Frequently Asked Question

Use the Dock
Last Updated 7 years ago

The Dock is a convenient place to keep items you use frequently. You can add or remove items from the Dock, make it larger or smaller, or even hide it altogether.

The Dock showing app icons, the Downloads stack icon, and the Trash icon.Folders in the Dock are called stacks. By default, the Dock comes with a Downloads stack. For more information, see Open documents and downloads from stacks.

A red badge on an icon in the Dock indicates you need to take one or more actions in an app or System Preferences. For example, a red badge on the Mail icon in the Dock indicates you have new email to read.

  • Open an app, stack, or file: Click it in the Dock.

    You can also open a file by dragging it over the app in the Dock. For example, to open a document you created in Pages, drag it over the Pages icon in the Dock.
  • Open a Finder window: Click the Finder icon (smiling face). For more information about the Finder, see See your files in the Finder.
You can also perform various app actions by pressing and holding an app icon in the Dock, or by Control-clicking an icon.

  • Add an item: Drag it to the Dock. Drag files and folders to the right of the Dock’s separator, and apps to the left. If you moved the Dock to the side of your desktop, drag files and folders below the separator, and apps above.

    The separator line between apps and files and folders in the Dock.When you drag an item to the Dock, an alias to the item is placed in the Dock. The original item isn’t moved.
  • Remove an item: Drag the item out of the Dock until you see Remove.

    Only the alias is removed from the Dock; the original item isn’t removed from your Mac.

  • Drag items to the Trash at the end of the Dock. To empty the Trash, click the Trash, then click Empty. For more information, see Delete files and folders.

    The Trash icon in the Dock.

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Dock.

  2. Set the preferences you want.

  • Change the Dock’s size: Place the pointer over the separator until a double arrow appears, then drag the Dock to make it larger or smaller.
  • Rearrange an item: Drag it to a new location.
  • See an item’s shortcut menu: Control-click the item.
  • See the Dock shortcut menu: Control-click the separator.
  • See an app’s open windows: Control-click the app’s icon, then choose Show All Windows.
  • Add an open app to the Dock: Control-click the app’s icon, then choose Options > Keep in Dock.
  • Open an item in the Finder: Command-click the item’s icon, or Control-click the icon, then choose Options > Show in Finder.
  • Switch to the previous app and hide the current app: Option-click the current app’s icon.
  • Switch to another app and hide all other apps: Option-Command-click the icon of the app you want to switch to.
  • Quit an open app: Control-click the app’s icon, then choose Quit.
  • Force an app to quit: Control-Option-click the app’s icon, then choose Force Quit.
  • Use the keyboard to access the Dock: Press Control-F3 (Control-Fn-F3 on a portable) to move to the Dock. Then use the Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys to move from icon to icon. Press Return to open an item.
  • Empty the Trash: Control-click the Trash, then choose Empty Trash.

Tip: Did you accidentally remove an app icon from the Dock? No problem—the app is still on your Mac. Use Launchpad or Spotlight to open the app, Control-click the app’s icon in the Dock, then choose Options > Keep in Dock.

For quick access to all of your apps, including ones that aren’t in the Dock, use Launchpad.

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