I know that I can restart the Dock using a killall Dock on the command line. I can also restart the Finder by Alt-right-clicking the Finder icon. Is there a similar way to restart the Dock without using the command line?

  • Are you open to creating an Automator action or Applescript applet?
    – bjbk
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 18:07
  • @bjbk even if the OP isn't - someone will learn from a nice AppleScript answer. I didn't see your comment while I was typing up my Otto the Automator answer. You're clearly thinking in a way with which I agree. :-)
    – bmike
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 18:11
  • @bmike good suggestion. I sometimes hesitate to write answers thinking only of the OP. I need to think in terms of the actual problem and how others could benefit from multiple solutions. Heads back to read Help Center
    – bjbk
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 18:14
  • Curious, why would you want to? You're obviously not command line shy if you already know the command. The answers seem rather complicated compared to opening a terminal.... Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 19:37

5 Answers 5


You can force-quit background processes using the Activity Monitor utility. Just find the Dock process (either sort the process list by name, or use the search field in the upper right), select it, then click the Quit button (the icon is an "X" in an octagon) in the upper left of the Activity Monitor window. It'll ask if you want to do a normal Quit or Force Quit.


No - the dock doesn't participate in the Force Quit window so you can't get at it directly.

You could easily take your AppleScript or shell script and wrap it in a launcher. Platypus app is my choice, but Automator also works:

  1. Open Automator
  2. Make a new app
  3. Call it Dock Killer
  4. Add one item to the recipe - Run Shell Script
  5. enter killall Dock
  6. Save the App to wherever you wish.

Now you can use Spotlight, Launchpad, FastScripts or any other manner of automation tools to use the keyboard or shortcut keys to launch your Dock Killer app. The free apps will work just fine, but I prefer LaunchBar for this task.


Modify the file named 'Info.plist' inside the application's package (i.e. /System/Library/CoreServices/Dock.app/Contents/). Open this file in your favorite text editor and change the following section




After killing the Dock.app once with the Terminal/Activity Monitor (see Gordon's answer ;-)) or after a restart the app "Dock" appears in the Dock itself and you can force quit/restart it there or from the Apple menu -> Force quit....

After a system update or upgrade you may have to repeat the edit.


[Very] Similar to @bmike 's existing answer, but this is my preferred method for making quick Automator scripts key-commandable…

  1. Launch Automator
  2. Make a new Service
  3. Call it [whatever you like] or 'killall Dock'
  4. Add one item to the recipe - Run Shell Script
  5. enter killall Dock
  6. Save using Cmd ⌘ S [You can wait until this point to name it if you wish. There's no file picker for where it is stored, with a Service, just a name.]
  7. Open System Prefs > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Services
  8. Scroll down & add a memorable key command to your new 'killall Dock' service

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Why dont you use the free "Onyx" utility (@ Titanium software); a very serious one. Go to 'parameters" menu where you'll find the "Dock" tab… That's it / http://www.titanium.free.fr/onyx.html

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