I find those black little dots under the applications are annoying, like this: enter image description here

In fact, in the figure above, I have no Word docs open. In the case that I thought maybe I was working on something (which happens a lot), I will click the Word icon to find out which doc I was reading. However, it opens a new blank Word, which I find annoying.

The extreme way of disabling all the dots is not a good idea. I need to be aware of which apps I am working on.

One reason that I like (Mac)Vim very much because it gives an option like this:

enter image description here

But not all apps give this option, it seems.

So, I am wondering if there is any solution for these annoying dots.

After some search, I found this, which was in 2012. So no updates?

Edited: By the way, I don't like +Q to close the app directly, because it may close other running windows/tabs accidentally.

  • 1
    From the 2012 link you reference, the app developer needs to deliberately add this feature into the design of the app. Most app developers have chosen not to enable this function, as you have found, much to your disappointment.
    – IconDaemon
    Dec 14, 2019 at 13:33
  • "if there is any solution for this." Could you clarify what is "this" here? I think, you can write a script which will check all apps' windows and will quit if there are none, But there might be something else you want?
    – anki
    Dec 14, 2019 at 13:33
  • @ankii Yes, if there is a simple script that can force the app to quit after all its windows are closed, that would be great! Or something else would also be helpful.
    – LI Xuhong
    Dec 14, 2019 at 14:47
  • 1
    Fwiw, this is a decades-old Mac UI guideline. If an app only has a single window, it quits when you close that window. If it's an app that allows multiple documents to be open at the same time, the app keeps running when you close the last window, because you might want to open another one. If you really want to Quit an app, the Mac way is just use the Quit function rather than closing its windows.
    – calum_b
    Dec 14, 2019 at 22:07
  • The apps you have running are available from the command tab switcher, changing how you use the dock and use apps. Many apps do important things when running and no document is open, so this doesn't really align with the design of macOS - but everyone does get their preference and workflow - so I'm not telling you you're wrong - just to consider the items in my answer before assuming dots are as useful in general as you may think.
    – bmike
    Jan 7 at 1:50

3 Answers 3


Here's an incomplete solution: Use Script Editor app, and in its preferences, get its icon visible in the Menu bar. Write a script that checks all the apps' open windows and closes them if there is none, neither minimised or hidden or in full screen or split. Whitelist some apps, like Spotify. Put the script in /Library/Scripts/ so that it is accessible directly under this menu. Use this periodically yourself when you feel to do so. If you use it rarely, better discard it.

enter image description here

In addition to that, keep these preferences as suggested:

  • In System Preferences → Mission Control, Tick "When switching to an app, switch to a space with open windows for the application"

  • In General, untick "Close windows when quitting an app" to prevent accidental losses.

  • In every app you come across, tick "ask before quitting". In "General", Tick "Ask to keep changes when closing documents"

Now gimme the script!!

Search the site for such questions, put together a script, ask a new question/ update this.

  • I am sorry if I am not following but I don't understand the last part of your answer, which said this at the time I am asking "Now gimme the script!! Search the site for such questions, put together a script, ask a new question/ update this."
    – FoxDeploy
    Feb 15, 2023 at 15:57
  • I didn't provide the script. So poster should've given a rudimentary attempt in a new question by searching this site for script questions
    – anki
    Feb 16, 2023 at 17:18

For anyone in 2024, simplest utility for this is SwiftQuit

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    – Community Bot
    Jan 7 at 0:02

Since the dots don't map to applications running anymore with Automatic Termination and Sudden Termination - I recommend disabling them entirely if they annoy you.

Open System Settings, search for or select Dock:

Show indicators for open applications

Sudden termination is recommended by Apple and most energy efficient apps will already enable this and Automatic Termination.

macOS 10.6 and later includes a mechanism that allows the system to log out or shut down more quickly ...

Your application can enable this capability on a global basis and then manually override its availability during actions that could cause data corruption or a poor user experience by allowing sudden termination

You can have the app "running" and a dot, but all threads are terminated and it's as idle as if it were quit manually. You can also have threads running and no dot. I would focus on managing performance if you need, but not relying on the dots anymore.

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