Speed up Dashboard by clearing its caches

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.

12 thoughts on “Speed up Dashboard by clearing its caches”

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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….

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