will move them from the Desktop to a folder inside the menu bar app, where you can have quick access to them without having them be intrusive all over your desktop.
The drop-down you get when you click on the menu bar icon will show you a few fields where you can access the settings and check when the last cleaning was made, among other things. One section of it is called the “Shadow Desktop,” and is where you can see all of the files that the app is storing for you. In it, the files will be displayed with a small image that displays their file type, and the folders will be shown as sub-menus where you can access their contents.
The main feature, of course, is that it can move files from the desktop to a hidden folder inside the app. But this app can do much more than that. For example, it will show you the size of all the files you have accumulated in the desktop folder. It will also notify you through Growl every time it moves files.
Also, you can use keyboard shortcuts to achieve different functions when you click an item inside the app. Use shift to delete the file, Control to bring it to the desktop, and Alt to show the file in Finder.
Then there are the organizing tools. The “Quick Filters” let you see your items arranged by file type, folder or alphabetic order. And the “Organize” menu lets you hide files, delete all of them, restore them to the desktop and arrange your Quick Filters.
Under the settings there are a ton more goodies. Other than modifying the usual settings that you’ll find in any other app, here you can also modify the Quick Filters and add types of files that fit into them, as well as add files that should be ignored by the app and left in the desktop no matter what.
Shortcomings and Alternatives
For the most part, I’m impressed with this app. It does a delicate task (as it basically changes the way you interact with a very vital part of some user’s workflow), but it does it in a very original and organized manner. If anything, I find it a bit annoying that if you use the app, you have to give up drag-and-drop like you can do with items on your desktop. It would be great if they implemented that, or at least a keyboard shortcut like the ones I mentioned earlier, but for copying files.
When I first heard about this app, I immediately thought of a similar product called Desktopple that goes for free and has been available for quite a while. Eventually it became pretty clear that they are very different apps. Desktopple is just a simple solution for making all of your desktop files “invisible,” while Desktop Tidy is a much more elaborate app that can help you not just keep a clutter-free desktop, but also maintain the functionality of keeping files in an easily-accessible place.
I like this app, and if you have ever found yourself annoyed by how much stuff you have on your desktop, then you will also find this app useful. At first I thought it was going to be just another app that hides your desktop files, but it turned out to be a well-designed app that almost mimics the functionality of your desktop while keeping it clean and giving you quick ways to delete the files that you no longer use.
I guess everybody has different uses for their desktop, and so some will not find this app ideal for them. Instead, if you’re looking for a much more simple way of just hiding everything for a quick screenshot, then you could check out the freemium Desktopple. Let us know what you think about this app and your desktop!