How to Get Your Mac's Dock to Show Running Apps Only

Discussion in 'Guides, How Tos and Reviews' started by MacRumors, Mar 30, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    #1
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    Last week we explained how you can use a simple Terminal command to insert spaces in your macOS Dock and visibly group together app icons. In this article, we're going to highlight another simple Terminal hack that turns the Dock into more of a straightforward app switcher by making it display only apps that are currently running on your Mac.

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    Seeing only active apps at the bottom of your desktop can be a refreshing change if your Dock has become cluttered with various app shortcuts over time, and you can always use Spotlight (key combination Command-Space to activate) or an alternative method to launch your Mac apps.

    When following the simple steps below, just bear in mind that Terminal is a powerful app, so make sure you enter the commands properly, especially if you're not familiar with it.

    How to Show Only Active Apps in Your Dock

    1. Launch the Terminal app found in Applications/Utilities. (To quickly open the Utilities folder in Finder, select Go -> Utilities from the menu bar, or use the key shortcut Shift-Command-U.)
      At the Terminal prompt, type the following command and press Enter: defaults write com.apple.dock static-only -bool true; killall Dock
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      Your Dock will reboot in order to show only the currently running apps on your Mac in the order they were launched.
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    How to Revert the Dock Back to Its Original State

    If you decide you don't like this way of using the Dock, follow the steps below to return it to its usual behavior.

    1. Launch the Terminal app again if it's not already open.
      At the Terminal prompt, type the following command and press Enter: defaults write com.apple.dock static-only -bool false; killall Dock
      Your Dock will reboot and revert to showing both running and non-running apps.
    If there's a specific active app that you'd like to hide from the Dock for whatever reason, there are a couple of third-party utilities that might help. Dock Dodger is a free drag-and-drop tool that can hide certain apps from the Dock even when they're running (once placed on the tool's droplet, you have to restart the app in question to hide it, although our success rate varied depending on the app). If you're willing to open your wallet, GhostTile is a more recent and reliable paid-for alternative with similar functionality.

    Article Link: How to Get Your Mac's Dock to Show Running Apps Only
     
  2. sp3k0psv3t macrumors regular

    sp3k0psv3t

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    #2
    This is nice. Really cleans things up a bit since I have a gazillion apps in my dock lol.

    Thanks for the tutorial.
     
  3. sunapple macrumors 68000

    sunapple

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    #3
    What’s the difference with removing all apps from the Dock and opening new ones from another place?
     
  4. frou macrumors 6502a

    frou

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    #4
    For the longest time, I have simply dragged all of the default app "shortcuts" off of my Dock, and used Spotlight via the keyboard to launch everything.
     
  5. kirky29 macrumors 65816

    kirky29

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    #5
    I used to do this and just use Alfred to search for everything! Nothing worse than a cluttered dock!
     
  6. Ragnar51 macrumors member

    Ragnar51

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    #6
    --- Post Merged, Mar 30, 2018 ---
    Nice trick! I've been using the hide away option for my dock. That along with the Unclutter app running at the top bar means I've got to be careful where I move my mouse but if does make for a nice, clean looking desktop.
     
  7. Xavier macrumors 68030

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    #7
    Yeah, the point of the dock for me is easy access to apps that I use, and they might not be open at the time. This is super clean and nice looking, but I use Command+Tab for open apps.
     
  8. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #8
    What does this do with items to the right of the line (crosswalk)?
     
  9. Amazing Iceman macrumors 68040

    Amazing Iceman

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    #9
    I hardly use the dock to launch apps. Using [COMMAND] [SPACE] and typing the app name to launch it is a faster approach.
     
  10. sirozha macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    I don't get this tip.

    After I implemented this command, I was able to right-click on the icons of the running apps and select "Keep in Dock". After that, when I closed the apps, their icons remained on the Dock. So, how is this different from just dragging all your icons off the dock one at a time?
     
  11. mossback macrumors member

    mossback

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  12. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #12
    Don't forget that you can also use Launchpad to launch your apps without having to type the app name. Click click.
     
  13. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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  14. chabig macrumors 603

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    #14
    I think it’s exactly the same.
     
  15. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #15
    The advantage of the article's technique may be that you can restore the previously included apps with a single command.
     
  16. shazbot89 macrumors newbie

    shazbot89

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    #16
    Suffering from a growing list of apps I use just frequently enough that they end up cluttering the dock, made this into a script to toggle it.

    https://gitlab.com/snippets/1707383
     
  17. bernigibtsschon macrumors newbie

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    #17
    Great article! This will be useful. Is there a way to apply this tip AND still have the shortcut to the download folder in the dock?
     
  18. chabig macrumors 603

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    #18
    Just apply the technique and then add the download folder manually (drag it to the dock).
     
  19. Applemaniac7 Suspended

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    #19
    So going down to the dock and clicking on an icon is slower than hitting command space and typing p h o t o s h......... Yeah right...
     
  20. DanielDD macrumors 6502

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    #20
    You can create a simple applescript to change between the two-states with a single click / keyboard shortcut
    --- Post Merged, Apr 2, 2018 ---
    It actually is, specially if using a third-party launcher such as Alfred. With fuzzy matching you just need to type down "ps"
     
  21. MacGizmo, Apr 2, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018

    MacGizmo macrumors 65816

    MacGizmo

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    #21
    Yes. It is. You only have to type the first few letters the first couple of times you use this tip. After a while the OS learns and predicts what you type. For instance, it knows there's a good chance I'm going to type Photoshop when I type the letter p, so it defaults to Photoshop.

    By the way, this is yet another Terminal tip that can easily be done visually with Onyx.
     
  22. Applemaniac7 Suspended

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    #22
    If you insist.. So.. moving your hands over command space, then terminal pops up. Then you have to hit P is faster then one fluid down mouse movement and hitting an icon. I could do that in less than a second. At the very least if you are super nimble with your fingers its on a par, but to say its faster is certainly going some.. well done..
    --- Post Merged, Apr 2, 2018 ---
    After you've launched terminal.. So that' one action, then start typing ..2 actions.. are we really debating something that takes under a second the old fashioned way... good luck spending that 0.25 of a second you think uve saved. What do you plan on doing with it?
     
  23. DanielDD, Apr 2, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018

    DanielDD macrumors 6502

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    #23
    1 - I don't need to open terminal to launch apps. Launching Stoplight or Alfred requires a keyboard shortcut (cmd + space).
    2 - The items on the dock are not static (they change their position depending on how many apps/files I one has open/minimized). Since tap targets move, the user is required to look at the dock in the action. Further, the mouse is not in the same position all the time. That mouse movement will almost never be fluid.
    3 - Launching apps with the dock is not ergonomic at all if working with multiple monitors or with a hidden dock.
    4 - Launching apps with the dock only works with dock items. Launching them using spotlight / Alfred works with all apps consistently.

    Finally, this is not only about being the fastest. It is about being the most ergonomic. The more keyboard interaction the better
     
  24. Applemaniac7 Suspended

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    #24
    Rubbish, my dock is static, has every app pinned whether they are open or not in the same position for the last 8 years or so. Have you even used OSX?


    Erm.. read the first post, speed is exactly what this chat was about..

    Accept it, you'e been called out over your over optimistic claims on time saving tips. Move on..
     
  25. DanielDD macrumors 6502

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    Portugal
    #25
    Having 100+ icons on a dock? How does that work on a 13 inch screen? And that does not address minimizing docs to the right side of the dock.

    The first post isn't even about time saving tips. Regardless, spotlight launching is faster and more ergonomic. Even if it weren't, people can decide what they use. Why force your way down other people's throats?
     

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28 March 30, 2018