Have you looked up to the top right corner of your WordPress administration panel pages and noted the hanging “Screen Options” tab? This is possibly one of the least utilized items in the Dashboard (and other places … it can be different depending on what activity you are doing).

The idea behind this post is more likely for plugin (and theme?) developers as they may be creating “meta boxes” but not necessarily want them displayed on their page(s) of choice (… it could happen).

Fortunately this is really easy to address. By default, the Screen Option tab will have the check box marked indicating the meta box / widget / etc. is displayed but if your preference is to not have it displayed unless the user checks the box then all you really need to do is add the following:

/** Hide Dashboard widget by default via Screen Options */
add_filter( 'default_hidden_meta_boxes', 'wpfa_default_screen_option' );

function wpfa_default_screen_option( $hidden ) {
	/** Add WP First Aid meta box ID to default hidden Screen Options array */
	$hidden[] = 'wpfa_meta_box_id';

	return $hidden;
}

The above is very generic but you can still use this same approach for any meta box by changing the $hidden[] value to the “ID” of the meta box you created. The new default option will be to have the Screen Options checkbox not checked (although if you are testing it can be a bit tricky as the “option” is saved one way or the other).