Tweak Mac Dock for More Screen Area

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Tweak Mac Dock for More Screen Area

As the MacBook gets more compact, a smaller screen makes it harder to get things done. This article examines how to tweak the Mac OS X and macOS Dock to get more screen area.

I was using the YouTube app on my Apple TV, when I came across a video entitled “You’re Doing the Mac Dock Wrong”. The title immediately piqued my interest and I’m glad I watched the video. The insightful video explains how to position the Mac Dock and show and hide it automatically. I knew how to do these things already. The video goes on to show how to tweak the OS X Dock, making it fast and responsive using terminal commands.

I now have my Mac set up just as the video suggests, and I love it! I am getting more screen space. I also don’t accidentally click or interact with the dock when I am working at the bottom of the screen.

I have to give credit where it’s due. Snazzy Labs makes great videos about technology, and I highly recommend subscribing to their YouTube channel. I’ve embedded the video here and recommend watching it.

The video is very insightful and provides a great overview of how to tweak your Mac to get more usable screen area. That said, I don’t think videos are always the best way to follow tutorials. Some people prefer them. Other people like to read articles. I found it hard to execute some of the terminal commands using the video, and only one of them is listed in the video’s comments. For this reason, I am presenting these steps in written format and greatly expanding on them. This article goes beyond the tweaks, providing tips on how to clean up the dock, make it more visible and access apps that aren’t in your dock.

Move Dock to the Left or Right

The Snazzy Labs video suggests placing your dock on the left. By default, OS X and macOS put folders and icons on the right of the desktop. If you automatically arrange the icons using the “clean up” options, they will be shifted to the right. This doesn’t actually present a problem with the dock being on the right. I just couldn’t find a good reason it should be on the left. In fact, most apps have some sort of tool bar on the left. I found myself triggering the dock to expand when I was trying to click on a toolbar feature. Choose whichever side works best for you. Given the space between the right-most icon and the edge of the screen, I actually think the right side of the screen is better. You can easily select all of the icons on your desktop and slide them over if you find yourself clicking on them.

There are a few ways to move the Dock’s position. You can quickly access Dock options by moving the mouse pointer to the divider (which displays a white, double-sided arrow) and right-clicking.

Right-clicking on the Mac varies depending on your pointing device and configuration. With a Magic Trackpad or MacBook trackpad, right-clicks are accomplished by clicking with two fingers. A pop-up menu appears. Select “Position on Screen”. Another pop up menu appears with position options. Click on either right or left. Your dock will be placed in the appropriate position.

The System Preferences tool also offers settings for controlling the dock. Simply launch System Preferences and click on Dock. Select the appropriate screen position from the Dock settings panel. (continue…)

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