Mac Performance

How to Remove Apps from Dock on Mac?

The macOS Dock is one of the iconic parts of the Mac operating system. Offering you a row of easily accessed shortcuts, it’s an excellent way to launch your favorite apps and files without having to hunt for them in your Applications folder.


But sometimes you may want to remove apps from the Dock on your Mac. Our team has gathered a few potential reasons to delete an app from the Dock:

  • You have too many apps in your Dock and it’s getting crowded
  • You have items in your Dock you don’t need to be there anymore
  • There are items in your Dock that you didn’t mean to put there.

Whatever the case, this is the place to be if you want to know how to get rid of Dock items on your iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or other Apple computer.


Before we start


Take an app out of your Dock, and it remains in your Applications folder. If you want to manage your installed apps, try MacKeeper’s Smart Uninstaller.

  1. Open MacKeeper and select Smart Uninstaller
  2. Click Start Scan
  3. When the scan is done, select items to delete and click Remove Selected
  4. Click Remove.

Smart Uninstaller will remove all kinds of unwanted files, including preference panes and browser extensions. And it’s just one of many features in MacKeeper. Try it yourself and see.

Remove apps from the Dock on Mac

Now let’s cover a few ways to edit the Dock on Mac. BTW, these instructions apply to all docked items, including apps and other files.

  1. Left-click and hold an item in the Dock or right-click it to bring up a menu. Select Options > Remove From Dock
  2. Another way to remove a Dock item is to click and drag it out of the Dock. When it’s far enough away, you see the word Remove. Let it go, and the item will be removed from the Dock
  3. The Dock also shows recently opened apps, but you can hide these. Go to System Settings > Desktop & Dock. Toggle off Show recent applications in Dock.
Step 1. Right-click an icon, then select Options > Remove from Dock
An icon being dragged out of the macOS Dock. The word
Step 2. Alternatively, drag an icon out of the Dock
The Desktop & Dock part of macOS System Settings. From here, you can remove recently opened applications from the Dock.
Step 3. You can remove some icons from System Settings

Note from our experts: the Dock also shows apps that are currently running. So if you remove an app that s currently running, the app’s icon will show in the Dock until you quit it. If you run into any issues, read our guide on how to force quit apps.

Go on with removing unnecessary apps

We’d like to remind you that the Dock is just a launchpad tool, similar to the taskbar in Windows. What the Dock doesn’t do is uninstall apps or delete anything. That means the apps you remove from the Dock are still in your Applications folder.


So how do you uninstall an application that you’ve removed from your Dock? Like this:

  1. Open a new Finder window, and select Applications from your sidebar
  2. Find an item to delete, right-click it and select Move to Trash/Bin. Alternatively, click and drag it to the trashcan in your Dock
  3. Right-click the trashcan in your Dock and select Empty Trash/Bin. Alternatively, press Shift + Cmd + Del, and click Empty Trash/Bin in the pop-up.
The macOS Applications folder showing in Finder. From here, you can select and remove apps that you want to delete from your Mac.
Step 1. Open the Applications folder in Finder
A close-up of macOS Finder in the Applications folder. An icon has been right-clicked, so the content menu is showing, and Move to Bin is selected.
Step 2. Right-click an app, then select Move to Trash/Bin
A close-up of the macOS trashcan. The context menu is showing, and Empty Bin is showing. Select this to empty the trash and delete an app.
Step 3. Empty your trash

Add an app to Dock on Mac

So far, we’ve focused on how to remove programs from your Dock. But what about the other way? How do you get apps into your Dock? Let’s see.

  1. Getting an app into your Dock is a simple drag and drop process. Find an app in your Applications folder, then click and drag it to your Dock. The other apps in your Dock will rearrange themselves to make space for the new addition
  2. You can do the same with files—for example, dragging and dropping a document from your desktop to the Dock. Note that non-apps will only dock to the right-hand part of the Dock
  3. To rearrange the Dock on Mac, just drag and drop the icons in the Dock, putting them where you want them.
The macOS Numbers app being dragged from Applications to the Dock. Doing this will add a shortcut to the Dock for that app.
Step 1. Drag an app to your Dock to add it
A screenshot is being dragged to the Dock. You can add practically any document to the Dock like this for quick access in the future.
Step 2. Or drag documents to the right-hand side of your Dock
The Chrome icon being dragged and dropped in the macOS toolbar. Doing this, you can get your Dock set up exactly how you want.
Step 3. Drag and drop icons in your Dock to rearrange them

Keeping your Dock in order

The Dock is a useful feature of macOS, letting you access your apps without cluttering up your desktop or menu bar with shortcuts. But if you want to really get the most out of it, there are a few things to remember:

  • Only put your most frequently used apps in the Dock. Cluttering up your Dock makes it harder to find things
  • macOS should automatically remove Dock items when you uninstall apps. If they remain in the Dock, remove them manually
  • Check out the Desktop & Dock settings to change things. This relates to automatic hiding of the Dock, the size of Dock icons, and more.

If you have any issues, like your Dock disappeared or you need to change startup programs, check out the rest of our blog.


And don’t forget you can keep your installed apps under control with MacKeeper’s Smart Uninstaller. As well as removing apps without leaving anything behind, it’ll search out and delete plugins, widgets, and more.

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