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By default MacOS has Show recent applications in Dock enabled. But the Dock only shows the three most recent applications. How can I make the Dock show more than three?

Dock showing the three most recently executed applications

Note: I know that if you have more than three applications open it shows all of them. I am interested in showing more than three even if they are not currently running.

Also note: I am not talking about the setting System Preferences > General > drop down box for Recent items, which is 10 by default and has little to do with the Dock (so this question is not a duplicate of How to increase the number of applications shown in the Recent Applications stack on the Dock)

Bonus: ideally I would like to configure this from the command line rather than the GUI.

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  • Wasn't there a 3rd party app that allowed one to change this setting?
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 15 at 10:43
  • Any particular reason why this feature is needed? Jan 15 at 12:14
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    @AivarPaalberg 1) Rather than manually updating what programs I want pinned to the Dock, I want it to dynamically adapt to what I actually use. If I had to choose, I'd have 100% of the dock be dynamic rather than static. 2) It is useful to have a reminder of what I was doing, if I get back from a distraction. 3) Obviously Apple thought it might be useful, since they built the feature, they just chose to limit it to the arbitrary number three. Jan 15 at 12:40
  • Maybe I am wrong but it seems to me that in title you are asking for one thing and in body for another. Recent Items (  > Recent Items) is very close what you describe but this is not in Dock. It shows 10 recent applications (or whatever number you set) regardless whether they are open or not (also displays recent Documents and Servers). Sorting is however by alphabet not by recency. Setting up Smart Folder in Dock should deliver results as well. Jan 16 at 7:07
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    @Klas Mellbourn is it so that  > Recent Items is what you want? There is no need to click: ⌃F2 -> ↓ -> R -> → (focus on menu bar -> go into Apple menu -> go to Recent Items -> open submenu where 10 recent applications, documents and servers are displayed). Total of 5 keypresses which unfortunately does not qualify this as 'immediately visible' Jan 19 at 9:19
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No need to buy a 3rd party app. You can do ist easily yourself in Finder:

Steps 1 and 2 to here, make a Search. Don´t forget to mark "this Mac": enter image description here

Step 3 save the Search: enter image description here

Look at this Result enter image description here

Step 4.1 A few Explanations. Right clicking the new item in the sidebar leads to the containing folder! enter image description here

This is the file which represents the search. enter image description here

And is finally your new search sitting in the dock: enter image description here

Settings in the Dock:

enter image description here

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