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Monday, October 29, 2018

The Best macOS Dock Replacement Apps

Modding the default functionality of your OS with third-party apps is fun. We’ve covered how to set up custom hotkeys for everything imaginable, how to turn your trackpad into a power user’s dream, and even how to replace the default TouchBar completely. Here, we’ll look at how various replacements for Apple’s built-in dock stack up.

Removing the Default Dock

If you intend to replace the dock with a third party program, you’ll probably want to disable the default dock so it doesn’t get in the way. However, there’s no option in the settings to turn it off, and no way to remove it completely. This is because the dock app is responsible for things under the hood other than just running the dock; in fact, Finder won’t even run with the dock disabled.

Instead of disabling it, though, you can turn up the autohide delay to 1000 seconds so that it doesn’t get in your way. To do so, fire up the Terminal and use this command:

defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-delay -float 1000; killall Dock

To get standard dock functionality back, use this command to return it to the default settings:

defaults delete com.apple.dock autohide-delay; killall Dock

This will make your dock take 15 minutes to open, which means it won’t accidentally pop up when you hover over it. If for some reason you want the default dock to show again, you can always press Option+Command+D to open it manually.

And now that you know how to get the built-in dock out of the way let’s talk about those third-party replacements.

TabLauncher

TabLauncher is at the top of our list for packing the most features into a usable dock. It’s fast—often faster to open and close than the default dock—and it separates icons into different tabs, all of which are configurable. It shows previews of windows before you open them, too, which is a nice feature.

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