Here’s How To Delete Icons From the Dock In Mountain Lion [OS X Tips]

Here’s How To Delete Icons From the Dock In Mountain Lion [OS X Tips]

Screenshot, old school – with an iPhone camera.

Have you tried to get rid of an application or document from the Dock after an upgrade to Mountain Lion? Before now, it was a simple drag and release: click on the offending icon, drag it away from the Dock, and let go. The little “poof” cloud would appear and the icon would be gone from the Dock. New OS X users would freak out, crying, “You got rid of my app!” and I would laugh. Also, I would show them where the actual app was, and how to put the icon back in the Dock, as the icon is simply a pointer to the real app. But I digress.

In Mac OS X Mountain Lion, this doesn’t work in quite the same way anymore. Try to click, drag, and release just ends up with the icon speeding back to its previous place in the Dock. You want to get rid of it? You have to learn a new, subtly different behavior.

Apple has made it a little less easy to remove Dock icons, thought it’s still pretty straightforward.

Click on the icon you want to remove, and drag it away from the dock a bit. Hold the icon there with the mouse button held down, and a little “poof” icon will appear in the lower right of the icon itself. Release the mouse or trackpad button and it’s bye, bye icon. It’ll even “poof” for you with the familiar animation. Sweet!

The other way to get rid of icons is to drag it to the Trash, which does sort of make sense. You’ll be saved the “hassle” of having to hold the icon off the Dock, saving precious nanoseconds.

The right-click method is still available, too. Simply use the right button on your two button mouse, or hold the Control key down while you click on an icon you’d like to remove from the dock. Hover over the Options item, and then click on Remove from Dock. If you have an active app that isn’t usually one of your Dock icons, you can add it here the same way, only choose Keep in Dock.

Got it? Get it? Good.

Are you using OS X Mountain Lion? Got a tip you want to share with us? (sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)or leave a comment below.

  • rockymtnhigh

    Or just right click the icon in the dock, select Options, Remove from Dock. Not rocket science. :-)

  • Alfred2612

    This will reduce a lot of the new user’s confusion. But even better would be to restrict it to simply dragging the icon to the trash. Simple, understandable, and near impossible to do by accident.

  • aardman

    I like that! So many times I’ve inadvertently deleted a dock icon due to an inadvertent swipe on the trackpad

  • dcj001

    Rob LeFebvre said:

    “In Mac OS X Mountain Lion…”

    Apple no longer includes the word “Mac” in the name of its OS.

    “OS X Mountain Lion” is correct.

  • Jonathan Ober

    Or just right click the icon in the dock, select Options, Remove from Dock. Not rocket science. :-)

    They said that in the third to last paragraph :P

  • Clem_E

    Well, it still works for me in Mountain Lion.. Just have to put it a bit higher than before but you can still remove an icon by just dragging it!!

  • zen107

    this post would be perfect for a new apple genius ad

  • GregNYR89

    is there a way to remove icons i the dock from an app that is running but without closing the app? The problem with teamviewer apps is that it has both a tray icon and a dock icon. I want to keep the tray Icon open while the dock icon closed (not there) when i’m not using the app but have it open in the background.

    sorry if there is any confusion.

  • RottenKing

    Remove icons from the Dock by dragging them off and waiting one second before releasing.

    There, I explained it in less than 400 words.

  • Aaron

    This is similar to how Ubuntu Linux does it with their Dock. You have to hold onto the icon for a few seconds before you can move or remove it.

  • Jason Bartlett

    You laugh at new Mac users who ask you for help when they’re learning how a completely foreign OS works? Wow! You don’t sound like an asshole at all!

  • unspokenblabber

    i dont think this work when the dock is not at the bottom.. and even then i found that the icon is not deleted if you hold it close to the dock.. it has to be beyond certain distance from the dock,,

  • conwayboys

    Or just right click the icon in the dock, select Options, Remove from Dock. Not rocket science. :-)

    Well thats all well and good but like me with teamviewer icon when i right click selcet options there is no remove from dock option, (see screen shot attached) and when i do drag it i get the little puff of smoke and it just returns to the dock and when i put it in the trash it also says remove from dock but when i click on it it just pops back to where it was. So in some cases yes it is rocket science as the usual commands do not work hence the reason for coming to a forum to ask otherwise i would have just followed the mac instructions.

  • conwayboys

    Addit to the post above so the question really is How do you remove icons from the dock when all the usual appropriate methods are not working. OSX 10.8.3 Macbook Pro Retina Display. The icon is team viewer…no luck on the remove from doc with any of the usual methods.

  • conwayboys

    ok found it in the Teamviewr preferences seems if you uncheck start team viewer with system the icon is able to be deleted. Thanks for all your help

  • conwayboys

    You laugh at new Mac users who ask you for help when they’re learning how a completely foreign OS works? Wow! You don’t sound like an asshole at all!

    LoL Jason presactly wot i thought

  • jpaul

    PLEASE REVISE YOUR ARTICLE! THE TIP IS MIS-STATED!

    Yes, I know I’m being impolite by SHOUTING, but I’m hoping that will bring attention to this post by someone at Cult of Mac. The column says this:

    “Click on the icon you want to remove, and drag it away from the dock a bit.”

    It’s NOT “a bit”, but well away from the dock. If you move it just a bit, it will change to a poof.

    On a related note, I take it that they did away with the key combo, click and drag option–by that, I do not mean the right-click pop-up, but what was, IIRC, command-option drag, and drop.

    In any event, thanks for the tip as all my key-combo efforts weren’t panning out. Glad to know that dragging it off works.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, Creative Screenwriting, Shelf-Awareness, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef, and send him a cookie once in a while; he'll really appreciate it.

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