How to Remove Dock Icons in OS X Mountain Lion & Mavericks

Jul 28, 2012 - 8 Comments

Remove Dock Icon from OS X Mountain Lion

Removing app icons from the Dock has been the same since the very beginning of Mac OS X: grab an icon and drag it off the Dock into a poof of dust, whereby the icon is no longer displayed in the Dock. That behavior has changed slightly with OS X Mountain Lion and carried through to OS X Mavericks, presumably to prevent accidental deletion of Dock apps. There are still two easy ways to remove Dock icons in OS X 10.8 and 10.9 though, pick either approach that works best for you.

Remove Dock Icons in OS X Mountain Lion

  • Method 1: Click, drag away from the Dock by about 5cm, and hold for a second or two until the “poof” icon appears and then release
  • Method 2: Drag and drop the Dock icon into the Trash

For the impatient, the drag to Trash method is the quickest and it’s demonstrated in the video embed below. It works for any icon in the Dock, be it for an app, folder, shortcut, or otherwise. You can not remove active applications from the Dock, however.

This may seem like an elementary tip to cover, but any time longstanding things change it can confuse even advanced Mac users. And no, despite some confusion, this behavior does not indicate that the OS X Dock has been locked. Again, it’s just a precaution to prevent accidental removal of apps.

This behavior will likely continue with future versions of OS X. If you’re encountering any problems with this, try dragging the icon further away from the Dock and holding it a second longer.


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


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  1. Natalie Baker says:

    Thank YOU!!!!!! I was right-clicking and choosing Remove from Dock every time and it was annoying.

  2. Elderwin says:

    I have developed a weird issue with my dock. It now creates a new dock icon for the Downloads folder every reboot of the machine. Quite odd, quite annoying.

  3. mikefx says:

    If you put the icon back in the dock say for example the “Preview” icon from the application folder, does it change the permission settings? Permissions for opening photos from internet or files on desktop will not open in preview anymore because of permission status…

  4. I too noticed this behaviour had changed. Didn’t realise distance was now a factor. It’s probably a good idea since I can imagine many grandparents freaking out because Mail no longer appears in the Dock by accident of some dragging.

  5. Frederick says:

    If you bring the icon up an 1.5 inch from the dock you can remove it the normal way.

  6. Ben says:

    You can also right click (assuming this is enabled under settings > mouse > secondary click > click on right side) then when right clicking a dock icon, choose Options > Remove from dock.

  7. Joe says:

    Surprised they didn’t do an option drag like launchpad or iOS

  8. sselshamy says:

    thanks for this new trick, but also you can use same old behavior just drag the icon up higher than before (till middle of the screen)

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