How to reset the Dock to factory defaults on Mac

As I’ve worked on coverage for the imminent release of a new version of macOS, 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 macOS—one similar to the reset buttons found in iOS.

Unfortunately, no such button exist within macOS, 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 macOS 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

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 macOS. 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?