How to Add a Recent or Favorite Items Stack to Your Mac's Dock

by

Continuing our recent how-to focus on customizing the macOS Dock, in this article we're going to share with you a method for adding a recent or favorite items stack to the right of the Dock divider.


Most users are aware that you can drag any folder into the right-hand side of the Dock to turn it into a stack, but the following lesser-known trick creates a unique stack type containing your most recently opened applications, documents, or servers.

Alternatively, you can also set this unique type of stack to show the Favorite folder locations and Device links that appear in your Finder's sidebar.


Unfortunately, you can't use stacks if you have the Dock set up to show only actively running apps. With that caveat in mind, simply follow the steps below to create the stack type that best suits your workflow. Just bear in mind that Terminal is a powerful app, so make sure you enter the commands properly, especially if you're not familiar with it.

How to Create a Recent or Favorite Items Stack

  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. Copy the following command text and paste it into Terminal at the prompt, then press Enter: defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-others -array-add '{"tile-data" = {"list-type" = 1;}; "tile-type" = "recents-tile";}'; killall Dock

  3. Repeat the command (hit the up arrow and press Enter) to create additional recent or favorite stacks in the Dock as required.

  4. To choose whether a new stack contains certain types of favorite items or recent items, right-click (or Ctrl-click) the stack and select one of the options in the pop-up menu.

  5. To change the default Grid view, right-click (or Ctrl-click) the stack and select one of the other options under View content as in the pop-up menu.

Note that you can change the number of items shown in a recent items stack in the following way: Click the Apple () logo in the menu bar, select System Preferences..., open the General preference pane, and choose another number from the Recent items dropdown menu.


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

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
13 months ago
I upgraded my iMac to macOS 10.15 Catalina, and my recently used apps Stacks on the Dock was removed. Failed to add it back using the terminal command.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
32 months ago

[doublepost=1522662568][/doublepost]Alternately, especially if your not a geek, you can download the 'Onyx', a free app from such sites as MacUpdate and just click a box that is listed under the 'Parameters' heading and the sub-heading 'Dock. It also allows you to put the folder on the left side. I also believe 'Tinker Tool' which is a free subset APP of 'Onyx' and just contains the 'Parameters' tool.

Best to use as few apps as possible.

Thanks for the tip, Macrumors. I find that choosing 'recent servers' shows duplicates. I wonder if there's a way to prevent that.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
12 months ago


I upgraded my iMac to macOS 10.15 Catalina, and my recently used apps Stacks on the Dock was removed. Failed to add it back using the terminal command.

Same with my MBP. Sadly.

Anyone have a work around? Over the years I've really become used to having a stack with my recent docs. Would love a way to get it back.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Here's How You Can Download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Around the World [It's Out]

Wednesday September 16, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Apple's official public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 dropped on Wednesday, September 16, just a day after the company released the Golden Master to third-party developers. Also set to be made available to the general public for the first time are watchOS 7 and tvOS 14. Getting Started With iOS 14 Video Click image to watch iOS 14 Getting Started While that's left a lot of developers...

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...

Apple Releases iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 With Home Screen Redesign, App Library, Compact UI, Translate App, Scribble Support, App Clips, and More

Wednesday September 16, 2020 12:48 pm PDT by
Apple has released iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the newest operating system updates designed for the iPhone and iPad. As with all of Apple's software updates, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 can be downloaded for free. iOS 14 is available on the iPhone 6s and later, while iPadOS 14 is available on the iPad Air 2 and later. The updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To ...

Apple Releases Safari 14 for Mac Ahead of macOS Big Sur Launch

Wednesday September 16, 2020 1:40 pm PDT by
macOS Big Sur didn't launch alongside iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7 today, with the update coming later this fall, but Apple did release the Safari 14 update for macOS Catalina and macOS Mojave users. Safari 14 brings improved performance, customizable start pages, a Privacy Report to see which cross-site trackers are being blocked, and a new tab bar design that provides tab...

Apple Updates AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro Firmware to Version 3A283

Monday September 14, 2020 11:24 am PDT by
Apple today released new 3A283 firmware updates for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods are being updated from the 2D15 firmware they were previously running, while the AirPods Pros are being updated from the 2D27 firmware they had installed previously. Apple does not provide details on what's included in refreshed firmware so we don't know what's ...

iOS 14 Picture in Picture No Longer Working With YouTube's Mobile Website in Safari [Without Premium]

Friday September 18, 2020 12:21 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 14 added Picture in Picture to the iPhone, a feature designed to let you watch a video in a small screen on your device while you continue to do other things on the phone. When Picture in Picture was working with YouTube The YouTube app doesn't support Picture in Picture, but up until yesterday there was a functional workaround that allowed videos from YouTube.com to be watched...

Hands-On With the New Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE

Friday September 18, 2020 1:19 pm PDT by
Today's the official launch date for the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE, both of which Apple announced on Tuesday. We picked up a couple of the new models and thought we'd give them a quick look for MacRumors readers thinking of ordering a new watch. Apple Watch Series 6 & Apple Watch SE Hands-On! When it comes to design, both the $399 Series 6 and the $279 SE look just like...

iOS 14.2 Beta Adds New Shazam Music Recognition Feature for Control Center

Thursday September 17, 2020 3:36 pm PDT by
Apple today released the first beta of iOS 14.2 to developers for testing purposes, and the new update introduces a Music Recognition control for the Control Center. The new feature lets you discover music playing around you and it recognizes the music playing with in apps, even when you're wearing AirPods. Songs pop up as notifications, and you can tap to listen in Apple Music....

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

Apple Releases watchOS 7 With New Watch Faces, Family Setup, Sleep Tracking, Handwashing Help and More

Wednesday September 16, 2020 12:47 pm PDT by
Apple today released watchOS 7, the newest version of the watchOS operating system designed to run on modern Apple Watch models. The watchOS 7 update comes after several months of beta testing. ‌watchOS 7‌ can be downloaded for free through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General > Software Update. To install the new software, the Apple Watch needs to have at...