The recent apps section of the Mac Dock with a cancel symbol over them.

By default, your Mac shows several of your most recently run apps in a special section of the Dock. If you’d like to hide this history, it’s easy to disable the “recent applications” area in System Preferences. Here’s how.

First, click the Apple icon in the upper-left corner of your screen. In the menu that appears, select “System Preferences.”

Click the Apple menu, then select "System Preferences."

In System Preferences, select “Dock & Menu Bar.”

In System Preferences, click "Dock & Menu Bar."

In “Dock & Menu Bar” preferences, uncheck “Show recent applications in Dock.”

In "Dock & Menu Bar" preferences, uncheck "Show recent applications in Dock."

Immediately, the recent applications area will disappear from your Dock. Close System Preferences, and you’ll see the result. Nice and clean!

An example of a Mac Dock without recent apps shown.

If you change your mind and want to reenable the recent applications area later, just revisit “System Preferences” > “Dock & Menu Bar” and place a checkmark beside “Show recent applications in Dock.”

RELATED: How to Customize and Tweak Your Mac's Dock

How to Manually Remove Recent Apps from the Mac Dock

If you’d like to keep the recently used apps feature active but still hide one or two specific apps from the dock every now and then, it’s easy to do. Just click the app’s icon in the recently used section of the Dock and drag it away toward the middle of your screen. About halfway into the screen, the icon will become translucent, and you’ll see a “Remove” message.

Drag an app icon away from the dock until it says "Remove," then release your mouse button.

Release your mouse button and the app will disappear. You can do this as many times as you like, but of course, new apps will keep being added to this part of the dock unless you disable it using the steps in the section above.

By the way, did you know that you can quickly resize your Dock by hovering your mouse pointer over the separator line beside Trash and dragging? It’s pretty handy.

RELATED: How to Quickly Resize the Dock on Mac

Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is an Associate Editor for How-To Geek. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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