The easiest way to add applications to the Dock on your Mac

The Dock may be one of the most recognizable elements of the user interface used by Mac and OS X, as well as the newer macOS. The Dock creates a handy application launcher that typically hugs the bottom of the screen; depending on the number of icons in the Dock, it can span the entire width of your Mac’s screen.

Of course, the Dock doesn’t have to live at the bottom of the screen; With a little tweaking, you can customize the Dock’s location to sit on the left or right side of the screen.

Most users find the Mac Dock to be a very handy application launcher, where a favorite application can be launched with a single click or tap. But it can also be used as a convenient way to access frequently used documents, as well as to manage currently running applications.

Applications in the Dock

The Dock comes preloaded with several Apple-supplied applications. In a way, the Dock is preconfigured to help you get up and running with your Mac and easily access the most popular Mac applications, such as Mail, Safari, a web browser, Launchpad, an alternative application launcher, Contacts, Calendar, Notes , Reminders, Maps, Photos, iTunes and much more.

You’re not limited to the apps that Apple includes in the Dock, nor are you stuck with apps you don’t use often that end up taking up precious Dock space. Removing apps from the Dock is super easy, as is rearranging Dock icons. Simply drag an icon to the location of your choice (see the Moving Dock Icons section below).

But one of the most used features of the Dock is the ability to add your own applications and documents to the Dock.

The Dock supports two main methods for adding applications: “drag and drop” and a special “keep in Dock” option.

Drag and drop

  1. Open a Finder window and find the app you want to add to the Dock. In most cases, it will be in the /Applications folder. You can also access most applications by selecting Applications from the Finder’s Go menu .
  2. Once the Finder window displays the /Applications folder, you can navigate through the window until you find the application you want to add to the Dock.
  3. Hover over the app , and then click and drag over the app icon in the Dock.
  4. You can drop the app icon anywhere in the Dock as long as you stay to the left of the Dock divider, which separates the apps section of the Dock (the left side of the Dock) from the recently used apps section (macOS Mojave and later) or from the Documents section of the Dock (the right side of the Dock with the trash can icon).
  5. Drag the application icon to its destination location in the Dock, and release the mouse button . (If you miss the target, you can always move the icon later.)

keep on the dock

The second method of adding an app to the Dock requires that the app is already running. Running applications that have not been manually added to the Dock will be temporarily displayed in the Dock while in use, and then automatically removed from the Dock when you stop using the application.

The Keep in Dock method of permanently adding a running application to the Dock uses one of the Dock’s slightly hidden features: Dock Menus.

  1. Right-click the Dock icon of an application that is currently active.
  2. Select Options, Keep In Dock from the popup menu.
  3. When you exit the app, its icon will remain in the Dock.
  4. If you use the Keep in Dock method to add an application to the Dock, its icon will be located just to the left of the Dock separator. This is the default location for the icon of an application that is temporarily running.

mobile base icons

You don’t need to keep the added app icon in its current location; you can move it anywhere within the applications area of ​​the Dock (to the left of the Dock separator). Simply click and hold on the app icon you want to move, and then drag the icon to its destination location in the Dock . The dock icons will move to make room for the new icon. When the icon is in the desired position, release it and release the mouse button.

By rearranging Dock icons, you may discover some items you don’t need. You can use our guide Remove app icons from your Mac’s Dock to clean up the Dock and make room for new Dock items.