How to Customize the Dock on Mac

Jan 2, 2021 - 3 Comments

How to Customize the Dock on Mac

Want to customize the Dock on your Mac? Perhaps you want to add or remove some apps from the Dock, or change how the Dock looks by making it larger or smaller, or even change its position? Whatever the case, you can customize the Dock on your macOS system according to your liking within minutes.

If you’re new to the macOS ecosystem, the Dock is the panel located at the bottom of your desktop that houses a bunch of apps on the left side, and files, folders, and minimized folders on the right side for quick access. It’s similar to the Dock on iOS and iPadOS devices, and it’s the first thing you see after you login to your Mac aside from the desktop. If you want to change the way your Dock looks, you can make several changes to it, like moving it to a different position, reduce the size, add frequently used apps, remove unused apps, and so on.

The Dock has been an integral part of macOS since the introduction of Mac OS X in 2000. Therefore, regardless of what version your Mac is running on, the following steps to customize your Mac Dock remain the same.

How to Customize the Dock on Mac

Ready to customize the Dock to suit your preferences? Here’s how to do it:

  1. Head over to “System Preferences” from the Dock on your Mac.

    How to Customize the Dock on Mac
  2. When a new window opens, click on “Dock” to adjust your Dock preferences.

    How to Customize the Dock on Mac
  3. Here, you’ll be able to use the size of your Dock my moving the slider left or right. You can also enable or disable “Magnification”, a feature that magnifies the app icons in the Dock when you hover your cursor over them. Use the slider to adjust the intensity of the magnification.

    How to Customize the Dock on Mac
  4. If preferred, you can move your Dock to the left or right. Additionally, there are other animation options for opening and minimizing windows for apps on your Dock. Just set them according to your liking.

    How to Customize the Dock on Mac
  5. Next, if you want to remove an app or folder from the Dock, right-click on the respective icon and choose Options -> Remove from Dock, as shown below. (there are other ways too)

    How to Customize the Dock on Mac
  6. To add a new app to your Dock, open Launchpad, and simply drag the app to the Dock.

    How to Customize the Dock on Mac

There you go. You’ve finally learned how to customize the Dock on your Mac. Pretty easy, right?

There are so many changes that you can make to the Dock to make sure it matches your needs. For example, you can remove the apps that you rarely ever use for a more minimalistic appearance, or choose to hide recent apps from showing up in the Dock. Or, turn on auto-hide Dock so that you have more screen real-estate for what you’re working on and active windows.

Some more advanced Dock customizations are also available, including making hidden app icons translucent, and adding spaces between Dock icons, amongst myriad of other more advanced tricks using defaults commands. You can always browse through our Dock archives here for all sorts of tips on the subject.

If you use other Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, you’ll be able to rearrange the apps on the iOS Dock by long-pressing on the icon and entering “Edit Home Screen” menu. Although you’re limited to just four apps in the iPhone Dock, you can add app folders to the dock to expand the app capacity of the Dock.

We hope you managed to personalize the Dock on your Mac to better suit your liking. What are your overall thoughts on the Dock in macOS? Do you have any particular customizations or changes that you think are essential? Share your thoughts, opinions, and experiences in the comments!


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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Mike Conlon says:

    IIRC, early on, you couldn’t change the location of the dock in preferences, however I found an article online that provided the terminal commands to do that. I tried it on either side, as well as at the top, which, of course, didn’t work since I prefer to have it automatically hidden. I changed it back to the bottom since that works best for me. Good article.

  2. Carl Allison says:

    Is there any way to make a list of what applications are in the Dock? I in-inadvertently drag icons out of the dock occasionally and have difficulty remembering just what they might have been.

    Terminal commands or osascript answers are fine or if there is an application to do this, point me to it!

  3. Rao Yousaf says:

    Thanks. That is great you shared. I was able to understand how easy it is to customize the doc.

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