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I like to have many programs running and move around things as needed, but I hate keeping anything permanently in the Dock. As of now, I have to manually uncheck Keep in Dock every time I move an app icon and it's really annoying. I don't want to do that anymore. How do I disable that feature?

This has nothing to with "Most recent apps" as that's already turned off.

Also, this question has been asked before, but everything I've found is 3+ years old and no one has an actual solution. I'm really, really hoping that in the few years since then Apple added some basic customization.

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This is the expected behaviour and has remained the same since the days of Mac OS X 10.10. There is no way to prevent it from happening.

It still stands true, as of this writing, with the current latest version being macOS Mojave 10.14.5.

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Intrepid users could run a background script that watches com.apple.dock.plist for changes, then removes apps that have been added to the persistent-apps key when it finds them.

You could, for example, use entr and the built-in macOS tools to accomplish this:

echo ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.dock.plist |\
  entr -s 'defaults delete com.apple.dock persistent-apps && killall Dock'

Or even more simply, add defaults delete com.apple.dock persistent-apps && killall Dock to your user's crontab.

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Just disable this parameter in system settings/desktop&dock

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  • Why is this downvoted please? This is the fix to the question posed. If disabled any app that is open and quit will disappear from the dock unless the user keeps it in the dock through the contextual menu. Commented Jan 12, 2023 at 10:15

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