Ever loved an application, but wished it never appeared in the dock, like spotlight? It’s always there, but has no dock item. I’ve wanted such functionality a surprising number of times, particularly with application launchers such as LaunchBar and Quicksilver.
They’re great, but I never use their dock icon; I use their keyboard shortcut instead. So, why have them sitting there taking up space in your dock? There is a relatively simple hack that fixes it, so that when launched, the application still runs but does not appear in the dock (or when command – tabbing).
All it requires is a simple addition to the application’s “info.plist”. For those who don’t know, a .plist file (short for preferences list) is a small xml file that you can find all over OS X. Each application contains at least one called “info.plist” that, among other things, tells the OS how to deal with the application. To find this file right (or control) click the application and select “Show package contents.”
This may come as a surprise to some of you but an OS X .app is actually a folder that contains most of the files that the app needs to run. We’ll leave the intricacies for another article. Anyway, Finder will open a new window and there will be a single folder displayed: “Contents”. Open this and you will be presented with a few files and folders. One of these will be called “Info.plist”. That is the one we’re after.
After backing this up, right (control) click on this and open with text edit. What you will see is a small xml file, don’t panic if you haven’t played with xml before we’re not going to do anything drastic. The file will have a central column of data enclosed after a “<dict>” tag and before a “</dict>” tag (this is quite obvious to see). Now at the end of the column add 2 lines (remember before the “</dict>” tag):
(without the quotes).
They don’t have to line up with the others, but it will certainly make reading much simpler. Now, save this as it was (remember to back up the original as a different file name in case you make a mistake). Next time you launch the application it will not appear in the dock.
N.B. – to quit the application you may have to manually quit its process in the activity monitor, but this depends on the application.