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I removed the files, video, photos and friends lenses with the following command.

sudo apt-get purge unity-lens-files unity-lens-video unity-lens-photos unity-lens-friends

Although the corresponding results have disappeared from dash, only the friends tab has been removed.

There still are tabs for files, video and photos, albeit empty.

How do I remove these empty tabs? I use Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander.

I understand that this issue didn't exist in 12.04. The directory structure of unity lenses seems to have changed from 12.04 to 13.10. Earlier the lenses were stored in /usr/share/unity/lenses/. That isn't the case now, rendering this answer inappropriate:

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up vote 4 down vote accepted
  1. Install dconf-editor using synaptic

  2. Uninstall these packets using synaptic :

    • unity-lens-photos
    • unity-lens-music
    • unity-lens-video
    • unity-lens-friends

    • unity-scope-calculator

    • unity-scope-chromiumbookmarks
    • unity-scope-clementine
    • unity-scope-colourlovers
    • unity-scope-devhelp
    • unity-scope-firefoxbookmarks
    • unity-scope-gdrive
    • unity-scope-gmusicbrowser
    • unity-scope-gourmet
    • unity-scope-guayadeque
    • unity-scope-manpages
    • unity-scope-musicstores
    • unity-scope-musique
    • unity-scope-openclipart
    • unity-scope-texdoc
    • unity-scope-tomboy
    • unity-scope-video-remote
    • unity-scope-virtualbox
    • unity-scope-yelp
    • unity-scope-zotero
  3. Open dconf-editor

Go to >> com >> canonical >> unity >> dash

Set the value :

['home.scope', 'applications.scope', 'files.scope']

After that :

  • Turn off computer

  • Turn on computer

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As a bonus, rearranging the scopes in the list in dconf-editor changes the order in which they appear in the dash. Is it absolutely necessary to remove all the scopes? After removing the corresponding lenses, will the scopes continue to hog resources. For eg, after removing unity-lens-video is it necessary to remove unity-scope-video-remote. PS: I was trying to retain music lens and remove files lens. But that's OK. – S Prasanth Nov 6 '13 at 16:57
It is not necessary to remove the scope packages. Just edit the value in dconf-editor. Also, you don't need to reboot, running "unity &" on a terminal is sufficient. – pcworld Dec 23 '13 at 1:38

Without installing dconf-editor:

dconf write /com/canonical/unity/dash/scopes "['home.scope', 'applications.scope', 'files.scope']"
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Better use gsettings: gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Dash scopes "['home.scope', 'applications.scope', 'files.scope']"; – rubo77 Nov 13 '15 at 7:31

If you want to remove all suggestion and disable lenses, you can use , that worked for me

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