As you all know, Dock icons can be removed by simply clicking them and dragging them out of the Dock. As soon as the “poof” animation appears, you can release the mouse button to remove the icon.

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It seems like in Mountain Lion there is a bit of a delay plus a minimum distance required between when you start dragging and when the “poof” animation appears, i.e. when you can release the mouse button to remove the icon. If you release the mouse button before the “poof” animation appears, the icon won’t be deleted from the Dock. If you don’t drag the icon far enough away from the Dock, the “poof” animation won’t appear at all, and again the icon won’t be deleted from the Dock when you release the mouse button.

Is there a hidden setting (defaults write-style) or some other way to disable this delay and/or minimum distance setting?

  • 2
    Honest question: how often do you drag things away from your Dock? Will this really impact your daily computer usage?
    – jtbandes
    Jul 27, 2012 at 5:24
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    @jtbandes It mostly impacts how long it takes me to set up my Mac after a clean OS X install. So no, it doesn’t really impact my daily computer usage — but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to revert to the old behavior. Jul 27, 2012 at 13:16
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    I didn't find anything with gdb, and strings cannot be used with Dock's executable. Even if there was a preference for it, it's unlikely to be discovered unless there's some other ways to search for hidden preferences that have been overlooked.
    – Lri
    Jul 30, 2012 at 12:55
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    I was able to get Dock strings by using strings Dock.app/Contents/MacOS/Dock, but nothing useful there. Also, here's a very comprehensive list of defaults commands: github.com/mathiasbynens/dotfiles/blob/master/.osx but I couldn't find anything related to your question there. Jul 30, 2012 at 18:24
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    @rsanchezsaez Hah, that’s my collection you just linked to :) Jul 31, 2012 at 6:13

1 Answer 1


Even if there was a hidden preference for it, at least I wasn't able to find one. If someone knows other ways to search for hidden preferences, post a reply to How to explore more defaults write tweaks on OS X?.

strings cannot be used with the binaries of a few applications like Dock, Finder, Safari, or Transmit. According to an answer to Why does the Dock executable not yield any useful strings, unlike other OS X apps?, they might be encrypted by Dont Steal Mac OS X.kext.

I didn't find anything with gdb or by running strings on framework binaries either. Others might still give both of those a shot though.

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