How To Fix Dock Not Working, Unresponsive, Freezing On Mac

how to fix Dock not working

How to fix Dock not working.

Is the Dock not working on your Mac? Does it keep freezing and acts fully unresponsive when you click the app icons? This is a minor glitch that can be usually fixed by restarting the dock from the Terminal app. If the problem persist you can also reset the Dock to its factory settings.

How To Fix Dock Not Working On Mac

If the macOS Dock is frozen, unresponsive or doesn’t work as expected perform the following troubleshooting steps:

1. Restart Dock

Your first option is to re-spring the Dock app. This can be done in two ways:

A. From Terminal App

how to restart Dock in Terminal

  • Press cmd + Space to bring up Spotlight and search for Terminal. Open it.
  • Type killall Dock
  • Press the Return key. The dock restarts. Does it work now?

B. From Activity Monitor

  • Open Spotlight and search for Activity Monitor.
  • Use the search field and type ‘Dock‘.
  • Click Dock from the list to select it.
  • Use the ‘x’ available in the top-left area of the Activity Monitor window.
    Confirm that you want to kill the process by clicking Quit or Force Quit. This will cause the Dock to restart. Has the freezing problem been fixed?
    • 2. Restart Mac

      If the Dock remains frozen after restarting it you can go ahead and perform a full system restart in an attempt to clear other minor glitches that could prevent the Dock from working as expected.
      How to: Click Apple logo in the top-left corner. Select Restart… and confirm that you want to reboot your Mac.

      3. Hide / Show Dock

      dock hidden on Mac
      Another option to fix the freezing Dock is to hide and unhide in settings. You can do this in System Preferences -> Dock -> Automatically hide and show the Dock (Enable -> Disable).

      Trick: You can also use the cmd + option + D keyboard shortcut to easily hide and unhide the Dock in macOS!

      4. Delete Dock plist File

      Next up you delete your Dock configuration, in a reversible way. This implies backing up the Dock’s plist file and deleting it from the Library. In case, the outcome is not as expected you can revert and proceed to the next step:

        how to delete Dock plist file

      • Open Finder and click on Go, available in the top menu bar.
      • Click Go to Folder…
      • Copy/paste this string: ~/Library/Preferences/ and click Go.
      • Duplicate the file and save it on your Desktop.
      • Delete the original file, in Finder.
      • Restart Mac. Is the Dock still frozen?
      • Tip: This fix also works to fix a glitch that’s not allowing you to add or remove apps from Dock.

      5. Reset Dock

      The next troubleshooting option implies a full Dock reset. This will cause the menu bar to return to its factory settings.

      Tip: If you’re using a heavily customized Dock version I suggest you to perform a screenshot (shift + cmd + 3). It will help you to set it back faster to your personalized version.

      How to: Open the Terminal app an execute: defaults delete; killall Dock

      6. Delete App Icon With Question Mark

      If you recently removed an app, that’s listed in the Dock, a question mark will be displayed next to its icon. Sometimes this can be the trigger for a freezing dock.

      Fix: If possible, click and drag the icon to the trashcan. Or, right-click the icon and use the Remove from Dock option.

      7. Delete Dock Cache

      You can also try to fix an unresponsive Dock by deleting the cache:

        how to delete Dock cache

      • Open Finder.
      • Click Go, in the top menu bar and select Go To Folder…
      • Copy/paste this string: ~/Library/Caches/
      • Click Go.
      • Delete the Cache.db file and restart your Mac.

      8. Use Spotlight

      If none of the above helps, your current macOS version could be plagued by a bug that keeps making the Dock unusable. Until Apple releases a software update with a fix, you can bypass the Dock with the help of Spotlight search.

      How to: Use the cmd + Space shortcut to bring up Spotlight and search for the desired app. It’s not ideal but it gets the work done.

      Have you managed to fix the frozen Dock on your Mac? Which of the above suggested solutions worked? Use the comments section to share your feedback.

      Related: How to fix macOS touch bar bug!