How to Hide or Show the Mac's Dock

Control your Mac's Dock visibility with a few easy tips

What to Know

  • Open System Preferences, select Dock, and check or uncheck Automatically hide and show the Dock.
  • Or, use the keyboard shortcut Command()+Option+D to toggle the Dock to show or hide.
  • Or, move the cursor to the Dock separator, right-click, then select Turn Hiding On or Turn Hiding Off to hide or show the Dock.

This article explains how to show or hide the Dock using System Preferences, a keyboard shortcut, or a mouse or trackpad, and how to make the Dock smaller on your screen while keeping it visible. Information in this article applies to macOS Big Sur through High Sierra.

How to Hide or Show the Dock on a Mac

Here's how to control your Mac Dock's visibility and performance.

  1. From the Apple menu, select System Preferences.

    Apple menu showing System Preferences option
  2. Select the Dock icon. On Big Sur, click Dock & Menu Bar.

    Mac system preferences with the Dock icon highlighted
  3. Select the Automatically hide and show the Dock box to make the Dock go away when you're not using it. Remove the check mark if you want the Dock to remain visible all the time.

    Dock preferences on a Mac with "Automatically hide and show the Dock" highlighted
  4. Close the Dock's preferences pane.

When Automatically Hide and Show the Dock is selected, the Dock disappears when it's not in use. You make it reappear as needed by moving the mouse cursor to the bottom of the screen where the Dock typically resides. If you moved the Dock to the left or right edge of the screen, move the mouse to that side of the screen.

Use the Keyboard to Show or Hide the Dock

In addition to using the Dock preferences to configure whether the Dock is shown or hidden, you can also control its visibility directly from the keyboard.

Use the Command()+Option+D keyboard shortcut to toggle the Dock to show or hide. The advantage of this method is that you can change the visibility setting instantaneously without bringing up the System Preferences.

Use the Mouse or Trackpad to Show or Hide the Dock

One last method for changing the visibility setting of the Dock is to use your mouse or trackpad to access a secret menu in the Dock. Move the cursor to the Dock separator, the small vertical line that sits between the Dock apps and any folders or documents you installed in the Dock.

With the cursor on the Dock separator, right-click and select Turn Hiding On to hide the Dock. If the Dock is usually hidden, move the cursor to the Dock area to make the Dock appear, then right-click the Dock separator and select Turn Hiding Off.

Mac Dock showing separator bar menu with "Turn Hiding On" highlighted

You can also use the Dock separator to access any of the Dock settings quickly. Right-click the Dock separator and select Dock Preferences.

Reducing Dock Real Estate

If you want to keep the Dock on-screen but want it to take up as little space as possible, use the Dock preference pane to control the size and magnification. Use the Size slider to change the overall size of the Dock. Be aware, however, that you can set it so small that it's hard to see what each Dock icon represents.

Magnification is the secret to using the smallest Dock possible. Enable magnification by placing a check mark in the Magnification box in the Dock preferences.

Dock system preferences with Magnification highlighted

Then, use the magnification slider to set the expanded-view size of the Dock. As the cursor passes over any section of the tiny Dock, the position under the cursor is magnified, making that portion of the Dock easy to read while keeping the overall Dock small.

Magnification used with a tiny Dock

Subtle Dock Changes

There is more to the Dock than hiding and showing. In addition to being able to move the Dock to the left or right side of the screen, you can make subtle changes that affect the Dock both in controlling how fast the Dock appears or disappears, as well as eliminating some of the Dock's animation to speed things up a bit more. Use your Mac with the Dock visible and then invisible, and see which way you like it best.

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