OS X Mavericks: How to Move the Dock to a Second Display

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OS X Mavericks is very good at handling multiple displays. Any active display can have a Menu Bar now. But how do you get the dock to actually appear on the active display? Here's how to do it.

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In Mavericks, any display can be the active display. You can tell which one is active by looking at the Menu Bar at the top. The active display will be crisp and white while non-active displays will have a Menu Bar that's dimmed and translucent.

My second display, made active but no dock.

One might expect that by clicking in a secondary display, the dock would jump over there. But it doesn't.

To bring the dock over to a different display:

  1. If you've clicked on a display to make it active, note how the Menu Bar brightens. But you don't need to.
  2. Without clicking the mouse again, move the cursor all the way down to the bottom of the screen. This is the same technique as if you had invoked System Preferences > Dock > "Automatically hide and show the Dock."
  3. When the cursor touches the bottom, the Dock will rise up from the bottom and stay there on the selected display. (If you had previously enabled "Automatically hide and show the Dock," it will disappear as you move the mouse upwards, but remain tied to that display.)
  4. To move the Dock back to the main display (or any other display), repeat the process starting with Step #1.

Active (second) display after sliding the cursor to the bottom. The Dock rises!

Discussion

My theory is that the dock doesn't jump between screens when you make a new one active because it may not need to. There doesn't seem to be any point in this kind of abrupt, possibly dizzying animation, especially without the user's consent.

Also, this movement of the Dock isn't really a Preference. It's more of a dynamic user action, a Finder gesture if you will. I believe that's why there's no reference to this gesture in System Preferences - which is where one might be tempted to look.

Finally, if you're one of those people who puts the dock, vertically, on the left side of your main display and the second display is logically to the left, the cursor will just slide to the second screen, as it should. As with this case, there may be other combinations that don't work as expected.

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21 Comments Leave Your Own

Richard Smith

Step one not required, especially if you treat it like the dock in full screen mode, where all you have to do is attempt to bring the cursor down further. I have had the Developer Preview, and have never needed to click first.

John Martellaro

Reader Smith is correct.  What was I thinking?  I adjusted the steps.

ilikeimac

I like the option of having menu bars in more places, and being able to move the dock, but have they really complicated things such that there’s now an “active display”? I’m used to the concept of a “primary display” being the one with the menu bar, but besides that, displays are all just part of one desktop. Does this “active display” concept dictate where full-screen apps appear?

JonGl

I have another scenario where this doesn’t work. On my home setup, I have my displays stacked on top of each other (MBP 13 below my larger screen) with my dock on the left, but it doesn’t matter where I move the dock, it doesn’t change screens regardless of what I do. Bummer. I’ll have to try this at work to see if it works with my side-by-side arrangement.

Wolfgang Loss-Wells

The mechanism takes some getting used to.

I hope they provide some way to adjust the sensitivity of the dock showing on/moving to an alternate display . I find the default to be irritatingly slow… Given that I use the auto-hide dock function, I kind of just expect the dock to appear as I slightly touch the bottom of the display.

The new implementation requires a much more deliberate scroll past the bottom of the screen.

In my opinion it could use a bit of adjustment.

Rubens

I am frustrated with Dock on second display. I was waiting for Dock view in both displays simultaneously. Also, I was wondering apps running on correspondent display from clicking on icon app on each Dock. May be I was waiting a lot…

davidg2020

It seems to me that Apple’s new multiple display handling is inconsistent.
Prior to Mavericks multiple displays were treated as a tiled display.
Mavericks treats multiple displays as physically separate screens (though you do have the option to over-ride it)... except for the dock where, regardless of your settings, it treats multiple displays as a single tiled display.
If you set your dock to appear on the left it will only display on the left side of the left screen. Likewise if you set it to appear on the right it goes to the right side of the right screen.
There doesn’t appear to be any way to get the dock to appear on the left side of the right screen (or the right side of the left screen), hence my comment that, as far as the dock is concerned, mutliple displays are always tiled. 

Thomas Jespersen

Is there a way to disable this?

I’m running Windows 8.1 in Parallels (Full screen) on my secondary display. It’s rather annoying that when I try to do something in the Windows taskbar, the OS X task bare moves on top.

AZ Social Media Wiz

Thank you! I didn’t have the auto hide checked and it was driving me crazy trying to get the dock back to the main screen. I had to unplug the 2nd monitor! And of course, I couldn’t a preference setting anywhere nor any help on the Apple site. Thanks again!

Lucas De Paula Lima

Bullshit. Just move the cursor all the way down to the bottom of the screen twice and your dock will show up.

krush666

I personally do not like this feature when i move my mouse at the bottom of the screen on the second or third screen   dock will suddenly appear, Unfortunately this feature lags even on the latest (2013) iMac with 1 tb ssd.  At least give users an option to disable dock changing to other screens. I mean , ok , i got it , they want to be clever with this feature but, it is just not smooth and sometimes you forget about this and and when you mouse is at the bottom it suddenly appears while you are doing something else and you can start another app by mistake. I would take any day how the mountain lion was handling the multi screens , you were at least able to extend app window to the second one, now with mavericks this is not possible. In mavericks only good feature about multi screens is that you can go full screen with the apps but not with the games , Games will take all the screens as before. So still a bit pointless. It would be good to give users options to choose between mountain lion and maverick multi screen handling choice then , I would appreciate it really, Mavericks is free , so no big deal .

qofe

It’s kinda clunky—not smooth. I no longer have the doc on auto display because when it was it was truly horrible. Hopefully future patches will make it smoother.

Andrew MacDonald

Kinda clunky.. and it seems to get stuck a lot. I’ll be working on my primary display, a monitor connected to my macbook, with a video running full screen on the macbook display and it’s like the dock simply refuses to come over to the main display even though I haven’t performed any action on the macbook display for hours. No matter how fast or deliberately I slam my cursor to the bottom of the screen, no dock on the primary until, all of a sudden, for no reason at all, it pops over. Furthermore, all of my gesture actions like launchpad and swipe get performed on the secondary macbook display even though my cursor and all my work has been on the primary display for a long time. Airplay with extended desktops is just a nightmare. I haven’t had a single interaction with that where I didn’t have to stop the video playing on the airplay connected TV , minimize it, get the application I want from the dock and bring it to the primary display then go back and restart the video EVERY. The menu bar appears on my main display, and the all of my apps and work are there, but the dock insists on showing up on the airplay monitor every time.

Andrew MacDonald

why couldn’t they just leave the dock visible on both screens simultaneously, like the menubar? moving back and forth at all doesn’t make any sense.

DaveJM

I find the means of moving the dock from one monitor to another (which I learned from this thread) to work quite nicely. I use bottom place and auto hide.

The trick is to adjust in your mind where you are scrolling to. If you want the dock to pop up on a monitor to which it is not presently assigned, then you need to think as if you are scrolling down to below the true bottom of the monitor (about 1/3 of the monitor’s height below the true bottom)

It does not require that the monitor be active.

I’m not sure how to get it to work with left or right placement.

Elisa Salmi

I just wanna know how to tell that dock to stay in 1st screen! It sometimes jumps suddenly to 2nd screen and I don’t want it to do that.

It’s visible all the time. Then it just jumps to another screen when I’m doing nothing. No idea why.

Sandra B

Thank you I was so confused when the dock appeared on the different screen and now I know how it works. Thumbs up smile

Rick Gladwin

Thanks so much for this information! This behaviour kept catching me by surprise and I was going into System Preferences > Displays to move the dock back!

Tomáš Josef

Thanks. Tomas

Michael Jardeen

I fraking hate hate hate hate hate this behavior.

I use launcher and it is at the bottom of my second screen which is rotated .

So this randomly moves the dock to the bottom so they are stacked over each other.

Please Apple give us control over this stupid feature.

Andy Kuiper

Simple, but I would have never known - thanks so much grin
Andy Kuiper - SEO Analyst

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