How to Remove Trash Icon from Desktop in Ubuntu

Starting from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, the OS now shows the Trash icon right on the desktop. There are some people though who prefer having a cleaner desktop with nothing on it but the wallpaper. Fortunately, it isn’t all that difficult to remove the trash icon from the desktop in Ubuntu.

Remove Trash from Desktop in Ubuntu

First of all, let’s make it clear that putting the trash icon on the desktop does make sense. Clearly, it’s a good thing to make it really easy for users to get to the trash folder. Although, once could argue that the Ubuntu dock would have been a much better place for the trash icon. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS only shows a trash icon by default, but later versions also put a Home folder icon on the desktop.

Regardless, the good news is that both the trash icon and the home folder are easy to remove from the desktop. As is so often the case with Linux operating systems, there are multiple ways to do this. A simple way is to copy and paste a single command. You can also go the GUI route but you’ll need to install the GNOME Tweaks app. If you want to have a better experience, don’t miss these 5 tips to speed up your GNOME desktop.

Use GNOME Tweak Tool

GNOME Tweak Tool is one of the first apps anyone would recommend you to install on a new Ubuntu system. Even if you don’t want to install icon packs and themes, the Tweak tool has many little and nifty options that make life with Ubuntu much easier. So if you haven’t installed it yet, you should probably do so now while you’re at it.

First, make sure you have enabled the enable universe repository already from the Software & Updates app. To install it, simply copy and paste the command below in Terminal or search for it in the Software Center.

sudo apt install gnome-tweak-tool

Once the GNOME Tweak tool is installed, follow the instructions below to remove the trash icon from the desktop.

  • Open the GNOME Tweak Tool.
  • Navigate to the Extensions section from the left column. GNOME Tweaks Extensions
  • Click on the cog icon next to the Desktop Icons toggle.
  • Toggle off show the wastebasket icon on the desktop. Desktop Icon size in Ubuntu
  • Similarly, to remove the home folder icon, toggle off show the personal folder on the desktop.

For Ubuntu 18.04 and earlier, goto Desktop in the GNOME Tweak Tool. You can simply turn off the toggle next to Trash.

Use the command line

As mentioned earlier, you can also do this multi-step process in one single step. If you’re using Ubuntu 18.04 or earlier, copy and paste the following command in a terminal and hit enter.

gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.desktop trash-icon-visible false

To remove the trash icon from the desktop in Ubuntu 19.10 or later, use the command below.

gsettings set org.gnome.shell.extensions.desktop-icons show-trash false

The home folder can also be similarly removed with the following command.

gsettings set org.gnome.shell.extensions.desktop-icons show-home false

Regardless of which method you choose between the GNOME Tweak Tool or the command line, the changes are immediate. Once you’ve executed the command or turned off the toggle, you will no longer see the trash icon on the desktop.

How to Add Trash Icon on Ubuntu

It’s obvious that you can have the icons back by turning the toggle back on in GNOME Tweak Tool. If you prefer the command line method, you can get the icons back by simply executing the same command but switching false to true. For instance,

gsettings set org.gnome.shell.extensions.desktop-icons show-trash false

becomes

gsettings set org.gnome.shell.extensions.desktop-icons show-trash true

That was all about adding and removing the trash icon from the desktop in Ubuntu. Before you leave, do not forget to check out our tutorial on backing up and restoring Linux.

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