Computers, Laptops & Tablets Apple Use Terminal to Make Translucent Dock Icons for Hidden Apps By Tom Nelson Writer Tom Nelson is an engineer, programmer, network manager, and computer network and systems designer who has written for Other World Computing,and others. our editorial process Facebook Twitter Tom Nelson Updated August 05, 2019 Coyote Moon, Inc. Apple Macs iPad Tweet Share Email Hiding active applications is a nice trick for keeping your desktop uncluttered as you work with multiple applications. You can hide any application by clicking on the application and pressing the command + h keys, or by selecting Hide from the application's menu. For example, in Apple's Mail app, you would select Hide Mail from the Mail menu. Once you have a few application windows hidden, it can be tough to figure out which applications are hidden, and which applications are merely covered by another window or have been collapsed (minimized) to the Dock. Fortunately, there's an easy Terminal trick that allows the Dock to use a translucent icon for any application that has been hidden. Once you execute this trick, you'll have a quick visual indication in the Dock of which active applications are hidden. And even though a hidden app will now have a translucent Dock icon, any badge associated with the icon will still function. Enable Translucent Dock Icons In order to turn on the translucent Dock icon effect, we need to modify the Dock's preference list. This is easily done with Terminal using the default write command to set preference lists defaults. If you've been checking out some of our other Terminal tricks, you'll have noticed that we use the default write command quite often. Apple made a change to the Dock's preference list name when it introduced OS X Mavericks. Because of the two slightly different file names, we need to show you two different methods of turning on translucent Dock icons, depending on the version of OS X you're using. Translucent Dock Icons: OS X Mountain Lion and Earlier Launch Terminal, located at /Applications/Utilities/.In the Terminal window that opens, enter or copy/paste the following command, all on one line. Tip: You can triple-click one word in the line of text to select the entire command:defaults write com.apple.Dock showhidden -bool YESPress the return or enter key.Next, enter or copy/paste the following command:killall DockPress return or enter. Translucent Dock Icons: OS X Mavericks and Later Launch Terminal, located at /Applications/Utilities/.In the Terminal window that opens, enter or copy/paste the following command, all on one line. Don’t forget that you can triple-click a single word in the command to select the entire line of text: defaults write com.apple.dock showhidden -bool YESPress return or enter.Next, enter or copy/paste the following command:killall DockPress return or enter. Now when you hide an application, the corresponding Dock icon will display in a translucent state. Should you decide you're tired of translucent icons in the Dock, or you simply don't like them, the trick is just as easy to undo. Disable Translucent Dock Icons The Dock will return to the normal method of displaying application icons.