Mac OS X 10.4.2 or later: Installing and removing Dashboard widgets

Downloading, installing, and removing Dashboard widgets has been greatly improved in Mac OS X 10.4.2 and later. For the best widget installation experience, be sure to update to the latest version of Mac OS X 10.4.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Downloading and installing a widget in Mac OS X 10.4.2 or later

If you have the "Open 'safe' files after downloading" option selected in Safari preferences, a safety alert will appear when you click a link to download a widget, which is typically a .zip archive (if it's not, see the next paragraph below). When you click the Download button in the dialog, Safari downloads the .zip archive, automatically decompresses it, and then opens the file.

If you don't have this Safari preference set, the downloadable file isn't a .zip archive, or you're using a different web browser, click the download link to download the file to your default location. Double-click the compressed file to expand it, then double-click the resulting widget (.wdgt) file to start the install process.

Once Safari (or you) opens the widget file, you'll see a Widget Installer dialog that asks if you want to install the widget and open it in Dashboard. Click Install to take your widget out for a test drive.

Test driving your widget

Once you click Install, your new widget appears in Dashboard in temporary "test drive" mode, allowing you to play around with it before deciding whether you want to keep it or not. While in "test drive" mode, you can try out all the widget's features. If you decide to keep it, click the Keep button. If you want to delete it, you guessed it, click Delete.

If you keep the widget, the Mac OS copies the file to ~/Library/Widgets/. If you click the Delete button instead, the OS moves the widget to the Trash. If you change your mind in the future and decide that you want to install it, simply download it again (or rescue it from the Trash if it's still there).

Tip: Wondering where your installed widgets reside? Find them in either:

  • The /Library/Widgets folder (for all users; these are usually Apple-installed ones that you shouldn't remove), or
  • An individual user's ~/Library/Widgets folder—the tilde (~) represents your Home folder.

If they're anywhere else, they won't appear in Dashboard or the Widget Bar.

Removing or disabling widgets

If you want to remove or disable widgets in Mac OS X 10.4.2 or later, meet Widget Manager! To access Widget Manager, simply do this:

  1. In Dashboard, open the Widget Bar by clicking the plus sign (+) button.
  2. Click the Manage Widgets button on the left side of the screen, or click the Widgets widget in the Widget Bar.

  3. Widget Manager appears and displays a list of all your installed widgets.

  4. Deselect the checkbox next to any widget that you want to make disappear from Dashboard. You can sort widgets in the Widget Manager by name or by added date (this doesn't change their order in the Widget Bar).
    Note: Deselecting a widget in Widget Manager disables it so that it doesn't appear in Dashboard, but it doesn't completely delete the widget from your computer.
  5. To remove third-party widgets, click the red remove button (it looks like a red circle with a horizontal white line through it) to the right of the widget. When you do, this alert appears:

    "(Name of widget) Move this widget to the Trash?"

    Click OK to remove the widget from Dashboard and put it in the Trash.
  1. You can only remove widgets that are in ~/Library/Widgets/. You cannot remove Apple-supplied widgets that are installed in /Library/Widgets/ with Widget Manager.
  2. If you manually install a widget into /Library/Widgets, you cannot remove it with Widget Manager.

History lesson: How widgets work in Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.4.1

If you use Safari in Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.4.1 only, have the "Open 'safe' files after downloading" option selected, and download a widget in .zip format, the widget automatically installs into ~/Library/Widgets.

However, if you download a widget under other circumstances (as we described above), when you double-click the widget file to open it in Dashboard, the widget won't appear in the Widget Bar unless you manually move the .wdgt file to the ~/Library/Widgets folder. Also, if you close the widget, you'll need to double-click the original widget to open it in Dashboard again.

As for removing widgets in Mac OS X 10.4.1 and 10.4, you must manually remove a widget from the ~/Library/Widgets folder in the Finder to delete it from the Dashboard Widget Bar—there is no Widget Manager (for instructions, see "Removing a Dashboard widget from the Widget Bar in Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.4.1").

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