How to Hide or Show the Mac's Dock

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

The Dock is one of the handiest features in OS X and macOS. By default, the Dock is located across the bottom of the screen and is always in view. It provides quick access to your favorite and most-used applications.

However, some users prefer to keep every available inch of screen real estate available. To them, an always-visible Dock gets in the way when they're not using it. Apple designed the Dock to be flexible. You can change the Dock's settings, so it only appears when you move the cursor over it.

Information in this article applies to Macs running OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion through macOS 10.14 Mojave.

Mouse cursor showing, then hiding the Dock on macOS
 Lifewire / Grace Kim

How to Hide or Show the Dock on a Mac

Whether you prefer an always-on Dock or one that goes away when you don't need it, the System Preferences on the Mac is where you make it happen.

  1. Select System Preferences from the Apple menu or click the System Preferences icon in the Dock.

    Apple menu showing System Preferences option
  2. Click the Dock icon in the first row of the System Preferences window. ​

    Mac System Preferences window
  3. Put a check mark in the Automatically hide and show the Dock box if you want the Dock to 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
  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 your 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 without going to System Preferences.

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 itself. Move the cursor to the Dock separator, that 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

You can also use the Dock separator to access any of the Dock settings quickly. Just 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. Size is obvious; use the Size slider to change the overall size of the Dock. You can set it so small that it is hard to see what each Dock icon is for.

Magnification is the secret to using the smallest Dock possible. With Magnification enabled—place a check mark in the Magnification box in the Dock preferences—use the magnification slider to set the expanded view size of the Dock. As your 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

Wait, There's More

There is more to the Dock than just 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. Try using your Mac with the Dock visible and then invisible, and see which way you like it best.