Get a 3D Dock Again in OS X Yosemite (or a Transparent Dock too)
The Dock is just one of a variety of aspects of the Mac OS X interface that was overhauled and flattened in Yosemite. Gone are the days of the 3D Dock, the new Yosemite Dock defaults to looking like a flatter version, much like the iOS Dock. If you long for the Dock with some dimensions or some transparency to it, you can use a free third party utility to get the 3D Dock back in OS X Yosemite, or you can even choose to make the Dock completely transparent.
Using CDock is easy enough, it’ll just take a moment to return to the older style Dock on a Yosemite Mac. There’s not much to this one, but because it does modify a system file you may wish to backup your Mac before using it, or if you plan on digging around and replacing any of the Dock image files yourself.
Make the Yosemite Dock 3D Again on a Mac
- Get CDock for free from Source Forget (click the green download button)
- Unzip the app you’ll need to right-click and choose to “Open” to circumvent Gatekeeper restrictions
- Click the “Dock theme:” submenu and choose “Yosemite 3D”, then click on “Apply”
- The Dock will refresh and magically turn 3D again
If you’re using Dark Mode, you’ll find the Dock turns back to a whiter lighter Dock in order to have the 3D transparent appearance to it, as of now there’s no way around that, but it’s possible that a new dark theme will be created for cDock in the future.
Here’s what they look like next to one another, with the 3D Dock on top, and the flat (dark mode) Dock shown on the bottom. Increase Contrast has been enabled in these screenshots as well as the reduce transparency setting:
The change will stay put until you either revert the setting back to the default, change back to Dark mode and reboot, or when OS X Yosemite is updated in a broader system update, which then returns it to the flat look:
If 3D isn’t your thing and the flat default isn’t doing it for you either, there’s a few more options that you can play with, perhaps the next best being a Transparent option.
Make the OS X Yosemite Dock Transparent
cDock also has a Dock theme to transform the Dock in OS X Yosemite into a transparent panel, which basically does away with the Dock graphics and just makes the icons float above the desktop pictures wallpaper:
- From cDock, ehoose the “Dock theme:” submenu and select “Transparent” as your Dock option
- Click on Apply to reset and relaunch the Dock
Here’s what that looks like:
And here’s what that looks like in full screen with a complete OS X Yosemite screen shot showing transparency in the windows as well as the Dock:
Obviously something like a transparent, three dimensional Dock, versus a flat dock is more of a personal preference thing, and it’s not going to interfere with usability as something like the lack of default contrast to user interface elements in the overall Yosemite appearance. Nonetheless many users like the appearance of the old Dock enough to desire the change.
If you’re still not sure about cDock for customizing the Docks appearance in OS X, the video below demonstrates just how simple it is to use:
Do you prefer the new flat Dock appearance, transparent Dock, or the older style 3D Dock? Do you even care what the Dock looks like? I have mine set to automatically hide so it’s not something I notice much, at least compared to some of the other more dramatic interface changes brought to the Mac with OS X Yosemite.