Customizing the functionality of your operating system with third-party apps is fun. We've covered how to set up custom hotkeys for all sorts of things, how to turn your trackpad into a power user's dream, and even how to completely replace the standard TouchBar. Here's how different replacements for Apple's built-in docking stack are possible.
Removing the default dock
If you want to replace the dock with a third-party program, you probably want the default dock so that it does not get in the way. However, there is no option in the settings to disable it, and no way to completely remove it. This is because the dock app is responsible for things under the hood that not only run the dock; In fact, Finder will not even run with the dock off.
Instead of disabling it, you can increase the automatic delay to 1
defaults write com.apple.dock automhide-delay -float 1000; killall Dock
To restore the default dock functionality, use this command to restore the defaults:
defaults delete com.apple.dock autohide-delay; killall Dock
This will take your dock 15 minutes to open, which means it will not accidentally pop up when you drive over it. If, for any reason, you would like the default dock to be displayed again, you can press the + Command + D key at any time to open it manually.
And now you know how to get the integrated dock out of the way of these third-party replacement devices.
TabLauncher is at the top of our list to put most features into a usable dock. It's fast – often faster to open and close than the standard dock – and it separates icons into different tabs, all of which are configurable. It also shows thumbnails of windows before you open them, which is a nice feature.
The default theme looks a bit out of place in newer versions of macOS, so switching to a "light" theme with a light gray color makes it a little better:
It's also on The right side of the screen and it seems to have no options to change it in the settings, but you are able to (19659004) By default, there is a delay on opening because it is configured to open when the Pointer on the edge of the position "resting" screen, this is how the standard dock works. However, you can make the TabLauncher faster by setting it to open when the pointer touches the edge. There is also a bit of closing delay when you drive away, which you can also refuse.
TabLauncher has a lite version with all the features shown above, but is limited to three tabs. Your paid version is $ 4 in the App Store and eliminates this limitation.
ActiveDock is very similar to the Windows taskbar, with a "Start Menu" that is relatively well-equipped, but a feeling has little clunkiness. The app looks much better than TabLauncher and is similar to the standard dock, but is quite slow when opening and closing the dock.
You can organize apps in folders with your app icons, and you can also set custom icons for all your apps. This looks a lot nicer than TabLauncher's organization and lets you place more apps in a smaller space.
If you prefer design over feature or really like the Windows Start menu, ActiveDock might be worth picking up, but it's $ 20 for a license. They have a free trial, so you can try it out before you buy.
For real power users, you probably do not intend to use the mouse to move much. Apple's built-in Spotlight (Command + Spacebar) lets you launch apps directly from the keyboard.
Alfred is not a dock, but a replacement for Spotlight, and you can run it next to an app like TabLauncher. You can search the web, use a calculator, and run custom functions and macros, all with a UI that is very similar to the standard Spotlight feature. It's also much faster when launching applications because it will not scan your entire drive to find matching results.
The free version is very powerful and a great replacement for Spotlight, but they also offer a Pro version called "Powerpack" that extends the search functionality, integrates with many applications and even allows terminal commands to be executed through the main window.