I currently have the Dock to the left. In the Displays pane of System Preferences, I have the external display (if present) configured to be on the left side of the main built-in display; and the menu bar on the built-in display.


  • when I connect an external display, the Dock jumps to it, separating it from the menu bar.

How can I configure the Dock to stay on the main display with the menu bar?

Some things to keep in mind:

  1. I prefer the Dock to the left.
  2. I don't want it on the right, since that would interfere with the disk icons on the desktop.
  3. I don't want it on the bottom, since I have widescreen displays and that would be wasteful of vertical screen real-estate.
  4. I can't unusably configure the external display to be on the right side, since it's actually to the left, given the way my desk is setup.

I'm using Mac OS X Lion on a Macbook Pro.

  • 1
    Is moving the menu bar to the left monitor an option? That way the Dock and menu bar stay together, albeit on the external monitor. If that's acceptable then you can move the menu bar by just dragging it in the Arrange view of the Display system preferences screen. Dec 8, 2011 at 21:48

8 Answers 8


As far as I can find, putting the Dock on the left side of the right monitor or the right side of the left monitor can't be done.

But let's look at other possible solutions to your problem. Point #1 notes that you don't want the dock on the right because it would interfere with disk icons on the desktop. And when you first drag the Dock to the right side, it does indeed cover the disk icons on the right side. But if you select "clean up" on the Desktop once the Dock is positioned on the right, it will move those icons over to make room for the Dock. This is a temporary solution, however, because newly mounted drives will still be buried by the dock. If you select "clean up by name", however, then newly mounted drives will fit into the grid created and not be covered by the Dock.

Not the solution you were looking for, I know, but it might be a workaround.

  • The thread you referenced was started nine years ago and hasn't been updated since 2007. I hope something has changed since then! Anyway, thanks for your suggested workarounds.
    – Kaypro II
    Sep 12, 2011 at 6:28
  • I have been looking around and haven't found any other solutions. :(
    – GreenKiwi
    Sep 28, 2011 at 17:32
  • @DanielLawson do you know if the situation has changed in Mavericks?
    – codecowboy
    Jun 30, 2014 at 9:49
  • 1
    I've been playing with this lately in Mavericks, and I've found that launchpad also opens on whatever screen the dock is on. I'm a right-docker who would prefer to have an external display to the right of the internal display, but have both the dock and launchpad on the internal display. I haven't been able to make it happen, so I'm going to become a left-displayer because obviously left-dockers are complete lunatics ;) Dec 11, 2015 at 19:25

This question is old but here's how I solved this problem. I have a three monitor and so if I placed the dock right or left it went way too far afield of my main monitor.

A simple but kind-of-clever solution: go to Settings->Display->Arrangement and place your left monitor ABOVE your middle monitor on the virtual arrangement. Now if you choose left side for your dock it stays on the left of the middle monitor.

The only weirdness is that you have to remember to move the mouse "up" to get to the left monitor and "down" to get back to the middle. I find this to be very easy to do... it feels a little awkward for at most five minutes or so.. then it works fine.

I just started doing this so I'm not a 100% sure I'm not going to run into a surprising weirdness, but I can't think of what that would be...

  • In my opinion thats just not practical - moving the mouse up instead of left is just weird Nov 23, 2017 at 7:54
  • In practice, it's weird for maybe a half-day at most. Then it's second nature. It reminded me of the weird feeling of switching keyboards where the function and auxiliary are in a different spot. A quick relatively painless learning phase and then it's second nature. Dec 17, 2017 at 5:17

Hold shift while clicking+dragging the resize divider. It will allow you to reposition the dock, including to a different monitor. Though does not allow to place the Dock on a Edge to another Monitor.


It's not currently possible to place the dock on a screen edge that borders another screen.

One solution for you might be to use the keyboard shortcut Opt + Cmd + D to show and hide the Dock as needed? When it is hidden, you can still mouse over to it and it will appear without needing to use a shortcut.


The Dock need not conflict with items on Desktop

Here with OS X 10.7.4, when I reposition the Dock – from bottom to right:

  • icons of disks and other icons rearrange themselves on the desktop; no conflict.

Snow Leopard was less tidy. You should find no problem with Lion.


Present the menu bar on multiple displays

An answer to Dual monitors and OS X Lion : get menubar and app switcher on both displays suggests:


This will be acceptable only if you are happy to use the menu bar on the display to the left.


Please consider this a radical alternative. Would you consider NOT using the Dock, and instead, using LaunchPad and/or Mission Control? No wasted real estate, and with a newer MBP, very easy to invoke.


As of July 2016, OS X El Capitan 10.11.5, Menu bar can appear on all screens.

For Dock, you can move it to,

  1. left - appears on the leftmost screen Visual illustration: [| ][ ] where, [ ] = screen | = Dock

  2. right - appears on the rightmost screen or at the bottom. Visual illustration: [ ][ |] where, [ ] = screen | = Dock

  3. bottom - appears on both screens. If not visible on the screen you are working on, hover mouse to bottom of screen and it should appear. Visual illustration: [ __ ][ ] OR [ ][ __ ] where, [ ] = screen | = Dock

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