I recently updated my computer from Mavericks to El Capitan, and I'm unable to add or remove items from the dock. If I attempt to change the dock, the computer freezes and I am unable to interact with the computer through the GUI.

The machine has multiple users, and I am the only user on this system that has this problem. I suspect that it's an issue with the way my dock is configured. Is there any way to "factory-reset" the dock? Failing that, is there any way to fix a dock that can't be modified?

1 Answer 1


Using the terminal, you can try deleting your dock preferences, then restarting the dock:

% defaults delete com.apple.dock
% killall Dock

This won't affect the contents of your dock, but it will reset the preferences that you'd normally edit in the Dock panel of the System Preferences.

EDIT: Per comments below, apparently this does reset dock contents for some people, but not for others—not clear why.

  • You said, "This won't affect the contents of your dock" and this is not true! Deleting the com.apple.dock.plist file and restarting the Dock does a full reset while not only loosing the arranged order of apps it also removes all apps that have been added. Your answer is destructive while claiming it's not! Jun 22, 2016 at 23:10
  • @user3439894: It's didn't remove all apps for me when I did it. It didn't change the contents of ~/Library/Prefrences/com.apple.dock.plist for example.
    – Dan
    Jun 22, 2016 at 23:17
  • But it did fix the problem of the dock causing the computer to freeze!
    – Dan
    Jun 22, 2016 at 23:17
  • @Dan, It totally reset my Dock as if the User Account was just freshly created and logged in for the first time. Jun 22, 2016 at 23:43
  • @user3439894: Ah. Well, at least it's only a little bit destructive.
    – Dan
    Jun 23, 2016 at 1:09

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