How to Group Mac App Icons More Prominently in Your Dock

In macOS, the Dock provides convenient one-click access to your most frequently used Mac applications. The simplest way to organize docked apps is to click and drag them into your preferred place, but here we're going to show you a lesser-known trick for arranging docked items more clearly.


To relate certain types of apps and add an extra visual clue to their location in the Dock, try inserting some spaces. Using this method, you could separate out other apps from, say, conversion tools that you frequently drag and drop files onto. Keep reading to learn how it's done.

How to Insert Spaces into the macOS Dock


  1. Launch the Terminal app found in Applications/Utilities. (To quickly open the Utilities folder in Finder, select Go -> Utilities from the menu bar, or use the key shortcut Shift-Command-U.)
  2. At the Terminal prompt, type the following command and press Enter: defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-apps -array-add '{"tile-type"="spacer-tile";}'; killall Dock

  3. Your Dock will reboot with a single space added to it. Click and drag the space to your desired location, just like a regular app icon.

  4. Repeat the Terminal command above to insert additional spaces and arrange them in your Dock to suit.

To remove a space from your Dock simply right-click (or Ctrl-click) it and select Remove from Dock. Alternatively, click and drag the space out of the Dock then let go of the mouse button to delete it.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra


Top Rated Comments

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18 weeks ago
To insert a small spacer, you specify "tile-type"="small-spacer-tile" (found on Ask Different ('https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/273540/654')).

An example with both widths:


To add them to the documents side instead of the apps side, use the key persistent-others instead of persistent-apps (found on Lifewire ('https://www.lifewire.com/add-custom-and-standard-doc-spacers-to-mac-2260861')).

Rating: 24 Votes
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18 weeks ago
Great tip, didn’t know this. Big fan of these articles too. Thanks!
Rating: 8 Votes
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18 weeks ago
Dynamic spacer:

defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-apps -array-add '{"tile-type"="flex-spacer-tile";}'
Rating: 6 Votes
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18 weeks ago
My problem with these separators is, that they take to much space (like a whole width of an icon).
Rating: 6 Votes
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18 weeks ago
Too bad I can't do this with my office cube neighbor :D
Rating: 4 Votes
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18 weeks ago

I like this. Is there a way to group the icons together in a Stack, like the folders can do?


It's not as fancy, but I put aliases to grouped applications in a folder, then put those folders in the dock.
Rating: 3 Votes
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18 weeks ago

Is there a list of all the defaults controlled by this “defaults write” command? I’ve seen this used all the time to set OS-specific values but it seems the available commands are passed down by word of mouth bs a PDF with the possibilities listed.



I suggest you try : "defaults read >> defaultsContent.txt" instead and open the resulting file in a text editor (defaults read, will give you a really long list in the console, I advise you not to use it this way)

For more details : "man defaults" in the console, has you covered
Rating: 2 Votes
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18 weeks ago
Is there a list of all the defaults controlled by this “defaults write” command? I’ve seen this used all the time to set OS-specific values but it seems the available commands are passed down by word of mouth bs a PDF with the possibilities listed.
Rating: 2 Votes
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18 weeks ago
Is it possible to insert additional lines as separators? Much like the line which currently separates my dock apps with downloads and actively running apps? That would save a lot of space compared to using empty spaces.
Rating: 2 Votes
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18 weeks ago
I'm aroused
Rating: 2 Votes
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