I just downloaded an update to an application as a zip file, so I extracted the file in the Downloads folder.

I now have the old version of Foobar.app located in the Applications folder and the new version Foobar.app located in the Downloads folder.

I would then like to replace the old version with the new version by dragging the new version from the Downloads folder to the Applications folder via the Dock.

This doesn't work if the app has the same filename, so I have to either first delete the old version using Finder or just move the new app to the Applications folder using Finder.

Edit: This isn't only a problem with Applications/Downloads folder, but any two folders in the Dock. Also it doesn't matter if it is an application, a folder or a file.

Is it possible to make it possible to replace an application using Drag'n'Drop in the Dock?

Here is a recording of it: enter image description here

  • How does it not work?
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 14:32
  • Nothing happens, no confirmation prompts, app isn't replaced with the new one and the new one is still in the Downloads folder.
    – Tyilo
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 14:33

2 Answers 2


It appears as though the folders on the doc are actually just an alias. If you create two folders, say in this case TEST1 and TEST2 on your desktop (could also be an alternate location). Then drag said folders to dock. Upon doing so delete either folder from the desktop. When you then click on the folders in the dock you will see a question mark superimposed on the deleted folder. This leads me to believe that these are not true folders but an alias for said folders and behave as such when they are in the dock. If you move a file between your two test folders on the desktop you will get the overwrite prompt as expected.

enter image description here

  • But the strange thing is that it works if the file doesn't exist in the new directory!
    – Tyilo
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 17:59
  • Not sure I understand this comment? I would think it would work as an alias or actual file does not exist in the destination alias folder in the dock. Since there is no file, a alternate alias version of file would not be created. Please correct me if I'm not understanding you correclty.
    – Mort
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 19:13

No. Icons in the Dock are not contents of the app.

  • I don't have the application in the dock, I have the Downloads folder and the Applications folder in the right side of the Dock.
    – Tyilo
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 12:27
  • Is there any prompt for Replace when you drag the application into the Application folder in the dock? You may need to drag and hold the icon onto the Application folder for a while until finder opens the Application folder.
    – neo
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 13:32
  • So I can't do it with just the Dock, without invoking Finder? I can it do it without Finder, if the application doesn't exist. And no, I don't get the prompt.
    – Tyilo
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 13:36
  • The icons in the dock on the right share the same behaviour with alias.
    – neo
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 14:26

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