Customize the Dock's Location

Control where the Dock appears on your screen

Some of the properties of the Dock, the application launcher that usually resides at the bottom of the screen on Mac computers, can be modified to suit your preferences. Because you use the Dock often, set it up and make it appear the way you want it.

Information in this article applies to macOS Big Sur (11) through OS X Yosemite (10.10).

The Dock's default location is the bottom of the screen, which works well for many individuals. If you prefer, you can move the Dock to the left or right side of your screen by using the Dock system preference pane. Those three positions are the only location options for the Dock.

Change a Mac's Dock Location

The Dock is located at the bottom of the screen by default. If you don't see it, it could be hidden. The keyboard combination Command+Option+D hides and unhides the Dock.

  1. Click the System Preferences icon in the Dock or select the System Preferences item from the Apple menu.

    Mac screen showing Apple menu and location of System Preferences option
  2. Click Dock (or Dock & Menu Bar in Big Sur) in the System Preferences screen.

    Dock icon in the System Preferences screen on a Mac
  3. Next to Position on screen, select a location for the Dock:

    • Left positions the Dock on the left edge of the screen.
    • Bottom positions the Dock along the bottom of the screen, which is the default location.
    • Right positions the Dock on the right edge of the screen.
    Dock preferences screen on a Mac

The change occurs immediately.

Mac screen with Dock on the left side

Try all three locations and see which one you like best. You can quickly move the Dock again if you change your mind.

Change the Dock Location by Dragging

Using System Preferences to move the Dock around is simple enough, but there is an easier way to do it. You can drag the Dock to a new location.

Although you can drag the Dock around, you're still limited to the three standard locations: the left side, bottom, or right side of the display.

The secret to dragging the Dock is using a modifier key and the specific spot on the Dock where you grab to perform the drag.

  1. Hold down the Shift key and position the cursor over the Dock separator, which is the vertical line toward the right side of the Dock when it is located at the bottom of the screen. The cursor changes to a double-ended vertical arrow. Do not release the Shift key.

    Dock showing arrow on Dock separator line
  2. Drag the Dock to one of the three predetermined locations on the display.

  3. After the Dock snaps to the left side, bottom, or right side of the display, release the cursor and let go of the Shift key.

Adjust the Size of the Dock Icons

If you have a full Dock, when you move the Dock from the bottom to either side of the display, it reduces to fit in the available space, which may make the icons smaller than you like. To get around this, turn on Magnification in the Dock System Preferences screen. As you move the cursor over the Dock, the icons underneath magnify, making them easier to browse and find the one you want.

Magnification setting in use with Dock icons

If the Dock is not full, you can increase the size of the icons on it using the Size slider, also located in the Dock System Preferences screen.

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