Many programs are not removed from the dock when quitting them (using apple-Q) or when closing their visible windows. I know this behaviour is on purpose, but I don't like it. Is their a way to consistently enforce that programs are really closed (i.e., the process is terminated), and hence removed from the dock when quitting / closing the windows?

  • 3
    Based on your comments, it seems like the problem is actually programs that don't quit just because they no longer have any open windows. Some apps have settings to quit automatically, but I do not know of a way to force all programs to behave this way, as far as I know it's up to the author of the app. Someone else might know, though, you might want to try asking a separate question.
    – Lizzan
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 10:55

4 Answers 4


I found an answer here: https://superuser.com/questions/53935/getting-mac-os-x-applications-to-close-after-last-window-closed

Essentially, there's a program called RedQuits that automatically quits application when you close the last window.

BUT, it does no work for Yosemite. So still no dice.

The thing about applications not closing when hiting Cmd-Q was probably me misremembering things, because I couldn't find back any application doing that.


I had this issue with Word. The program would open but the Word icon would stay in the dock after I quit the program.

Try: Go to System Preferences > Dock Uncheck "Show recent applications in Dock"

Now the word icon will be removed from the dock after I quit it.


You can remove those apps by right clicking on the Dock icon and choosing Options -> Remove from Dock, or drag the app icon from Dock to the top untill You see Remove label. After this, app will automatically dissapear from Dock after quitting.

  • Please see my comment under iskra's answer.
    – Norswap
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 10:45

Dock doesn't contain programs in it. It is just aliases of those. There permanent (sticking aliases) and temporal ones.

When you drag some app to dock you assign alias for that app in the dock. Or if you choose Keep in Dock from context menu of present alias. When you launch that app you get dot under it denoting it is launched.

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When you launch an app by other means — from Finder or spotlight you get temporal alias for that app in the dock it will vanish the moment you will quit an app.

Only way for you for dock to do what you want is to remove all icons from the dock. This way you will be left with only Finder and Trash. And any other app you specifically launched.

  • I'm not referring to programs "pinned" to the dock. I'm referring to programs that are left running (as indicated by the dot) even after I close all visible windows. Exemple of such programs: Preview, and Textual (the IRC client). I actually might be misremembering about programs left running after with apple-Q; although I thought there was at least one that did it.
    – Norswap
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 10:44
  • 1
    @Norswap so I misunderstood Your question. There must be something wrong, since ⌘+Q quits the app and it should be removed from the Dock (at least dot indicator should go away). Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 10:47
  • Like I said, I might be misremembering that. Ignore it until I can find the app that did that (if there was one to begin with). But what about forcing a program to close if all of its visible windows are closed?
    – Norswap
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 10:52
  • I doubt there are apps that can not conform to cmd+Q i.e. system shortcut for quit. There are apps that disable close window control in the windows of the app but none except Finder that cannot be quit.
    – iskra
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 11:34
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    On mac closing last window is not always closing app as in Windows. Cmd+Q will quit an app. Depending on your system version and preferences it will close windows or save their state.
    – iskra
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 11:36

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