In terms of importance, the Dock — the quick-access strip for applications and documents that appears on your iMac’s Desktop — ranks right up there with the command center of a modern nuclear submarine. As such, it had better be easy to customize, and naturally, OS X doesn’t let you down.
Change Dock preferences on Mac. On your Mac, use Dock System Preferences to change the size of the icons in the Dock, reposition or hide the Dock, and more. To change these preferences, choose Apple menu System Preferences, then click Dock. Open Dock preferences for me. Customize your Mac Dock with Icons! Written by: Jesse Rand After recently receiving a brand new MacBook Pro I was inspired to share a couple of dock customization hacks I discovered this weekend. To remove an icon from the Dock, just click and drag it off the Dock. Note, however, that the original application, folder, or volume is not deleted — just the Dock icon itself is permanently excused. If you like, you can delete almost any of the default icons that OS X installs on the Dock; only the Finder and Trash icons must remain on the.
Adding applications and extras to the Dock
Why be satisfied with just the icons that Apple places on the Dock? You can add your own applications, files, and folders to the Dock as well.
- Adding applications: You can add any application to your Dock by dragging its icon into the area to the left side of the Dock. You’ll know when you’re in the proper territory because the existing Dock icons obligingly move aside to make a space for it.
Attempting to place an application directly on the right side of the Dock sends it to the Trash, so beware. Note, however, that you can drop an application icon inside a Stack or a folder that already exists at the right side of the Dock.
- Adding individual files and volumes: You can add individual files and volume icons to the Dock by dragging the icon into the area to the right side of the Dock. (Attempting to place these to the left side of the Dock opens the application associated with the contents, which typically isn’t what you intended.) Again, the existing Dock icons move aside to create a space when you’re in the right area. To open the Dock item you’ve added in a Finder window, right-click the icon to display a Dock menu, where you can open documents, run applications, and have other assorted fun, depending on the item you choose.
- Adding several files or a folder: El Capitan uses a feature called Stacks, which I discuss in “Keeping track with Stacks,” to handle multiple files or add an entire folder to the Dock.
- Adding websites: You can drag any URL from Safari directly into the area at the right of the Dock. Clicking that icon automatically opens your browser and displays that page.
To remove an icon from the Dock, just click and drag it off the Dock. Note, however, that the original application, folder, or volume is not deleted — just the Dock icon itself is permanently excused. If you like, you can delete almost any of the default icons that OS X installs on the Dock; only the Finder and Trash icons must remain on the Dock.
Keeping track with Stacks
El Capitan offers Stacks, which are groups of items that you want to place on the Dock for convenience — perhaps the files needed for a project you’re working on, or your favorite game applications.
To create a Stack, just select a folder containing the items and drag the folder to the right side of the Dock. As always, the Dock opens a spot on the right side of the Dock to indicate you’re in the zone.
To display the items in a Stack, just click it:
- If the Stack holds relatively few items, they’re displayed in a really cool-looking arc that Apple calls a fan, and you can click the item you want to open or launch.
- If the Stack is stuffed full of many items, the Stack opens in a grid display, allowing you to scroll through the contents to find what you need.
El Capitan provides display and sorting options for a Stack. Right-click the Stack icon, and you can choose to sort the contents by name, date created or added, date modified, or file type. If you prefer a grid display (no matter how many items the Stack contains) you can choose Grid mode. Choose List to display the Stack’s contents in much the same way as List view mode in a Finder window. List view mode also allows you to view folders in a Stack as nested menu items. Choose Automatic to return to the default view mode.
When set to Display as Stacks, the Stack icon is displayed using icon images from the contents of the folder; if security is an issue, however, choose Display as Folder from the right-click menu to display the Stack as a plain folder icon instead.
You can remove a Stack from the Dock by right-clicking the Stack icon and choosing Options from the menu that appears. Choose Remove from Dock from the submenu that appears. Alternatively, just drag that sucker right off the Dock.
You can also display the contents of a Stack in a Finder window. Right-click the Stack icon, and choose the Open item at the bottom of the pop-up menu.
If you add a folder full of items, the Stack is named after the folder; otherwise, El Capitan does the best job it can in figuring out what to name the Stack.
Apple provides a Stack already set up for you: The Downloads folder, situated next to the Trash, is the default location for any new files that you download using Safari or receive in your email. El Capitan bounces the Download Stack icon to indicate that you’ve received a new item.
Resizing the Dock
You can change the size of the Dock from the Dock settings in System Preferences — but here’s a simpler way to resize the Dock, right from the Desktop.
Move your pointer over the vertical solid line that separates the left side of the Dock from the right side; the pointer turns into a funky vertical line with arrows pointing up and down. This is your cue to click and drag while moving up and down, which expands and shrinks the Dock, respectively.
You can also right-click when the funky line pointer is visible to display a menu of Dock preferences. This allows you to change your Dock preferences without the hassle of opening System Preferences and displaying the Dock settings.
The Dock is the center point of navigation on macOS. It’s the first place you go to after starting up the Mac. But, this does not mean that the Dock is perfect. Despite Apple’s continuous upgrades, there are a few things that you can’t do such as removing native apps, stretching the Dock to the sides, etc. That’s why I have made the list of the best Mac Dock customization apps. Let’s begin.
You have two choices here. You can either use these apps and the Mac Dock side by side. Alternatively, you can go ahead and hide the dock. As of now, it is not possible to permanently disable the Mac dock. The maximum you can do is prevent it from showing up every time you open something. Either way, these Dock replacements will be worth your time.
Read: Best Weather Apps for Mac
Customize Mac Dock
DockShelf lets you create multiple docks when one is not enough. In many ways, that’s true too. You can have multiple sub-docks to keep things better organized and easy to access in the long run.
By default, DockShelf is placed on the left side of the screen. There are three different sections, for Places, Notes, and Apps. Hovering on the section icons will open up the sub-docks. For instance, you can find the usual apps in the Apps section. Unlike the traditional dock, DockShelf lets you keep extra links and even files for easy access.
It’s hard to customize DockShelf, all of the options are crammed in a small interface which makes it hard to navigate. DockShelf offers a set of additional features such as Smart Folders and Desktop Docks.
- Basic and Intuitive
- Supports multiple docks
Check out DockShelf ($4.99, free demo)
ActiveDock is meant to be a better version of what Apple offers in macOS. You get an improved dock with amazing features and customizability. You can do a lot of things in ActiveDock, especially things you were not able to do in the traditional dock. To simply quote the developers, it’s the same dock, but better.
In this dock, you can hover over the icon to see the current window. Even better, you can choose how to arrange the particular window. Simply click on the desired layout, and boom: everything is cleaned up.
From the background color to the icons in use, you can customize almost everything on the dock. You can also create Groups and Folder for better organization of your files, apps, and folders. Compared to DockShelf, ActiveDock is easy to set up, maintain, and use on a regular basis.
- Better Window Management
- Ultimate customization options
- Support Groups & Stacks
Check Out ActiveDock ($19.99, free demo)
HyperDock brings many features that you haven’t seen in the traditional dock. In effect, you’re using a different type of dock on the Mac. One thing that I loved about HyperDock is that it’s tightly integrated with your Mac. There is no need to worry about glitches even in macOS Mojave.
For instance, when you hover over the Calendar icon, HyperDock will show you the available events. In the same way, you can control media playback by hovering over the iTunes icon. When it comes to the standard windows, you get a clean preview and management options. As the developer says, the app is bringing many of the awaited features to the macOS dock.
HyperDock too offers ample options for customization. Because you are dealing with the traditional dock, it cannot change color or anything. Still, you can add options for window management and dock items.
- Brings features to the Dock
- Easy to implement and use
Check out HyperDock ($9.95, but it has a limited free version too.)
uBar is perhaps the most popular and trustworthy Dock replacements for macOS. It is packed with a number of features that can redefine your macOS navigation experience. Window Previews, Pinning, Multi-Monitor Support are just some of the features included in the package. This Dock replacement is expected to enhance your productivity.
You can configure uBar as a dock or as a taskbar. When configured as a taskbar, this app resembles a good old Windows taskbar. The active apps are stacked on the bar. When you hover over the icon, uBar shows a preview too. The bar also contains a few extra sections like Calendar, Clock, and shortcuts to Desktop, Trash, etc. The bar menu seems to resemble the Windows Start menu in many ways.
You can customize how this navigation app looks and performs. Just like you do in Dock, uBar can be placed on three sides of the screen. There is also a bunch of advanced customization when it comes to themes, Pinning etc. In short, uBar can your own in many ways.
- A Productive UI
- Advanced Window Management
- Plenty of Customization options
Icons For Mac Dock
Check outuBar ($30, 14-Day free trial)
cDock is the app to get when you wish to personalize the Dock on macOS. cDock comes with a few exciting tweaks that allow you to do things that you can’t do with stock dock. For instance, you can completely remove Launchpad, Finder, and Trash from the Dock that wasn’t possible otherwise.
Other features include custom badges on icons such as Trash, hide apps from showing up in the Dock, custom colors and transparency modes, etc. It has a few personalization options such as dimming inactive apps, custom images on the Dock, fullscreen width dock that transform your boring Dock completely. cDock is free to try and costs just $5.
- Powerful customization options
- Custom themes
- Additional Settings to Customize Launchpad and Mission Control
Check out cDock ($4.99, Free Demo)
Dockey isn’t a Mac dock alternative but more like a Mac dock customize App. Nevertheless, it can improve the overall Dock experience in the long run. You can use Dockey to speed up and optimize the Dock. You will have to do these things otherwise using Terminal, which is hard.
It’s a completely free app, which is easy to use. Simply launch the program, make the changes, and save the Settings. Your Dock will be optimized in no time. Sounds awesome, right?
Check out Dockey (free)
7. Replacement icons
Like most OS, macOS also allows you to install your own custom icons for favorite software and system components. However, find good icon packs for your macOS is a challenge. Fortunately, there are few artists who handmade replacement icons for macOS.
Changing an icon of an app is really simple. Simply download the icon pack from the links below and unzip the contents. Navigate to the folder or app whose icon you wish to change. In my case, I wanted to change the icon of Chrome. So I right-click the Chrome app in the Applications folder and press CMD+I. Now, simply drag the icon you downloaded and drop it to the thumbnail of the Chrome icon in the Get Info Window. Restart the app to see the changes.
Dock On Mac
Check Out Replacement icons and Mac Replacement Icons (Free)
How To Dock Macbook Pro
The Bottom Line
Most of the tools are freemium and you can check out the demo anytime. Coming to the options, we’d recommend uBar if you’re looking for some serious change and customization options. As we said, uBar brings a Windows task-bar feel to the whole macOS interface. On the other hand, if you want to boost the existing dock’s functionality, HyperDock would be something impressive. Also, let us know which one is your favorite.
Change Mac Dock Icons
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