Super-Size Dock Icon Magnification in Mac OS X

May 9, 2011 - 2 Comments

Super Size Mac OS X Dock Icon Magnification

For those using larger displays you may wish the Mac OS X Dock icon magnification was greater on the Mac, but it turns out this can be achieved easily with a defaults write command.

With a little effort, you can super magnify the size of Dock icons on Mac.

You’ll need to turn to the terminal to use this trick.

How to Super Size Dock Icons in Mac OS X

The number at the end of the syntax represents the pixel dimensions of the icon magnification, so 200 equates to 200×200 (for reference, 128 is the default), thus the syntax would like as so:

defaults write largesize -float 200

200×200 makes the icons quite a bit larger, but you’ll start noticing pixelation on non-retina displays because not all Macs support resolution independence with Mac OS X and their screen PPI.

For you to see the changes, you’ll need to have Magnification enabled through System Preferences > Dock > Magnification, and then you’ll have to kill the Dock:

killall Dock

You can also use the instant Mac Dock icon magnification keystroke trick to display the effect.

Other than aesthetic reasons, larger magnification can be useful when setting up user accounts for novices, the visually impaired, or kids. If this is your objective, you might want to go a step further and create an iOS style desktop for the Mac.

Beyond a point this really isn’t that useful and it can turn just downright useless and even ugly as icons get pixelated, case in point:

defaults write largesize -float 512

Other than for pranking someone, this looks basically ridiculous.

The image below shows 512×512 Dock icons laying over System Preferences:

super sized dock icons

As you can imagine, when icons are 512×512 they’re taking up a considerable percentage of your average Mac screen, which becomes a usability disaster for anything beyond humor.

You can revert back to normal again by setting a maximum of 128:

defaults write largesize -float 128; killall Dock

That last command combines killing the Dock with the defaults write into a single string, just makes things easier.

Along the same lines to this, you can also super-size Desktop icons to outlandish levels with a different defaults write command, but it suffers the same pixelation issue.


Related articles:

Posted by: William Pearson in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Parakeet says:

    I don’t find this practical, but it is a funny prank idea

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