How to Fix Mac Dock getting Stuck?

\The Dock on your Macbook is a convenient place to put applications and features from where you can easily access them without any hassle. The Dock is designed to show up to three recently used applications that aren’t already on the Dock and a Download folder.

Mac Dock getting Stuck

Mac’s Dock is one of its distinguishing features if compared with Window’s Task bar. Despite the popularity and usefulness, we experienced several cases where the Dock was getting stuck either periodically or indefinitely. In this article, we will go through all the reasons as to why this might occur on your computer and what the possible workarounds are to fix it.

What causes the Dock to get Stuck on a Macbook?

After doing our research, we saw that Apple hasn’t given any official response on the issue. We combined the user reports of the issue and after conducting our own research, we came to the conclusion that the issue occurs due to several different reasons:

  • Dock in error state: This was one of the most common reasons as to why this issue occurred. Resetting the Dock entirely usually fixes the problem instantly.
  • Corrupt Dock preferences: Even though this rare, there are several instances where the preferences of the Dock itself are corrupt somehow and are causing issues. Resetting the preferences here fixes the problem.
  • Third-party applications: If you have third-party applications running on your Mac which are not updated for quite a while, it is possible that they are not compatible with your OS version and hence, are causing issues.
  • Dock not hiding bug: Another notorious bug which is present in Apple devices is where the Dock doesn’t hide when applications are opened in full screen. There is a workaround which fixes the issue instantly.
  • NVRAM: Even though Apple has documented this in their official documents as a potential fix for many software related issues, users usually disregard this. Resetting the NVRAM fixed the problem in numerous instances.
  • Dock magnification: Another instance where users experienced the issue was where their dock was set to magnify whenever the user brought his mouse over it. This feature is known to sometimes cause various bugs and issues. Disabling the magnification might solve the issue at hand.

Before we start with the solutions, make sure that you have an active internet connection on your computer and are logged in as an administrator. Also, save all your work beforehand as we will be restarting your computer again and again.

Solution 1: Restarting Dock

We will be restarting the Dock as our first step in the troubleshooting process. There are several instances where the Dock goes into error states either because of bad configurations or just because of system errors. Here, we will kill the process of Dock. When Mac notices that the process has turned off, it will start it automatically.

  1. Open the Terminal on your macOS and type the following command:
    killall dock – Mac
killall Dock
  1. Now press Enter to execute the command. The Dock will restart automatically by itself.
  2. Now check if the issue still persists.

Note: Another workaround to achieve the same task is to restart your computer entirely. This takes more time as compared to the method just written.

Solution 2: Resetting Dock to Default Settings

If this doesn’t work and the Dock is still somehow stuck and not usable, we can try resetting the Dock settings completely. This will remove any preferences which you ever set and the default settings will be applied.

In some cases, the preferences set for Dock somehow clash with the system display settings which in turn causes it to misbehave by not responding or getting stuck. This solution will address all these issues instantly.

  1. Open the Terminal on your macOS and type the following command:
    Resetting Dock to Default Settings
defaults delete; killall Dock
  1. Now, press Enter. For a moment, the Dock will disappear and after a few seconds, it will re-populate with all the default values.
  2. Check if the issue is resolved the Dock doesn’t get stuck anymore

Solution 3: Checking for Outdated Third-party Applications

Another instance where the Dock seems to get stuck is where it is loading third-party applications. Normally, macOS supports all type of third-party applications but if these applications are not updated to the latest macOS version compatibility, you might experience several issues with it including the Dock getting stuck when it is visible on it.

Even though macOS provides backward compatibility, there are numerous instances where this might not work as expected. Hence, it is recommended that you check whether there are any third-party applications running in the background. If there are, uninstall them and check the Dock again.

Solution 4: Disabling Dock Magnification

Dock magnification is a feature on macOS where the items on your Dock get magnified whenever you hover your mouse over them. This is known to be a very nifty feature in macBooks but is also known to cause several issues including the Dock getting stuck.

Here, what we will do is navigate to the Dock settings and disable the option. If it was causing the trouble, the issue will be fixed.

  1. Click on the Apple icon present at the top-left side of the screen and select System preferences.
  2. Now, select the sub-category of Dock.
  3. Once the options come forward, uncheck the option of Magnification.
    Disabling Dock Magnification
  4. Save changes and exit. Restart your computer and see if the issue is resolved.

Solution 5: Changing the Position of Dock

Another thing to try before we move on to more technical solutions is changing the position of the Dock on your computer. We came across several instances where the to get out of a stuck issue or the Dock freezing and displaying even on full-screen, all you need to do is change the position from the bottom to the side. You can then the location back and see if the issue is resolved.

  1. Press Command + Space, type Dock and then press Enter.
  2. Now, alter the Dock to be on the left/right side of the screen.
    Changing the Position of Dock
  3. Close the settings and exit. Now enter them again and place the Dock back to the default location. See if the issue is resolved.

Solution 6: Power cycling your Computer

Another thing which you should initially try is power cycling your computer completely. Power cycling is the act of shutting down your computer and all modules and disconnecting all devices. This act will ensure that all temporary configurations are removed forcefully from the computer and fix any issues if the ‘not responding’ problem was due to the corruption or incomplete. Make sure that you have completely saved your work before proceeding.

  1. Log out of your profile and then shut down the Mac computer.
  2. Now, make sure that you disconnect the power cable and wait for around 4-5 minutes before proceeding. Also, disconnect all peripherals from the computer
  3. Press and hold the power button so the computer turns on. Wait patiently and then log into your computer. Now try launching the Finder and check if the issue is resolved.

Solution 7: Resetting PRAM or NVRAM

NVRAM (also known as Non-Volatile Random-Access Memory) is a small block of memory which is used by your Mac computer to store specific settings so it can access them later on. PRAM (Parameter RAM) is basically the same thing and both memories can be reset using the same method. All your configurations are stored here and if there is any issue in them (they are corrupt or incomplete), we can try resetting so all everything is set to default.

Note: In some cases, some temporary or customizable configurations will be lost so make sure you know how to revert them. Save all your work before proceeding.

  1. Shut down your Mac computer. Now when you turn it back on, you need to press the following keys at once together:
    Resetting PRAM or NVRAM
option (alt) + command + P + R
  1. Wait for around 20-30 seconds before releasing all the keys. During this time, your Mac will appear to start. Now there are two scenarios where you have to release the keys:

In some Mac computers, you will hear a startup sound the second time (the first time will come when you just opened your Mac before pressing the keys). When you hear the second startup sound, release the keys.

In other Mac computers where there is Apple T2 Security Chip, you can release the keys after the Apple Logo appears and disappears the second time.

  1. After the computer starts up, you can navigate to your settings and see if it was of any good.

Solution 8: Resetting Mac to Factory Settings

If all the above methods don’t work out, it probably means there are some issues with the internal files/folders which we cannot access and restore the Mac to factory settings is the only way to get the Finder back up and running again. Here, it is recommended that you save all your files and folders beforehand as they will get erased when we clear your storage. Only you are done with the backup and saving of configuration files of applications on the cloud, should you only proceed.

  1. First, you have to restart in Recovery Just restart your Mac and when the computer powers back on, press and hold the Command + R keys until the Apple logo is visible.
  2. When the option comes, click on Disk Utility. Now, you have to select the startup disk (the disk where Mac is installed). Click on Erase. Also, choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as the format when asked.
  3. Now, you can exit the Disk utility. Now from the same menu, click on Reinstall macOS. This will start the reinstallation process. Follow the steps below and by the time you are done, the finder will hopefully be working.

Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.