I have Maps, Photos and iBooks icons returning to my dock after a reboot even though I removed them several times already. Is there some way to remove them? They seem to be set as defaults, can I change these defaults somehow?

  • What version of OS X are you running? Feb 13, 2016 at 3:22
  • I am running 10.11.3
    – gruszczy
    Feb 13, 2016 at 4:18

3 Answers 3


This answers it partially. When I encountered the same problem on El Capitan, these steps solved it.

  1. Disable System Integrity Protection.
  2. sudo /usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c "delete:add-app" /System/Library/CoreServices/Dock.app/Contents/Resources/com.apple.dockfixup.plist sudo /usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c "delete:add-doc" /System/Library/CoreServices/Dock.app/Contents/Resources/com.apple.dockfixup.plist
  3. Re-enable System Integrity Protection.

I referred to another discussion for PlistBuddy

  • Thanks! This was exactly what I was looking for. At first I didnt get it to work, but that was because I'd forgotten sudo (PlistBuddy fails silently if you do...)
    – Cyberwiz
    Feb 2, 2017 at 10:42
  • Thanks for the detailed instructions. This finally worked, after I had tried several other approaches.
    – erwaman
    Aug 10, 2017 at 4:48

The property list is most likely corrupted. The following will reset the dock to it’s default, but it should subsequently allow you to modify it and have it work properly.

  • Open Finder. Hold down shift+command+G to open a “Go To Folder” window.
  • Enter the following path: ~/Library/Preferences
    • Within the folder, move any file starting with the string com.apple.dock to your Trash.
    • Navigate to ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost as well. Remove any file starting with com.apple.dock in the same manner.
  • Log out of your account and log back in. The dock should be reset to default.
  • Now, attempt to modify it:

    • Remove the unwanted dock icon(s)

    • Reboot, log back in to make sure the modifications are preserved.

Note that I'm assuming you are running 10.10 or higher.

  • The dock reset its position from left side to bottom after I deleted the files, but the dock icons still return after the reboot. Is it possible I have some device policy that is enforcing them (this is a work macbook).
    – gruszczy
    Feb 13, 2016 at 5:19
  • @gruszczy Possible, but unlikely. Are you an admin. on the machine? I suggest logging in another user account and seeing if the behavior persists (Guest should suffice) in order to try and at least isolate the issue.
    – njboot
    Feb 13, 2016 at 14:25
  • In an earlier version, I had to make Dock changes that could not be done by GUI. I had to change the plist, but since Dock on exit write the plist with its current state, I had to kill -9 as soon as I had made the changes.
    – WGroleau
    Feb 13, 2016 at 15:35
  • njboot: I can't seem to be able to log in as a guest. There isn't any option anywhere. But I discovered that I don't need to reboot, it's enough to log out + log in for the icons to appear again.
    – gruszczy
    Feb 13, 2016 at 15:38
  • WGroleau: Could you walk me through the process of what you did?
    – gruszczy
    Feb 13, 2016 at 15:38

My previous answer was a symptomatic treatment to change dockfixup behavior. The true problem was that Setup Assistant (which triggers dockfixup) ran at every login.

This was caused by ~/Library/Preferences/loginwindow.plist in my case.

The file was not writable by me:

-rw-------   1 root  wheel  117  9 27  2016 loginwindow.plist

So I changed the owner and group to me:

sudo chown "$USER:$GID" ~/Library/Preferences/loginwindow.plist

(GID is a shell variable of your group id.)

Removing the file will also fix the problem.

Other questions such as How to stop Setup Assistant from showing up on every restart on Mac Mini with OS X Mavericks? may be useful if you see “Setting up Your Mac” in every login.

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