Add spaces to the dock on MacOS

Is there's an app you'd like to build a habit around using?

Reduce the cognitive strain required to open that app — by making it stand out in the dock.1

A sketched illustration of the Mac OS dock. One app icon has a space on either side of it.

One way to achieve this is to create white space around the app by adding spaces to the dock. This is a hidden feature on MacOS and requires running some commands in the terminal app2.

How to add spaces to the dock on MacOS

  1. Open terminal.
  2. Paste this command: defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-apps -array-add '{"tile-type"="spacer-tile";}'; killall Dock
  3. Press enter.

To remove the space:

  1. command-click the space.
  2. Select remove from dock

Bonus points

Entirely remove apps from the dock that you want to use less.

Isolate the app on the far right or far left of the dock3.


  1. 1

    This claim is vaguely backed up by the Von Restorff effect — any item that stands out from the group is more likely to be held in working memory.

  2. 2

    Terminal is a built in app that allows you to control your computer by typing commands.

  3. 3

    Known as the serial position effect — we better remember the first and last items in a sequence.