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How to back up and restore desktop icon layout on macOS

macOS has a neat feature called stacks for the desktop. If you’re in the habit of dumping everything, or a lot of things on your desktop, you’ll find that Stacks are a good way to keep things somewhat organized. If you keep your desktop nice, clean and organized, you might want to make sure your icons stay exactly where they are. Generally speaking, desktop icons don’t jump around on macOS but, you can still back up and restore the desktop icon layout at will. Here’s how.

Back up and restore desktop icon layout

In order to back up and restore the desktop icon layout, you’re going to have to use a third-party app called Desktop Icon Manager. It’s free, and it’s a 64-bit app which means it is compatible with Catalina.

Download and run the app, and click the ‘Memorize Icon Positions’ button. The app will tell you how many icons are on the desktop, and once you click the memorize button, it will tell you how many icon positions it has memorized.

Any time the icon positions change, you can run this app again, and click the ‘Restore Icon Positions’ button to send the icons back to their original position.

One amazing feature that this app has is that it can save multiple desktop icon layouts. You can’t tell by just looking but if you click the cogwheel button at the bottom right of the app’s window, a new window will open with a few settings and all the saved desktop icon profiles. You can select any profile of your choice, or add a new one when you need to save a new layout.

Restoration is flawless, however, if you’ve removed an icon from your desktop completely the app won’t be able to restore it. If there are additional icons on your desktop, the app will not remove them but it isn’t going to add anything that isn’t there.

macOS doesn’t really have a problem maintaining the layout of icons on the desktop. Even when you switch between displays, or connect/disconnect additional displays, it does an excellent job of keeping your desktop organized the way you set it. Icons on the desktop rearranging are more a Windows 10 problem but that’s not to say this app doesn’t have its utility on macOS. If you need certain items to be present on your desktop for particular projects or tasks, this is as good a way as any to keep them organized.

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