Removing Mac Screenshot Shadow

As you are well aware I take tons of screenshots on my Mac for the Macessence blog. One macOS feature I found rather annoying early on was the shadow that is placed around a screenshot. I guess this was supposed to be a nice feature to set off the screenshot, but I did not like it so I turned it off long ago. If you wish to remove the screenshot shadow or to reinstate it, there are several things you can do.

Screenshot Shadow Within macOS

You can remove the screenshot shadow two different ways in macOS Mojave and Catalina. You take a screenshot of a window by using Command-Shift-4 and then hitting the Spacebar. Now you have a window selected for a screenshot. Before clicking on the window or hitting the Return ⮐ key, hold down the Option ⌥ Key first, then complete the selection. This will take a screenshot of the window without the shadow.

You can remove all shadows from all screenshots in macOS by inserting these two commands into the Terminal App (without the quotes):

“defaults write disable-shadow true”

Hit Enter, the type this command and hit Enter:

“killall System UIServer”

That will turn off screenshot shadows for your macOS.

Screenshot Shadow Applications Fix

Certain Mac Utility Apps have the capability to turn off screenshot shadows as well. Here is the setting in MacPilot:

If that box is checked, screenshot shadows are disabled. Here is the setting in the excellent Mac Utility Onyx:

Here it is just the opposite. If the box is unchecked, shadows are off.

There are other Mac Utility Apps that have this functionality. I know Cocktail is one:

If you are using macOS in “Light” mode, then you may need to put a border around your screenshot. I use the Snagit App which does that automatically for me, but there are other ways and Apps to add a border if you need it.


The bottomline is if screenshot shadows bother you as much as they do me, then turn them off.