How to add scroll gestures to your Mac's Dock

The OS X Dock makes it simple to see which apps are open on your Mac, but it's still easy to lose track of what windows are open in each app. Especially on smaller screens like laptops, that means important information can get buried awfully fast. Luckily there's a command you can enter in the Terminal which will change the way the Dock works to make it easier to see what's going on.

If you're using any Mac laptop, or a desktop Mac equipped with a Magic Trackpad or a Magic Mouse, this will enable you to see with a single gesture — an upward two-finger swipe — what windows are open in an app. You can also use this to quickly examine the contents of any folders you have stored in the Dock too.

How to enable scroll gestures in the Dock

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Type defaults write scroll-to-open -bool TRUE; killall Dock, then hit return. (You can copy and paste that text into Terminal to make it easier.)
  3. Close Terminal.

Now, when you swipe up over any icon in your Dock, your Mac will show you any open windows associated with that app, or the contents of the folder. Swipe down to return to the Dock.

To undo this change:

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Type defaults write scroll-to-open -bool FALSE; killall Dock, then hit return. (You can copy and paste that text into Terminal to make it easier.)
Peter Cohen
  • One can also do this by double tapping (not clicking) on the magic mouse on any dock icon by default, without any terminal commands. Maybe this also works when tap to click is disabled on the trackpad as well but I never tried that. I still prefer the wonderful HyperDock tool to all these anyway.
  • Just tried it out. This Terminal command just adds the two finger swipe gesture. The double tap still works regardless. Either way, I didn't know about this gesture, pretty cool.
  • Wicked cool! Thanks for posting this.
  • Awesome tip! Also, how do you get those nifty spaces between apps in the dock? Is it from a third-party app?
  • Nope, you can do it yourself using another OS X Power Tip: How to add space to your Mac dock using Terminal
  • what is this supposed to do? I don't see any change to the dock or anything when I scroll over the apps.
  • Swipe up with two fingers while mousing over an app in the dock, and you will see all the windows that are open for that particular app. (I didn't get the difference at first either) GREAT TIP, btw! I love this!
  • Awesome. Thanks Peter!
  • Thanks Peter!
  • thx so much i been in need of this since long time
  • Odd, this swipe gesture is on my Mac with OS X El Capitan 10.11 but it is a 4 finger swipe up from a dock app instead of a 2 finger swipe!
    And, I didn't input anything in terminal.