Mac Users: Where Should You Put Your Dock?

Mac Users: Where Should You Put Your Dock?
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Mac users, hello! Let’s argue about which side of your screen is best for your dock. (PC users, please ignore this piece and don’t make fun of us.)

General consensus is that only filthy casuals leave the dock on the bottom, where it eats up too much precious vertical real estate. In a Reddit thread about dock placement, the top commenter, a bottom-pinner, literally asks for forgiveness. Bottom dock users point out that with auto-hide, real estate isn’t an issue. And who needs the dock when you can launch your apps with Spotlight?

Apple historian Stephen Hackett prefers the right side, next to the bit of the desktop where OS X automatically new files. He calls bottom docks “a waste of precious vertical space”, and finds auto-hide disorienting. He nudges his dock down to the lower-right corner for more space.

iDownloadBlog writer Jeff Benjamin created a six-minute video to argue for the left side. It boils down to three points, in decreasing order of sense:

  1. Vertical real estate is precious, yadda yadda.
  2. Most people are right-handed, so their hand favours the right side of the trackpad, so a left-side dock doesn’t get in the way.
  3. English speakers read left-to-right, so putting the dock on the left is like putting it at the “start”.

I present Benjamin’s full video below, to pad out my post and make it look visually interesting:

AppAdvice blogger Daniel Celeste defends the bottom dock, pointing out that if you tile multiple windows across your desktop, horizontal space can be more precious. And if you’re juggling multiple screens, only a bottom dock will show up on all of them.

One of these bloggers is right. Two of them are wrong. The choice is yours.


  • PC users should definitely relocate taskbar to the left side since they tend to have even less vertical space. Unless you’re on Surface. As for the rest of them, I have tried putting Dock on the right and it felt weird even though close to desk icons. Maybe it was the bobbing effect but even with that turned off, there are bouncing icons – still weird so Left it was, too.

  • Nik, I think it’s hilarious that us Mac users are still invested in this argument and am glad bloggers like you are continuing the conversation. As an update since my AppAdvice article from 2015, I have had my dock on the left side for nearly a year now! What changed for me was the split screen functionality introduced in macOS/OS X El Capitan (10.11), which means I rarely use windows side by side anymore and I tend to use one display at a time. So bottom-docking wins at the moment. 🙂

  • As a Windows user, I have dual-monitors and I put my taskbar on the left AND right, in the middle of the join between the two monitors. For a single monitor I prefer it on the left (I think it’s the left-to-right bias mentioned in the article.
    I also have a third monitor hooked up to a mac for occasional iOS development and it has its dock on the left (meaning the leftmost monitor is the only one with its taskbar/dock on the right).
    Ultimately it’s about what’s comfortable for you and your setup. But I do agree that with widescreens these days vertical real-estate is precious and people need to try putting their taskbar/dock on the left or right. It’s odd at first, but you get used to it quickly and I feel like it’s better than at the bottom of the screen

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