Customize macOS Dock Hiding

If you have the Dock set to automatically hide, then you may not like the default amount of time it takes for the Dock to appear, and the speed of the animation. You can customize these by using the Terminal to change two hidden macOS preferences. You can delay the appearance of the Dock so that you can access other items at the bottom of your screen. You can also speed up or eliminate the animation if you find it is too slow for you.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Customize macOS Dock Hiding.

So if you have the Dock set to auto-hide it's not there at the bottom of the screen. If you move the cursor down to the bottom it pops up. You can control this, of course, in System Preferences under Dock. You can turn off Automatically Hide and show the Dock. Having it hidden is handy because it gives you more screen real estate. But the defaults aren't always the best for everybody. Notice if I move my cursor to the bottom of the screen as soon as it gets to the very bottom the Dock pops up and it does so with an animation. Now you might want it to go faster or slower and you might want there to be a delay before it pops up because say if you're working with an app and it has controls at the very bottom having the Dock popup can get in the way of those controls. Having a delay of a couple seconds may actually help you.

So open the Terminal app there's a couple of preferences that we can change with terminal commands. The first one I want to show you is Defaults and then we're going to write a change to the preference file. The command we're going to use is the autohide-time-modifier. We're going to change that to a floating point value and I believe now it's set to one by default. Let me show you an example of slowing it down quite a bit. I'll change it to three. Now we have to restart the Dock to get it to go. So killall Dock is the command for that. You see the Finder kind of flashes and everything restarts there. Now if I move my cursor to the bottom of the screen notice how much slower the Dock is going to be. So there it goes. You can see it disappears slower. Now I do notice there's a delay once you say killall Dock it seems to take two tries to trigger it.

So let's go and change it back to something better like one and killall Dock again. We'll go to the bottom of the screen again and trigger it and you can see it's faster. Now if we don't want that delay at all we can set it to zero. Now when I go to the bottom you can see it just appears. Really nice and a lot of people may like that. If you want to Delete this you can do defaults delete and it will basically reset to the default because your modification is gone. You don't need to put anything after that. You do that and now it will be reset to the default. So now you can see it pops up in about a second like before.

Now another one I want to show you is defaults we'll change something else in We will change the autohide-delay. This is how long it delays before it pops up. In Mojave I believe it's instant so it's set to zero. You can change it to something longer like two. We'll restart the Dock and now when I go to the bottom of the screen I can count two seconds before the Dock appears. One, two, there you go. So now I've got that delay there which will be handy when I'm trying to access some controls at the bottom of some of my video editing apps and the Dock kind of gets in the way.

To get rid of this defaults delete autohide-delay and I just delete it and start the Dock again. Now you can see it goes back to normal. So these are two handy settings, autohide time modifier and autohide-delay that you can set to floating point values. You don't have to use whole numbers. If you want it to be quick, like you kind of like the animation for the Dock to appear, you can do something like .25. Now I get a very nice, quick popup. There. Seems speedy. It's not going to get in my way but I still get the animation. It doesn't just flash onto the screen.

Comments: 3 Responses to “Customize macOS Dock Hiding”

    John Russell
    5 months ago

    To my way of thinking, I wish the Dock would leave my Mac and never come back. Using Spotlight, Alfred, or Launchpad are more than adequate for my accessing of apps. I wonder what the upper limit for that delay number might be?

    5 months ago

    Using the Dock on the left side is more helpful rather than tediously mousing down to find the dock continuously. The screen is wider that tall and any screen shots show up on the right side so they are not covered.

    5 months ago

    Hi Gary!
    I want to thank you very much for this tutorial. I use Autohide but I always wanted to customize the speed of its appearance. Now, I was able to set it just right for me.
    BTW…Thank you for all your tutorials!!! They’re all wonderful.

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