How can I disable some lenses in the Dash menu?

  • Open terminal: sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping
    – Dr_Bunsen
    Oct 29, 2012 at 14:28

7 Answers 7


There are several ways to do this, though one would think the easiest thing for ubuntu to do would be to have some easy to access configuration options from within the dash, but that's just crazy talk.

If you're confident using the terminal then I recommend option 1, because the behaviour of the software center will be misleading and confusing.

Option 1 - Use the Terminal (Recommended)

  1. Open the terminal Ctrl+Shift+T

  2. To check what scopes and lenses are currently installed, use dpkg with grep. e.g. list all scopes and lens packages

    $ dpkg -l | egrep "(unity-lens-|unity-scope-)"
    ii  unity-lens-applications     ...     Application lens for unity
    ii  unity-lens-files            ...     File lens for unity
    ii  unity-lens-gwibber          ...     Gwibber Lens for unity
    ii  unity-lens-photos           ...     Unity Photos Lens
    ii  unity-lens-shopping         ...     Shopping lens for unity

    Notes on 14.04

    14.04 has a great many more lenses and scopes than ever before. Some of which can't removed without destroying the system e.g. unity-scope-home.

    These are some of the scopes and lenses installed by default in 14.04:


    Scopes and leneses after most of the one's that can be removed have been removed:

    $ dpkg -l | egrep "(unity-lens-|unity-scope-)"
    ii  unity-lens-applications ... Application lens for unity
    ii  unity-lens-files        ... File lens for unity
    ii  unity-scope-home        ... Home scope that aggregates results from multiple scopes
  3. To remove a lens use apt-get remove. e.g. remove the unity shopping lens:

    sudo apt-get remove --purge unity-lens-shopping 

Option 2 - Use Ubuntu Software Center

  1. Open up Software Center and search for "lens".
  2. Uninstall by selecting the item and clicking "Remove".


    • You must select Show (count) technical items to show all installed lenses. e.g. The "shopping lens" is a technical item, which personally I think is a little bit cheeky. You know, because you're too dumb to know what that is.

    • Don't select "Installed" and then search for "lens". This doesn't do what you might expect. It should list any "installed" len's, however it doesn't do that. Probably a bug.

What lenses do I recommend uninstalling?

All of them except for unity-lens-applications and possibly unity-lens-files. Personally I'd be happy a great deal happier without the dash. In place of which was a simple, straight forward, no messing, fast-as-possible, application launcher. I can't belive I'm about to say this, but there's actually something I miss about windows.

Note on 14.04 You can't remove unity-scope-home without remove the unity-desktop and breaking the entire system.

Additional Information

  • 3
    I agree. When I first started using Ubuntu, what I loved about it was its simplicity and speed. And If I'm not mistaken Unity is made to provide a straight forward environment in which can get your work done. I think Unity is moving away from its goals. I love the fact that I have a lot of options, but I wouldn't want to sacrifice speed or simplicity in return. I really disliked the "internal error detected" popups in Precise(isn't that one of the reasons people don't like Windows??). And the new ads on Quantal, with terms of service, I don't like this.
    – tofurator
    Dec 19, 2012 at 8:59
  • 3
    This doesn't seem to work for me on 14.04 Trusty. I have uninstalled all lenses except for unity-lens-applications but they still show up in the dash. Any ideas? Feb 12, 2014 at 19:09
  • @nifr Disabling it using the unity-tweak-tool still works: askubuntu.com/questions/107701/… Jul 8, 2014 at 13:19
  • @nifr Whar still shows up the dash? There are many more scopes and lenses in 14.04 than what I've described above. What does dpkg -l | egrep "(lens|scope)" show? e.g. you can't uninstall the "home" scope i.e. unity-scope-home without uninstalling unity-desktop. Also, when removing the one's that you can uninstall, purge apt-get remove --purge <package_name_here> Jul 8, 2014 at 13:36
  • @nifr I've updated the answer with some notes on 14.04. Jul 8, 2014 at 14:07

If you're using Ubuntu 13.04 or newer:

sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool

In the tweak tool you can use the search tab to modify the relevant settings:

  • Uncheck "Search online sources"
  • Uncheck "Show more suggestions"
  • Uncheck "Enable search of your files"

Uninstalling the lenses does not work in 14.04.

What works is:

  • install dconf-editor
  • remove scopes from the strings in com -> canonical -> unity -> dash. I left only home.scope in there.
  • logout, login, enjoy.

(From here)

You can also do it without installing dconf-editor. Edit the string with double quotes to your liking:

$ dconf write /com/canonical/unity/dash/scopes "['home.scope', 'applications.scope', 'files.scope']"

(From here)


Here's a small package I whipped up if you're comfortable with either setsid unity or logging out

  • Great tool. Unfortunately I have not found a way to disable the cities scope within the utilities scope as it often crashes on my system (Ubuntu 12.04 AMD64), but the calculator scope is very useful and I want to keep it.
    – Filbuntu
    Jun 21, 2012 at 2:41
  • It doesn't manipulate scopes directly...just lenses Jun 21, 2012 at 2:45
  • Thanks for the explanation. Do you know a way to manipulate scopes?
    – Filbuntu
    Jun 21, 2012 at 7:23
  • If you wanted to do that, you'ld have to modify all the lense descriptions or hijack the dbus calls depending on exactly what you wanted to do. If you want to chat about it...pop in to the chat room Jun 21, 2012 at 15:31
  • Thanks for the explanation and offer. But this would take up more time and efforts than I would spend on this issue. Thanks again.
    – Filbuntu
    Jun 22, 2012 at 0:55

In Ubuntu 14.04LTS

  1. Press Super-A to bring up the Applications Scope
  2. Scroll until you see the Dash Plugins Header
  3. If not already clicked, click the Show more results button
  4. For each plugin you'd like to disable, click it, then click disable

I prefer this method because it doesn't require super-user privileges, thus, it is less likely to break anything.


I would imaging that the easiest way of doing this would be to uninstall it, logout and login. It would still be in the cache if you would like to install it again later on.

If you on the other hand do not want to uninstall it and want to just make it go away from the Dash you could just move it out of the /usr/share/unity/lenses folder.

For example let us say you have install the Askubuntu Lense like me.

you would then have a folder inside /usr/share/unity/lenses called extras-unity-lens-askubuntu/. Move that folder somewhere else. Logout. Login.

An example:

cd /usr/share/unity/lenses
sudo mv extras-unity-lens-askubuntu/ ..

This would move the askubuntu lense from the lense folder to the parent folder. If you logout/login, the askubuntu lense will be gone.

UPDATE - As aking1012 points out, typing setsid unity will "refresh" Unity with the changes.

  • 2
    just a note, if you setsid unity, you don't have to log out Apr 24, 2012 at 7:26
  • 1
    setsid unity doesn't work for me. All windows decoration disappeared and the program didn't exit. It force me to Ctrl+C and gnome-session-quit to logout.
    – fikr4n
    Jun 3, 2013 at 23:31
  • @BornToCode I would guess a bug or misconfiguration. Last time I tested this was a year ago. Maybe you can provide more information about yout system. Jun 4, 2013 at 0:40
  • I use Ubuntu 13.04, last updated about less than a month ago. I think this go out of the topic, and I'll be kicked if the discussion go further :D.
    – fikr4n
    Jun 4, 2013 at 3:15
  • 1
    setsid unity removes all window decorations and doesn't exit on 14.04, too. Any suggestions how to debug this behavior? Feb 12, 2014 at 19:11

Just open the terminal and exec this (without sudo):

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Lenses disabled-scopes "['more_suggestions-amazon.scope', 'more_suggestions-u1ms.scope', 'more_suggestions-populartracks.scope', 'music-musicstore.scope', 'more_suggestions-ebay.scope', 'more_suggestions-ubuntushop.scope', 'more_suggestions-skimlinks.scope']"

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