Speed up Dashboard by clearing its caches

By | February 12, 2007

My Dashboard

I tend to run a fair number of widgets (two displays), and it seems like Dashboard has been getting slower and slower. Thanks to a tip in the February issue of Macworld magazine, I was able to solve this problem.

Every widget creates a cache file. In theory, these cache files are meant to speed up Dashboard performance. But, the cache files can get bloated or corrupted, resulting in the exact opposite effect. If your Dashboard seems to be running unusually slow, you may want to try clearing those caches.

Go to YourUserFolder/Library/Caches/DashboardClient. You’ll find a cryptic set of folders with no names, just numbers. Delete everything inside the “DashboardClient” folder.

In order to complete the process, you need to restart the Dock (it controls Dashboard). You can do this in two ways:

  1. Type killall Dock in the Terminal. This will quit and restart the Dock.
  2. Open the Activity Monitor application (in your Utilities folder). Type “dock” in the search field. Once you find it, select it and hit the “Quit Process” button. The Dock will quit and restart.

That’s it. You’ve successfully cleared the cache files for your widgets. For me, this resulted in a significant performance boost. Dashboard is actually usable again.

note: If you run several widgets, it will probably take several seconds for Dashboard to display the info in each widget the first time it’s activated after clearing the caches. Dashboard needs to rebuild the cache for each widget. Don’t be alarmed when they initially come up blank.

It should also be noted that the caches do NOT hold the actual data in the widgets. So, if you’re running widgets like, Mint, iClip lite, or Daily Grind Timer, the data will NOT be lost by clearing the cache.


AsceticMonk on February 12, 2007 at 9:31 pm.

Thanks for the tip!

davidholbrook on February 13, 2007 at 11:58 am.

you can also use Dashquit (a widget that can be found on apple’s website) to quit the dashboard as well, that way you don’t have to use the termial.

Ross Graham on February 13, 2007 at 3:43 pm.

Where’d you get that wicked-cool iPhone widget?

paul on February 13, 2007 at 3:58 pm.

Ross, I made it. It’s just a countdown widget for the release of the iPhone. You can download it from here.

metro on February 14, 2007 at 4:54 pm.

I don’t have a dashboard/client folder in my cache folder. I use dashboard all the time. could there be another section?

paul on February 14, 2007 at 5:22 pm.

metro, make sure you’re looking in the right Library folder. It’s not the one on the top level of your drive, it’s in your Users (Home) folder.

Example: My user name is “Paul”, so the path I look in is Paul/Library/Caches/DashboardClient.

Also note that the folder is called “DashboardClient”, not dashboard/client.

Carter on February 14, 2007 at 6:23 pm.

Thanks so much – it make an incredible difference!

Robb on February 15, 2007 at 7:01 am.

my cache folder is 1.4GB in size, would i hose my system if i just deleted all of it?

paul on February 15, 2007 at 8:52 am.

Robb, mine is about the same size. I wouldn’t delete everything. I don’t actually know what would happen, but I could easily see that causing some problems.

Dom on February 15, 2007 at 10:04 am.

my caches were 499MB. If you download Onxy, you can run a cache cleaning and safely clean everything. It might take a while ( a few mins) but mine has now been reduced to 244K.

jenny toomey on October 17, 2009 at 7:22 am.

What if you go to your Cashes folder and there is no dashboardclient in there?

Also. I find if I switch between dashboard and entourage there is no less than a 5-10 minute wait before entourage unfreezes. It seems to be running through some set of checks of every folder (in the millions of folders) that I have in my entourage.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I can’t believe I just wanted to use the dashboard to check the temp outside and I had to wait almost 12 minutes to get back to my email. It sort of defeats the purpose….

dai on October 29, 2011 at 1:21 am.

jenny, if you cant find it, its “com.apple.dashboard.client” (tested on leopard)
maybe it has changed since 2007