As I’ve worked on coverage for the imminent release of a new version of OS X, I’ve found myself needing to reset the look of the Dock back to factory settings again and again. Perhaps you, at one time or another, have thought about how handy it would be to have a factory reset button in OS X—one similar to the reset buttons found in iOS.

Unfortunately, no such button exist within OS X, but there is a handy Terminal command that you can use to quickly make your dock look and work like new again. Read on as I’ll share the command on video, and walk you through this super-simple process.

One of the great things about iOS is how easy it is to restore a device and make it look like new again. You can even reset all of the Home Screen app icons back to their default settings in just a few button presses.

Resetting the Dock to factory settings

With the following Terminal command, you can do something similar to the OS X Dock. This command will reset your dock by removing any icons that you’ve added and restoring any icons that you removed. It’ll also reset the size of the dock, reset its magnification settings, and its location.

How to reset the OS X Dock Header

This is an all encompassing command that makes it super-easy to get your dock looking new again. To use the command, open the Terminal app and type the following:

defaults delete com.apple.dock

Press the Return button on your keyboard to submit the command.

Now, type the following to restart the Dock:

killall Dock

Press the Return key on the keyboard, and the Dock will restart. Once it reappears, it’ll look good as new.

Keep in mind that if you’ve uninstalled any of the default apps that the Dock contains, they will appear as “?” icons until you either remove the placeholder from the dock, or reinstall the missing apps.

For those of you who might not feel comfortable with this process, here it is demonstrated on video.

So there you have it, a quick and easy way to inch your Mac closer to how it was when you first installed OS X. Sometimes it’s just nice to start from scratch, and this is one step that’ll help you do just that.

What do you think?

  • DWayne Robinson

    Thanks i just used the shell commands and made an automator App. 🙂

    • DWayne Robinson

      Here is the Automator Work Flow that i created

      • Giancarlo Silva

        Hey, how did you do this workflow?
        Can u post the process?

      • DWayne Robinson

        in automator select utilities>run applescript>enter the above code in my workflow above>then add pause to the second line>the loop>save it as an application and run it you’ll be good to go

      • Giancarlo Silva

        Thanks, bro!

  • Hello there, is anyone having problems with the launchpad on OS X Yosemite public beta? I have the Numbers application in the Application folder but it doesn’t seem to show on my launchpad. This started since public beta (PB) 4, now I’m on PB 6 but it’s still not showing. Tried resetting the dock multiple times but no luck. Hope someone could help me out. Thanks!

    • Utrarunner5

      Hmm I haven’t had this problem at all and I have numbers as well. Maybe try deleting and re downloading numbers.

    • Angela Sepeda

      I am having the same problem. Help ou there!

  • Rounak

    There should be a setting to reset mac to default settings.
    Jeff can you please tell any such command to reset Launchpad icons to default.

  • Saeed

    how can i reset launchpad to default?
    befor i had utility folder and…

    right now all folder has gone and i have all app on the launchpad and launchpad has 3 pages right now.

  • Daniel Pavlotsky

    Is there a command to do the same thing with the toolbar? Say for instance if you donwnloaded a theme that you dont want anymore and dont have an un-installer?

  • Congruent Thoughts

    Awesome! It really made my day! Thank You! Whooow! I got problems after last Yosemite update and just a few App were left in my Dock. Pretty awkward to find the different Apps in Finder. No Icon could be placed on Dock anymore. Deleting Library/Preferences/com.apple.Dock.plist did not work anymore.
    But Your ‘Reset to factory default’ did the job and now the Dock is As it was before the Update – not Factory default, but my default with all my icons in it again. Great!
    Now in this beta release times I also realized how valuable it actually is with an iMac and at least one iPad and perhaps also a Macbook Pro beside me. When Yosemite did crash, I found solutions on iPad, or when iOS 8 did freeze, I found solutions on iMac. Or could download Diskwarrior on Macbook Pro to fix my iMac again after update. Until now all my Apple Devices where the most staple in the Universe and no trouble since Snow Leopard at all. Never! Now it feels a bit like having Windows again… Anyway. I appreciate the effort Apple is doing with Handsfree and a whole new era with more freedom with my Apple devices is now visible on the horizon. Its just a stony Road to reach this goal I guess.
    Thanks to you Jeff and thanks also to Dwayne Robinson for the Workflow.

  • Canes Venatici

    What can I do to restore the dock to the Mavericks look, sort of a mirror finish 3D. This 2D blue color sucks

  • Guest

    can you help me guys how to restore/default the safari? like i want to see this again when i open my safari and open new tab/window? and also there are so many ads going out when i open new tab or click something on the active tab i am using…what can i do??

  • Nicole Styles

    can you help me guys how to restore/default the safari? like i want to see this again when i open my safari and open new tab/window? and also there are so many ads going out when i open new tab or click something on the active tab i am using…what can i do??

  • Adam Jay

    THANK YOU!
    My Snow Leopard machine was running this Docker.app that broke, and I could not get its modifications to the dock to go away.

  • beautybyalicee

    Thanks this was really helpful 🙂

  • MANOJ91

    open automator. create application. search library, shell. paste the terminal command. save. close.

    • Giancarlo Silva

      Dude, for me it works without this: ResetLaunchPad -bool true;

      When i run the script with ur command, my Dock just go down and come back with no modifications.

      i just write the commands of the post in the Shell Script and it works.