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Dock Gone: Say Goodbye to Your Dock

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When Apple (s aapl) introduced the Dock with OS X, people immediately either loved it or hated it. Over time, we all got used to it. Among some of the usability complaints about the Dock is the fact that, without hacking, you can’t simply get rid of it. Hiding the Dock will only get you so far — it still pops up at inopportune times. If you’re frustrated by the inability to completely hide the Dock, there is a simple solution.

I know what you’re going to say. “Just hide the Dock; it’s simple.” While that is true, it’s not a complete solution. Hiding the Dock doesn’t really get rid of it, rather it just moves it off the screen — barely. Moving your mouse, even slightly, to the edge of the screen brings the Dock back into full view, and launching a new app makes the icon bounce into view even when the Dock is hidden.

I love the convenience of the Dock, but there are times when I’m working in certain apps like iMovie, iPhoto, Photoshop and a few others in which application icons, windows and scroll bars go right to the edge of the screen. Trying to use certain elements in those apps which are close to the edge almost always invokes the Dock, causing a brief yet annoying interruption in my workflow. At the same time, I want access to the Dock without a trip to the Terminal or other convoluted method to bring it back on screen.

Dock Gone System Preference Pane
Dock Gone System Preference Pane

Enter Dock Gone, by Old Jewel Software. Dock Gone is an OS X System Preference Pane which allows you to turn off the Dock completely, not just hide it.

Like any great Mac application, Dock Gone offers more than one option to turn on and off your Dock: via the Preference Pane, a menubar icon, or a keyboard shortcut — which you can customize any way you like. You can even have it play a system sound when the Dock is turned on and off.

Dock Gone menubar options
Dock Gone menubar options

Turning off the Dock using any method available with Dock Gone results in the Dock gently sliding off the screen, and playing the system sound if you have that setting turned on. Beyond the menubar icon, which you can hide if you so choose, you’ll not even notice it’s there — a great usability trait.

Whether or not you feel that such an app is worth having, I can say that Dock Gone performs as advertised, with perhaps the only ill side effect of using 9.2MB of my RAM to do nothing 99.9 percent of the time. Still, if the default behavior of the Dock is disruptive enough to you, it’s probably worth putting up with.

Dock Gone works on any Mac that can run OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or higher, and a single-user license is $14.95. A 15-day demo is available for download from the Dock Gone site.

21 Responses to “Dock Gone: Say Goodbye to Your Dock”

  1. Craig

    Actually, I much prefer the old OS 7/8/9 Apple Menu Items style of launching programs or documents. That drop-down, spill-out, hierarchical menu seemed perfect. I tried Fruit Menu, but never felt comfortable with haxies. I’ve recreated the function by placing a folder in the dock with sub-folders for Applications, Games and Utilities and filling them with aliases. It works, but it feels all wrong starting at the bottom and scrolling up. Feels like the Winders start button.

  2. Ken Burns Effect

    It would be great to have a preference to automatically hide the dock when invoking a certain app!

    Like set it to hide except when in Finder or only when using Safari.

  3. Howie Isaacks

    What’s the problem with the Dock? When I first saw the Dock in NeXSTEP/OpenStep, I thought it was awesome. Apple made it better in OS X. So, without the Dock, do we just go back to the OS 9 days and clutter up our desktop with aliases?

  4. James, thanks for this article. It’s definitely getting people interested in Dock Gone. As for a few of the comments:

    Steve Carl: I actually was given the idea to write Dock Gone from a user of DockBlock. There are a few minor issues he had with DockBlock, including the fact that it didn’t offer the option of a keyboard shortcut. It also was written for Tiger and, while it works in Leopard, it has a few minor hiccups with it.

    Tima: This isn’t possible in Leopard anymore, sadly.

    poster: In order to get Dock Gone to work well in Leopard, I had to leave Tiger users behind or deal with the same minor issues that DockBlock has to deal with. If you want a program that does what Dock Gone does but in Tiger, DockBlock is probably a great choice.

    • J,

      Adding to James’ comment, it’s not just nice to see a developer address users here, but also to do so in an intelligent way, treating the user with respect, not as a child.

      Frequently, I’ve seen developers comment to basically say the user doesn’t really want what they’re asking for, or try to talk them out of it. While perhaps well-intentioned, these can come off as just so much excuse-making, or simply being defensive.

  5. Brian

    I don’t think it’s worth it either. And, you can easily automate terminal commands such as quitting the dock using Applescript. Easier still to move it to the side of the screen.

  6. Steve Carl

    This capability has (apparently) been available for some time in “DockBlock” (from Sideburn.com) which includes several other features and is only $5. It’s hard to imagine paying $15 for this.

    • The vast majority (I thought I read around 75%) of Mac users upgrade to the latest OS version. I suspect that more and more developers will be leaving Tiger behind when Snow Leopard ships. Nature of the biz, I suppose.

    • I’m sure they wouldn’t make a lot more money by supporting Tiger. Given that Leopard has finally overtaken Tiger as an installed based and also considering that testing for Tiger would take more time and effort for QA

    • ingrid

      Now if they can bring back the apple pull down menu that would be a real accomplishment but this app does little in terms of productivity. If you could transfer everything in the dock to such a menu as in OS 9..then U have something. This is a solution to a non-existant problem