Show Only Currently Active Apps in the Mac OS X Dock
You can set the Mac Dock to only show actively running apps, making it perform a bit like a task manager rather than an application launcher.
This is a great trick if you prefer a minimalist Mac OS X desktop and Dock.
In order to set the Dock to only display currently active apps, you’ll need to use the command line with a defaults command string.
How to Set Dock to Display Active Apps Only in Mac OS
- Launch the Terminal and enter the following command:
- Hit return, next you have to kill the Dock for changes to take effect:
- Again hit return to execute the command, the Dock will refresh and only display the currently active applications
defaults write com.apple.dock static-only -bool TRUE
Optionally, you can also put the entire command onto a single line like so:
defaults write com.apple.dock static-only -bool true; killall Dock
The change happens once the Dock refreshes by killing it, and you’ll soon see only the actively running apps shown in the Dock. If you use the Dock as an app launcher, this probably won’t be that useful for you.
How to Return to Default Dock Behavior Showing As App Launcher
If you want to revert back to the default Dock behavior, use this command, again in the Terminal:
defaults write com.apple.dock static-only -bool FALSE
Don’t forget to kill the Dock again for the changes to take effect.
You can also use defaults delete to remove the string if desired. You can also put the entire command on a single line to execute, like so:
defaults write com.apple.dock static-only -bool false; killall Dock
Note: if you try out this tip and don’t like it, you won’t lose your previous Dock icons or arrangement, just use the FALSE command and everything will be back to normal like any other typical boolean operator with true/false, yes/no, 1/0 options.