I have an iMac with OSX 10.8, joined to a work domain. I want to get create a custom dock and save it so all users will see my custom dock when they log in. I've done some Google searches and everything seems to point to these steps:

  1. Create dock how you want it
  2. Copy ~/library/preferences/com.apple.dock.plist to /system/library/user\ template/english.lproj/library/preferences

I've done this and then logged in as a new user, but am seeing a different dock than I created. I've also tried copying com.apple.dock.db to English.lproj/library/preferences as well, but to no avail.

The new users that will be logging in are network accounts.

Am I missing something?

  • Those appear to be the same steps I took when adding the custom dock (removed iCal, AddressBook, etc from dock) to the user template in the image I use for new Macs at work. When the users, Active Directory authenticated network users, login they are presented with the custom dock, as are Guest users. Have you checked to ensure the permissions are the same as they initially were for the user template folder? System should have read/write access, everyone should have no access. – Mr Rabbit Aug 27 '13 at 21:03
  • I gave the /system/library/user\ template directory the access rwxrw----. It previously was rwx------. I then copied over com.apple.dock.plist, tried logging in as a new user, and the dock still is different from the custom one I created. – Joey Baud Aug 28 '13 at 16:37
  • Just added my notes from when I first did this a while back and verified they still worked on a 10.8.4 Mac. Hopefully they work for you. – Mr Rabbit Aug 28 '13 at 17:56

Dug up my notes from when I first modified the user template in our base images. Ran back through the process, changing the default Dock to have about 15 items, on a fresh Mac and these steps worked. I did a lot of this from the command line, so as to not fuss with changing/reverting permissions using Finder.

  1. Arrange your Dock however you would like for it to appear on new user accounts, changing the orientation and adding/removing applications.

  2. Browse to ~/Library/Preferences and copy the com.apple.Dock.plist file to your desktop.

  3. Open Terminal and start a root session by typing: sudo -s

  4. Enter your current account's password when prompted

  5. Copy the copy of your modified dock preference file from your desktop to the User Template in your Mac's System folder.: cp ~/Desktop/com.apple.Dock.plist /System/Library/User\ Template/English.lproj/Preferences

That should do the trick. I tested this on a fresh Mac by logging into both a Guest account and a new (created after the above steps) standard user account, both accounts showed the proper Dock with 15~ items.

It shouldn't be necessary with these steps but if you run into trouble you should verify that the /System/Library/User Template folder has permissions set to: System - Read/Write & Everyone - No access.

|improve this answer|||||
  • I followed your steps and also copied the .plist file to ../English.lproj/Library/Preferences as well, but the issue still remains. – Joey Baud Aug 29 '13 at 19:59
  • Actually, I just tried these steps again on a brand new iMac, just out of the box. I did these steps before I added it to the domain, and now new network users that log in are seeing the custom dock I made. Any ideas on why it won't work with the other iMacs? – Joey Baud Aug 29 '13 at 20:16
  • 1
    I found out that the dock settings were being set via OD. Copying the plist there should fix the problem. – Joey Baud Sep 9 '13 at 16:15
  • 1
    The steps above work, with caveats: 1. The actual path for the required Prefs folder in 10.9 is /System/Library/User\ Template/English.lproj/Library/Preferences/ 2. Mavericks adds a dock icon for iBooks and the Downloads folder as part of the user creation script, so these are added even if you have removed them from your custom dock. If you already have a Downloads icon, it will add a second one, so remove them both from your custom design. – user95587 Oct 14 '14 at 8:56
  • 1
    I can confirm this works on 10.11, so long as you use /System/Library/User\ Template/English.lproj/Library/Preferences/ Thanks for the useful tip! – user149722 Oct 2 '15 at 0:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .