How to Add a Recent or Favorite Items Stack to Your Mac’s Dock

Continuing our recent how-to focus on customizing the macOS Dock, in this article we're going to share with you a method for adding a recent or favorite items stack to the right of the Dock divider.


Most users are aware that you can drag any folder into the right-hand side of the Dock to turn it into a stack, but the following lesser-known trick creates a unique stack type containing your most recently opened applications, documents, or servers.

Alternatively, you can also set this unique type of stack to show the Favorite folder locations and Device links that appear in your Finder's sidebar.


Unfortunately, you can't use stacks if you have the Dock set up to show only actively running apps. With that caveat in mind, simply follow the steps below to create the stack type that best suits your workflow. Just bear in mind that Terminal is a powerful app, so make sure you enter the commands properly, especially if you're not familiar with it.

How to Create a Recent or Favorite Items Stack


  1. Launch the Terminal app found in Applications/Utilities. (To quickly open the Utilities folder in Finder, select Go -> Utilities from the menu bar, or use the key shortcut Shift-Command-U.)
  2. Copy the following command text and paste it into Terminal at the prompt, then press Enter: defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-others -array-add '{"tile-data" = {"list-type" = 1;}; "tile-type" = "recents-tile";}'; killall Dock

  3. Repeat the command (hit the up arrow and press Enter) to create additional recent or favorite stacks in the Dock as required.
  4. To choose whether a new stack contains certain types of favorite items or recent items, right-click (or Ctrl-click) the stack and select one of the options in the pop-up menu.

  5. To change the default Grid view, right-click (or Ctrl-click) the stack and select one of the other options under View content as in the pop-up menu.
Note that you can change the number of items shown in a recent items stack in the following way: Click the Apple () logo in the menu bar, select System Preferences..., open the General preference pane, and choose another number from the Recent items dropdown menu.


To remove a Recent or Favorite Items stack from your Dock, simply right-click (or Ctrl-click) it and select Remove from Dock. Alternatively, click and drag the stack out of the Dock then let go of the mouse button to delete it.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

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How to Get Your Mac’s Dock to Show Running Apps Only

Last week we explained how you can use a simple Terminal command to insert spaces in your macOS Dock and visibly group together app icons. In this article, we're going to highlight another simple Terminal hack that turns the Dock into more of a straightforward app switcher by making it display only apps that are currently running on your Mac.


Seeing only active apps at the bottom of your desktop can be a refreshing change if your Dock has become cluttered with various app shortcuts over time, and you can always use Spotlight (key combination Command-Space to activate) or an alternative method to launch your Mac apps.

When following the simple steps below, just bear in mind that Terminal is a powerful app, so make sure you enter the commands properly, especially if you're not familiar with it.

How to Show Only Active Apps in Your Dock


  1. Launch the Terminal app found in Applications/Utilities. (To quickly open the Utilities folder in Finder, select Go -> Utilities from the menu bar, or use the key shortcut Shift-Command-U.)
  2. At the Terminal prompt, type the following command and press Enter: defaults write com.apple.dock static-only -bool true; killall Dock

  3. Your Dock will reboot in order to show only the currently running apps on your Mac in the order they were launched.

How to Revert the Dock Back to Its Original State


If you decide you don't like this way of using the Dock, follow the steps below to return it to its usual behavior.

  1. Launch the Terminal app again if it's not already open.
  2. At the Terminal prompt, type the following command and press Enter: defaults write com.apple.dock static-only -bool false; killall Dock
  3. Your Dock will reboot and revert to showing both running and non-running apps.
If there's a specific active app that you'd like to hide from the Dock for whatever reason, there are a couple of third-party utilities that might help. Dock Dodger is a free drag-and-drop tool that can hide certain apps from the Dock even when they're running (once placed on the tool's droplet, you have to restart the app in question to hide it, although our success rate varied depending on the app). If you're willing to open your wallet, GhostTile is a more recent and reliable paid-for alternative with similar functionality.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

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