Unless you’re a big fan of Launchpad, you’d agree when we say that Dock is the center of navigation in macOS. It’s the first place you go to after starting up the Mac, you know. But, this does not mean that the Dock is perfect. Despite Apple’s continuous upgrades to the feature, there are a few downsides that may bother you. It’s exactly the point why we have sought some of the best Mac Dock customize app.
You have two choices here. You can use these apps and the Mac Dock side by side. Alternatively, you can go ahead and hide the dock. As of now, it is not possible to permanently disable the Mac dock. The maximum you can do is prevent it from showing up every time you open something. Either way, these Dock replacements will be worth your time.
Mac Dock Replacements app
DockShelf is one of the earliest dock replacements for Mac. It claims to let you create multiple docks when one is not enough. In many ways, that’s true too. You can have multiple sub-docks to keep things better organized and easy to access in the long run.
By default, DockShelf is placed at the left side of the screen. There are three different sections, for Places, Notes, and Apps. Hovering on the section icons will open up the sub-docks. For instance, you can find the usual apps in the Apps section. Unlike the traditional dock, DockShelf lets you keep extra links and even files for easy access.
Customization, however, isn’t the strong point of DockShelf. We found it really hard to customize the dock, even to find the Settings. You have to add/remove apps/places to the dock from the small interface. We do believe other Dock alternatives perform better than that. DockShelf offers a set of additional features such as Smart Folders and Desktop Docks.
- Basic and Intuitive
- Supports multiple docks
- Hard to Customize
- Rudimentary UI
DockShelf isn’t the dock for everyone. There are downsides, but it’s the best way to get started. You would know how to live without the traditional dock. Of course, there are additional features that can turn out pretty useful.
Check Out DockShelf ($4.99, free demo)
ActiveDock is meant to be a better version of what Apple offers in macOS. It does not bring a big UI overhaul to the scene, though. You have an improved dock with amazing features and customizability. You can do a lot of things in ActiveDock: especially things you were not able to do in the traditional dock. To simply quote the developers, it’s the same dock, but better.
are the two awesome features we found in ActiveDock. In this dock, you can hover over the icon to see the current window. Even better, you can choose how to arrange the particular window. Simply click on the desired layout, and boom: everything is cleaned up. We loved the two features a lot.
ActiveDock does not let you down when it comes to customization too. From background color to the icons in use, you can customize almost everything on the dock. You can also create Groups and Folders for better organization of your files, apps, and folders. Compared to DockShelf, ActiveDock is easy to set up, maintain and use on a regular basis.
- Better Window Management
- Ultimate customization options
- Support Groups & Stacks
- Nothing major
ActiveDock is the best choice if you want a better dock on Mac. It does offer a bunch of superb features in window management. For someone who tackles multiple windows almost every time, ActiveDock is a great upgrade.
Check Out ActiveDock ($19.99, free demo)
HyperDock is not technically a dock replacement, but it does magic. It brings many features that you haven’t seen in the traditional dock. In effect, you’re using a different type of dock on the Mac. One thing we loved about HyperDock is that it’s tightly integrated with your Mac. There is no need to worry about glitches even in macOS Mojave.
For instance, when you hover over the Calendar icon, HyperDock will show you the available events. In the same way, you can control media playback by hovering over the iTunes icon. When it comes to the standard windows, you get a clean preview and management options. As the developer says, the app is bringing many of the awaited features to macOS dock.
HyperDock too offers ample options for customization. Because you are dealing with the traditional dock, it cannot change color or anything. Still, you can add options for window management and dock items. Simply put, HyperDock can boost your dock’s functionalities like never before. The best part is that you would not even know when HyperDock is running.
- Brings features to the Dock
- Easy to implement and use
- Lacks customization options
- Doesn’t have many features
If you ask us, HyperDock is the fine-line between customization and productivity. It brings the best experience to the existing dock. This is great when we consider the limitations of other choices. At the end of the day, HyperDock should satisfy everyone.
Check Out HyperDock ($9.95, but it has a limited free version too.)
uBar is perhaps the most popular and trustworthy Dock replacements for macOS. It is packed with a number of features that can redefine your macOS navigation experience. Window Previews, Pinning, Multi-Monitor Support are just some of the features included in the package. This Dock replacement is expected to enhance your productivity.
You can configure uBar as a dock or as a taskbar. When configured as a taskbar, this app resembles a good old Windows taskbar. The active apps are stacked on the bar. When you hover over the icon, uBar shows a preview too. The bar also contains a few extra sections like Calendar, Clock and shortcuts to Desktop, Trash etc. The bar menu seems to resemble the Windows Start menu in many ways.
If you ask us, though, the best part about uBar is customization. You can customize how this navigation app looks and performs. Just like you do in Dock, uBar can be placed on three sides of the screen. There is also a bunch of advanced customization when it comes to themes, Pinning etc. In short, uBar can your own in many ways.
- A Productive UI
- Advanced Window Management
- Plenty of Customization options
- Nothing Major
uBar is indeed one of the best alternatives to Dock. It offers ample space for customization and features. Thanks to multi-monitor support and window management, it would be useful for professionals as well. At the end of the day, we’d recommend it to everyone.
Check Out uBar ($30, 14-Day free trial)
Mac Dock Customize App
Dockey isn’t a Mac dock alternative but more like Mac dock customize App. Nevertheless, it can improve the overall Dock experience in the long run. You can use Dockey to speed up and optimize the Dock. You will have to do these things otherwise using Terminal, which is hard. If you think the options given below aren’t that good, we’d recommend going for Dockey.
It’s a completely free app, which is easy to use. Simply launch the program, make the changes and save the Settings. Your Dock will be optimized in no time. Sounds awesome, right?
Check Out Dockey (free)
2. Replacement icons
Like most OS, macOS also allow you to install your own custom icons for favorite software and system components. However, find good icon packs for your macOS is a challenge. Fortunately, there are few artists who handmade replacement icons for macOS.
To change the application or system icon,
- Open the icon in Finder and press CMD + I to bring up Get Info pop-up menu.
- In the Get Info window that opens, you’ll see a thumbnail icon in the top left corner of the window.
- Click the thumbnail icon and Press CMD + c to copy the icon to the clipboard
Now, go to the Application folder on your Finder and select the application you want to personalize. Repeat the previous steps, i.e. press CMD + I to bring up Get Info pop-up menu. And this time, click on the thumbnail you want to change and press CMD + v to replace the icon.
The Bottom Line
Here you have seen four different apps that can be an alternative to the traditional dock on macOS. Most of the tools are freemium and you can check out the demo anytime. Coming to the options, we’d recommend uBar if you’re looking for some serious change and customization options. As we said, uBar brings a Windows task-bar feel to the whole macOS interface. On the other hand, if you want to boost the existing dock’s functionality, HyperDock would be something impressive. Also, let us know which one is your favorite.