How to Customize the Mac Dock and Improve Its Functionality

The value of the Dock is paramount on macOS, as it has been around for over a decade. The Dock is a placeholder at the bottom of your Mac’s screen that displays open apps and lets you pin apps and folders for quick access to them. The Dock wasn’t designed to be a customizer paradise, but it gets tweaks with every macOS update. If you want to revive your Mac Dock, you are in the right place. Here Here are a few ways to customize the Mac:

Customize the macOS Dock Using Built-in System Preferences

First, let’s customize the Dock using the built-in settings. To open Dock settings CMD+space to open Spotlight search.Dock” and press enter. Alternatively, you can access Dock settings by going to. System Preferences > Dock.

Change Dock Size, Magnification, and Position on the Screen

  • you can set size and magnification Zooming the Dock using the sliders on this screen, as the name suggests, enlarges the Dock icons to make them larger when you hover over them. If you want, you can turn off magnification completely by clearing the corresponding checkbox.
  • By default, the Dock appears at the bottom of the screen. You can do change your position to the left or right of the screen if you want.


Change or Disable Animations

  • You can choose between two different animations when minimizing a window to the Dock. You can also choose to enable/disable”Animate opening apps” This makes apps splash when you cold boot.


Other Cookies

  • in the same pane, automatically hide and show dock. This option hides the Dock on the desktop and brings it to life as soon as you hover over the Dock area.
  • You can also choose: enable/disable indicator for open applications. By default, a small black dot will be placed under the open app’s icon so you can distinguish running apps from “pinned” apps.


  • If you want to enable a dark background for the dock, go to: System Preferences > General and tick the box that says “Use the dark menu bar and Dock“.
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Pro tip: You can quickly access Dock preferences by right-clicking on the separator line in the Dock. You can also drag the separator line to instantly change the size of the Dock without having to go to Dock preferences each time.


Customize macOS Dock Using cDock

cDock is a robust application that can dramatically change the way the Dock looks and behaves. This is a Download for free for OS X If you’re using macOS 10.9 and later, but macOS 10.11 El Capitan or later, “System Integrity Protection(AKA no root) before installing. See our older article and follow the first step there to disable SIP on macOS 10.11 El Capitan or later. After disabling SIP, you can download and install cDock as you normally would.

Set Custom Themes for the Dock

  • cDock, more than 12 great looking themes pre-installed. If none suits your style, you can search the web for third-party cDock themes and apply them. Here’s a quick look at some of the themes you can set for the Dock.


Customize Dock Icons

  • If you want to change the icons of apps in the Dock, there is an easy way to do it on macOS without using third-party apps. After changing the app icon, the change should be reflected in the Dock. If it doesn’t mirror right away, you can manually drag and drop the app into the Dock at any time.
  • cDock provides some additional options to customize icons such as: icon reflections, icon labels, icon shadows, color indicator lightsetc.


Customize the dock background

  • If you are not a fan of themes, you can manually configure the color of the Dock background or custom background image for the dock.
  • cDock is also a hidden animation on macOScalled as “To suck”. So you can choose between three different animations when minimizing a window to the Dock. In case you were wondering, the “Suck” animation looks like this:


Apart from these, there are many other miscellaneous settings related to the Dock.

Change Dock Behavior

this “Dock” Its tab in cDock reveals many settings that can change the behavior of the Dock. Some settings such as auto-hide, magnification and size “System Preferences” others are specific to cDock.

  • To clear clutter from your Dock, simply active apps, dim hidden apps or set Dock to single app mode. When single app mode is enabled, clicking an app will open it while also hiding all other open windows. For example, here’s what the Dock looks like when you choose to dim hidden apps (apps with translucent icons are hidden):
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  • Also a “Recent Apps“To the Dock” folder for quick access to recent apps.


  • When you’re finally done customizing the Dock to your liking, “Lock dock content“, so no one can add or remove icons from the Dock (and break the built-in layout!).


Of course, if you decide to make more changes to the Dock after a while, you will need to uncheck this setting.

Some of the tricks mentioned above can also be performed with a Terminal command. The reason I chose to use cDock over this is because it provides an easy to use interface to enable/disable these settings. This eliminates the need to surf and search the web for certain Terminal cheats.

Other Third-Party Apps to Customize the Mac Dock

A few years ago, there was no shortage of customization apps for Mac. However, most of the developers dropped support for them after the introduction of SIP in macOS El Capitan 10.11. There are a limited number of Dock customization apps available today that are compatible with macOS Sierra 10.12 with appropriate product support. I list a few good ones below:

HyperDock for Mac

  • Unlike Windows, Mac doesn’t show you a preview of a window in the Dock. If you prefer the Windows style, enter HyperDock. appendices window previews Windows transforms will definitely feel right at home when you hover over a Dock icon.


download ($9.95)

9. uBar 3

If you’re not a fan of macOS’ Dock bar, you should consider replacing the Dock entirely. uBar is a full featured Dock replacement with features like: window previews, app badges, app flashes and much more.

(Alternative explanation: macOS replaces the Dock with the Windows taskbar).


download ($20)

SEE ALSO: How to Customize the Touch Bar on the New MacBook Pro 2016

Customize the Mac Dock Using These Tips

Using these tips and third-party apps, you can customize the (otherwise pretty vanilla) Dock on macOS and take it to the next level. Let me know if you think or have any doubts that I missed any method to customize the Mac Dock. Also, do you like to customize the Dock or do you prefer to leave it as is? Voice your thoughts in the comments section below.