Sometimes, your Mac’s Dock might freeze up and stop working. It might also become glitchy,  with app badges never going away or apps still showing after you close them. Here’s how to fix those problems.

The Simple Fix: Restart the Dock

Restarting the Dock will usually fix problems you’re having with it. You can do it in Terminal by typing (or copying and pasting) this command and then hitting Enter:

killall Dock

The Dock should restart itself automatically.

Note: If you don’t want to use the terminal, you can accomplish the same thing by restarting your system—it just takes more time.

The Slightly Less Simple Fix: Reset and Restart Your Dock

If you’ve restarted the Dock (or your Mac) and the Dock is still acting up, you can reset to the default Dock settings and restart the Dock. To to that, type (or copy and paste) the following command at the terminal and then hit Enter:

defaults delete; killall Dock

Keep in mind that this command does reset the dock back to its default settings, so you may have to fire up its preferences and reconfigure the Dock the way you had it, if you use different settings.

Sometimes the Dock Isn’t the Problem

Sometimes Finder itself can cause issues with the Dock. If you’ve tried our previous suggestions and your Dock is still acting up, you can restart Finder from the terminal by typing (or copying and pasting) the following command and hitting Return:

killAll Finder

If you don’t want to use the terminal, you can also hold down the Option key, right-click the Finder icon, and then click the “Relaunch” command.

Force-quitting Finder will cause it to relaunch as well.

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Anthony Heddings is the resident cloud engineer for LifeSavvy Media, a technical writer, programmer, and an expert at Amazon's AWS platform. He's written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and CloudSavvy IT that have been read millions of times.
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