Apple kills the Dashboard in macOS Catalina

In macOS Catalina, Apple has killed off the Dashboard, and at least one person will miss it dearly.

Lily Hay Newman for Wired:

Apple had telegraphed earlier this summer that Dashboard was about to meet its end, but that didn’t make the news any easier for me, the only person I know who was using the feature every day.

Dashboard was a sort of second desktop that you could populate and customize with simple programs, called widgets. It launched with 14 basic options developed by Apple, including Weather, Dictionary, World Clock, Calendar, and Calculator widgets. One of my favorites was Stickies—floating yellow boxes that you could type notes into and “stick” onto your desktop. Another joy of widgets: Outside developers could make them, too. An entire ecosystem cropped up…

It wasn’t anything flashy, but I found it useful to have all of these tools in one place just a keyboard shortcut away.

MacDailyNews Take: Ah, memories, of a feature we never used. Longtime Mac users never really embraced the Dashboard. Yes, we knew it was there and how to get to it (and we even made a MacDailyNews widget for it way back when), but the Dashboard was never something we ever got in the habit of using.

Dashboard fans: use the “Today” tab within your Mac’s Notification Center to replace your Dashboard widgets. There are more available via the Mac App Store. Just search for “Notification Widgets.”

28 Comments

  1. I use Dashboard ALL the time (my Mac Pro is stopped at High Sierra due to Nvidia driver issues and waiting to buy a new Mac Pro). The problem is it was never coded properly and the positions of widgets would change or sometimes not work or partially work. It was always an unfinished software project at Apple so thanks for nothing Apple.

  2. I use it every day. Upgraded to beta 10.15 and couldn’t stand it. Went back to 10.14 for now. Was a great feature in the OS to quickly get at weather, stocks, package tracking, conversions, calendar. I use it multiple times a day as the “as overlay”.

  3. I too have always used Dashboard. I kept it available at a space—available with a swipe. I found it a good place to have my units conversion app, which I use a lot. (It also converts currency, which I also use.) Dashboard has also been home to a specialty calculator I use as a content creator. I often need to add up the times of multiple audio/video tracks. One cannot add hours/minutes/seconds in an ordinary calculator. But this widget is perfect for that—and in Dashboard it was always instantly available. Before upgrading, I’m hoping to find widgets of similar functionality for the notification center.

  4. Haven’t used Dashboard but Apple did the same thing to me with Time Travel on the Apple Watch. I still miss it today – not sure why they had to “retire” it.

  5. So this is what we are writing and commenting about today… Sheesh.. okay.. I used Dashboard 4 times Since Mid-2012 MacBook Pro purchase. Wup Dee Doo. Next Article… Paaaaleeeease!

    1. So you never used it. Other people did. You don’t think they have a right to complain.

      I have never used your house. You did. So I guess you don’t have the right to complain if somebody burns it down.

      What ever happened to routine human empathy?

  6. I’ve been a Mac user since 2005 and have used Dashboard nearly every day. I think the removal of Dashboard is unnecessary and am really disappointed. Of all the suggestions MDN suggested, none of them replace the usefulness of Dashboard.

  7. I used it countless times everyday. For me, Dashboard is a “must have” feature for what I do professionally. The new built-in alternatives are a joke, which might suffice for amateurs.

    One general gripe abut MacDailyNews, which I otherwise like and appreciate: MacDailyNews staff comments are way too often marred by ridiculous and/or stupid side remarks, like this one above: “Long time Mac users never really embraced …” Judging from the often childlike character of staff remarks, I am pretty sure that I have several decades more experience than the writer.

  8. Seriously, MDN? I got my first Mac in 1989, so I think I can consider myself a longtime Mac user. I use Dashboard CONSTANTLY, and the only reason I use Notifications at ALL is because Apple turned off the Weather widget. Don’t make assumptions you have no way to back up.

    Biggest problem with the Notifications tab is that it’s vertical and narrow. I have a HUGE monitor and I want to use all that space! A swipe on a Magic Mouse beats moving to the corner and scroll… scroll… scroll… until what I want to see appears.

    Please… stick to news and drop the judginess.

  9. I’d consider someone like me who’s used the Mac since 1986 to be a justified “long time Mac user” and I DO “embrace” using the Dashboard every day, so you don’t speak for me. I was ready to update to Catalina over my Thanksgiving vacation, but now I will be waiting a long time. I use the Dictionary/Thesaurus all the time, the world clocks, the stocks, the dictionary, the MacDailyNews widget, the calendar and the conversion widget, all just a screen shift away. This change is worse than removing colored folders.

  10. I used the dashboard widgets (stickies especially) every day. I did not see this coming and am distressed. I recorded innocuous passwords and usernames for certain sites that I didn’t want to save in their respective apps. Is there anyway to recover what I lost?

    1. Hopefully someone will have a clever answer for you…but I suspect other than restoring your old installation, you’re probably out of luck. For this reason, before upgrading my OS, I always clone my present system to an external drive I can boot up into…just in case. That has saved me a lot of grief in the past. I can always boot up into my old system if needed.

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