As the title clearly describes, the dot icon stays on dock for some apps such as VS Code, Terminal, Safari, and Finder despite I have closed the app. I am using Catalina 10.15.1. I have to manually right click those apps and select Quit in order to remove the dots on the dock.


The presence of a dot below an app icon in Dock indicates that the app is still running.

Clicking on the red 🅧 traffic light button in the app window title bar, doesn't quit every macOS app. The default behavior of a macOS is to not quit upon clicking the button.

Some apps are programmed to quit upon clicking the red 🅧 traffic light button, but most keep running unless you explicitly quit them by running the App Name → Quit App Name command in the menu bar, or using the keyboard shortcut Command + Q, or right clicking on the app icon in the Dock and selecting Quit.

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  • Thanks for your comment, Command + Q did exactly what I need. – talha06 Nov 29 '19 at 20:39

This can happen by design - even if you have a document based app and quit the app or the system quits the app for you. Yes, sometimes people close an app window thinking it quits the app, but there’s no harm in letting the app run with no windows on modern macOS like Catalina.

It’s possible to have an app running without threads (the dot you report) and the opposite - app not running (no dot) but threads running.

This is due to sudden app termination, launchd and the changes from iOS around energy savings.

I would ignore the dots and just focus on system performance when you find you have an issue.

If you want to learn more about modern application life cycle and why the view controller exists separate from the app delegate and how sudden termination and automatic termination and saved application state all bring about this decoupling of the app from the dock from the windows being visible, start here:

Start towards the middle where it says “ The App Life Cycle “ where it lists the times the app can save data and pause/resume without you quitting the app officially.

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  • Thanks for your comment, much appreciated. But since it is still possible to close apps through the right click and selecting Quit, I think it'd be better if the same action is being performed. – talha06 Nov 29 '19 at 20:35

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