Reducing Dock Clutter By Minimizing Into Application Icons

If your Dock gets cluttered with minimized windows on the right side, then you may want to switch to let windows minimize into the application icon instead. You can always find minimized windows in the Dock or the Window menu. You can also start using Tabs to reduce the number of windows on the screen.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Reducing Dock Clutter By Minimizing Into Application Icons.

We all use our Macs in slightly different ways. Right. We have different preferences set. We have different ways of going about doing things. So we each run into different problems. So sometimes you can be surprised to find out the issues that other people have. Something that you would never just run into because of the way you use your Mac. One of those things is that the Dock for some people gets very crowded. There's a lot of stuff in the Dock. This is because, not because they add a bunch of applications, but because they minimize windows.

For instance if I were to minimize this window just to get it out of the way I can click the yellow button here or use Command M and it goes into the Dock. This is perfectly fine. A perfectly legitimate way to get something out of the way temporarily. But depending upon how your preferences are set you could end up with a Dock that looks like this. You can see all these tiny little icons here because I have tons of little minimized windows on the right. I've forgotten about them. I don't know what they are. I'm probably going to just open up a new window if I go to that website anyway. Not search for where I've left it here.

You can get rid of this, of course, by not using Minimize so often. But you can also just change a simple setting. Because not only are all of these windows available here but they are also available if you click on the icon of the app, hold it down for a second, or use Control click. You'll see a list of all the windows up here. These are the same ones that are there in the Dock. But now it's a little easier to find them and go to them. I don't need them in both places.

I can clean this mess up by simply going to System Preferences, Dock, and turning on a Minimize Windows into Application Icon. Now what happens is when I have one of these windows open, like let's open this one here, and I minimize it notice it goes to the left side right to where the Safari icon was. It's listed here but it's not over here. So I fixed the problem so it won't get any worse. But unfortunately it doesn't clean this up. Or maybe fortunately because if it did remove this and clean this up, right, it might upset some people because they may have had things here that now they don't know where they are or which ones they had open.

So in order to clean this mess up you're going to have to open all of these up. Now there are other ways to deal with this as well. For instance, if I go into Safari here and go to Window and I say Merge All Windows it's going to put all those minimized windows into Tabs. Tabs is a much better way to handle this. Notice it's all gone now. All those Safari windows are gone. They're all Tabs which is a perfectly good way and probably why I never run into this problem because I use Tabs. I'll have a window open like this with a bunch of Tabs although I try not to keep too many open that I'm not still using.

Then if I were to want to get rid of these, you know, I'll move this one to a new window for instance, and I want to minimize it I can still minimize it. But now it's just listed here rather than listed on this side. So it's a lot easier to deal with. If I do that with all of these here, if I open each one up and minimize it into the apps, that was a Pages document. This is a Finder window. Another Finder window. That was a TextEdit document to another screen. Here's a Pages document and another Pages document. That's the last one. Now I have nothing here on the right. This is how my Mac usually looks because I just don't use this feature.

But now I've minimized all of these into the app itself. They're all there. I can get to them all. There are those three Pages documents. There's also a Recent documents here. There's really no reason to minimize these because if I simply were to close it I can just reopen it. But if you like minimizing there's a better way to do it than storing everything on the right side of the Dock.

So you want to kind of look at how you do things. If it's making your Dock unusable because you have all these things on the right maybe try changing it so they don't go there on the right but you still have access to those various windows just by minimizing them into the app icon rather than over here.

Comments: One Response to “Reducing Dock Clutter By Minimizing Into Application Icons”

    Wayne Garriepy
    5 months ago

    One of the great things about your videos is they get to the point quickly and precsicely and you’ve maintained this habit for all the years I’ve watched you. As I’ve used the dock over the years I’ve placed my most used apps dead center and taper off as I place them on either side. For me Safari is placed in the center and becomes easier to fall to. Additionally, when working on a project I place every element of that project in one master folder which is then placed in the dock.

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