MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
53,480
15,200



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.

macos-dock-only-open-apps-800x450.jpg

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
    recent-apps-only-dock-Terminal-command-800x121.jpg

    Your Dock will reboot in order to show only the currently running apps on your Mac in the order they were launched.
    mac-dock-only-active-apps.jpg
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
 

Ragnar51

macrumors member
Jun 5, 2013
48
41
Milford CT USA



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.

macos-dock-only-open-apps-800x450.jpg

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
    recent-apps-only-dock-Terminal-command-800x121.jpg

    Your Dock will reboot in order to show only the currently running apps on your Mac in the order they were launched.
    mac-dock-only-active-apps.jpg
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
[doublepost=1522414633][/doublepost]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.
 

Xavier

Contributor
Mar 23, 2006
2,644
1,243
Columbus
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.
 
  • Like
Reactions: davidg4781

sirozha

Suspended
Jan 4, 2008
1,567
1,893
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?
 
  • Like
Reactions: chabig and shurcooL

bernigibtsschon

macrumors newbie
Apr 1, 2018
1
0
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?
 

DanielDD

macrumors 6502a
Apr 5, 2013
505
4,314
Portugal
What’s the difference with removing all apps from the Dock and opening new ones from another place?

You can create a simple applescript to change between the two-states with a single click / keyboard shortcut
[doublepost=1522658977][/doublepost]
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...

It actually is, specially if using a third-party launcher such as Alfred. With fuzzy matching you just need to type down "ps"
 

MacGizmo

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2003
1,936
1,229
Arizona
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...
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.
 
Last edited:

Applemaniac7

Suspended
Mar 2, 2018
327
250
So Cal.
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.
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..
[doublepost=1522671933][/doublepost]
You can create a simple applescript to change between the two-states with a single click / keyboard shortcut
[doublepost=1522658977][/doublepost]

It actually is, specially if using a third-party launcher such as Alfred. With fuzzy matching you just need to type down "ps"
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?
 

DanielDD

macrumors 6502a
Apr 5, 2013
505
4,314
Portugal
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?

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
 
Last edited:

Applemaniac7

Suspended
Mar 2, 2018
327
250
So Cal.
2 - The items on the dock are not static (they change their position depending on how many apps/files I one has open/minimized).

Finally, this is not only about being the fastest.

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..
 

DanielDD

macrumors 6502a
Apr 5, 2013
505
4,314
Portugal
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..

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?
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.