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How to add the Dock to the Touch Bar on a MacBook

The Touch Bar isn’t the most amazing thing that Apple has come up with and good apps for it are still rare. It takes a little getting used to since the controls on the Touch Bar are context aware and change depending on which app is currently in focus. You can force the Touch Bar to behave very differently with the right app e.g. you can add a clock to it or add a custom button to it. Pock is a free, open source app that can add the Dock to the Touch Bar. The Dock will be omnipresent which means it’s always there regardless which app is in focus. You’re then free to hide the Dock on your screen.

Dock to the Touch Bar

Download Pock and run it. The app requires special accessibility access in order to work so when you first run it, it will ask for the extra permissions. Go to the System Preferences app and give Pock access.

You can run Pock in one of two modes; with the control strip hidden, or with the control strip showing. With the control strip showing, you get the collapsed control strip on the right and the dock icons on the left. With the control strip hidden, you get just the apps on the Dock. To set the mode that Pock runs in, click the app’s icon in the menu bar and select Preferences. On the Preferences window, enable ‘Hide Control Strip’.

The Dock in the Touch Bar will show you badges for apps that have new notifications but given the limited height of the Touch Bar, it will not be able to display the number of new notifications. For example, you will see a red dot for new iMessages but you won’t be able to tell how many unread messages you have.

The Dock icons shown on the Touch Bar will also indicate which apps are currently running via the little blue dot under them. Any and all items pinned to the Dock, including folders, will show up on the Touch Bar. You need only tap an item to open it.

One other setting that you might want to play around with is the notification badge refresh rate. By default, Pock will check for new notifications every ten seconds but you can increase that from its preferences. It’s not that big a deal since the badge doesn’t show how many notifications there are but it is nevertheless useful to have those indicators since it keeps you from missing important alerts.

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