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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Tip: Hide preference panes from System Preferences

Like many of you dear readers, I end up doing a lot of the support for the less tech savvy members of my family. While in general they’re pretty good about not messing with things that I’ve configured, sometimes accidents happen.

But here’s a tip I recently discovered: Did you know you can hide preference panes?

For example, say that you’ve set up a family member’s Mac with an unusual network configuration, and you don’t want them to change anything in the Network pane, or you’ve installed a third-party preference pane on your machine that you don’t need to configure regularly. Fire up System Preferences, go to the View menu, and choose Customize.

You’ll see checkboxes appear next to each preference pane. Uncheck the ones you want to hide, click the Done button at the top, and there you go.

System Preferences

Of course, those preference panes are still accessible, either via the search feature in System Preferences itself, or via Spotlight. So you don’t have to hide and unhide them each time you want to make tweaks, but you can still make sure that those settings stay the way you configured them.

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[Dan Moren is a tech writer, novelist, podcaster, and the Official Dan of Six Colors. You can email him at or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]