The Dock offers convenient access to frequently used apps, websites, documents, windows, and folders. Users expect the Dock to be available at all times, in any app, and behave according to their custom configuration. The Dock can be positioned by the user along the left, bottom, or right side of the screen. The user can also adjust the size of the Dock and set it to be visible only when the pointer is moved to the edge of the screen.

Take the position of the Dock into account when creating and resizing windows. It’s difficult to drag or resize a portion of a window that’s positioned behind the Dock or too close to the edge of the screen that hides the Dock. In general, prevent windows from being positioned—by your app or the user—in a way that overlaps the boundaries of the Dock.

Activate a window when the user clicks your app’s icon in the Dock. If your app is already running with open windows, activate the front open window or the last minimized window. If your app isn’t already running or is running without any open windows, open your main window or a new document window.

Keep in mind running app indicators aren't always visible in the Dock. The user can enable or disable running app indicators in Dock preferences.

Bounce your app’s Dock icon only to get attention for something serious. A bouncing Dock icon is extremely noticeable. Don't annoy the user or interrupt other activities without good reason. Use bouncing only for infrequent, serious issues the user might care to address. Stop bouncing as soon as the user brings your app to the foreground and inform the user why their attention was requested.

TIP You can implement a Dock menu that exposes app features when your app is running, even if it's not in the front. For related guidance, see Dock Menus.


Apps can display a small red oval containing a white number on their Dock icon to indicate when new interesting—but noncritical—information is available. For example, App Store uses badging to indicate the number of available app updates; when there are no updates available, the badge disappears.

Make badging intuitive. People should know why your app icon is badged and how to find the related information when they open your app.

Use badging for notification purposes only. Badges shouldn't be used to display other types of numeric information, like air quality, dates, stock prices, or weather.

Minimize badging. Don’t overwhelm people by connecting badging with a huge amount of information that changes frequently. Instead, use badging for focused, interesting, or atypical content updates.

Draw attention to important information inside your app, too. If you rely on app icon badging to highlight information, you run the risk of people missing it. Make sure the information is also clearly presented inside your app.

Avoid using alerts in conjunction with badging. Even when new or interesting information is available, users don't want to see an alert the moment they open your app. Instead, focus on making the information discoverable.

Keep badges up to date. Update your app’s badge as soon as the corresponding information is read. You don’t want people to think there’s new information available, only to find that they’ve already seen it.

Don’t mimic the appearance or behavior of a badge. Users can disable badges if they choose, and will become frustrated if they have done so and then see what they perceive as a badge.