Disable the Dock in Apple OS X Tiger

Many people find that they simply don’t have enough screen real estate on their MacBooks, and prefer to use application launchers such as Apple’s own Spotlight, or the third party applications QuickSilver and launchbar.

There are two ways to remove the Dock from OS X tiger – one easy, the other a more manual approach.

We’ll start with the hard one, since it’s better to understand what’s going on behind the scenes. If this simply doesn’t interest you and you’d rather move on – rest assured that scripting the hard part is just as safe, and works in a similar manner.

On to the hard part:

  • The first step is to move the dock from /System/Library/CoreServices so that it won’t be launched on startup as it is normally. This is a bit hackish, but I’ve yet to get anything else working properly.
  • Since the dock will no longer be called at startup as it is missing from the usual cave it hides out in, we’ll need to make the Dock start up from it’s new location when we log in. This can easily be accomplished by dragging Dock.app from its new hiding place to your startup items (found in the “accounts” system preference pane).
  • Since the idea here is to get rid of the Dock, we’ll need to close it after it is run on login. The easiest way to do this is to make an Applescript that terminates the dock for you, and have it run just after the Dock is launched on startup. This allows the Dock to start, get it’s act in gear, then disappear.
  • Now you can proceed with your normal modus operandi and utilize QuickSilver or whatever other application launcher that you prefer to use instead of the Dock.

The easier way to do all of this is to leverage a piece of software written by No Name Scriptware called Dock Death. Dock Death is an AppleScript that performs the same task we outlined above, and also gives you a back out strategy in case you really need to get the Dock back.

Both of these solutions will effectively disable Expose since it a Dock process. If you can’t live without Expose, you may want to try using the freeware Onyx, which allows you to move the Dock to the top of the screen and hide it, effectively eliminating it from view. Though this is a bit low-tech in that it doesn’t really disable the Dock, for some people it gets the job done.

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  1. you can move the dock to the top through terminal quicker than you can download Onyx and get it running that way


    defaults com.apple.dock orientation -string top
    defaults com.apple.dock pinning end

    relaunch the dock through activity monitor
    change your dock preferences (shrink the dock and turn on hiding and make sure magnification is off)

    this will almost completely disable the dock
    in order to get your dock to appear you have to hold the mouse just under the the menubar for a few seconds
    you can fix the settings through system preferences (except for the pinning)
    and is completely reversible

  2. Why isn’t there an application that allows me to disable the dock via shortcut, instead of hiding it, so I can turn it on and off, only it doesn’t reappear.

    DockBlock does this, but I don’t want to run an app for everything whenever I use the Mac. There should be an app that changes the bahaviour of the dock permanently from show/sit-in-ambush to a real show/hide (and stay hidden until I tell you to come back).

  3. Script link 404’s. Moreover, the script does not appear on the dev’s download page.

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