I love macOS, I really do, but sometimes there is a feature that exists that makes me wonder what Apple was thinking. The current frustration I’m facing is Dock following. It is horrible and the only way to disable it is to turn off other useful features. For those not familiar with Dock following, it is a feature that allows the Dock to move to external monitors when you move your mouse to the bottom of the monitor. This may sound useful, but let me tell you about my setup to show you why I hate it.
My Mac setup at work is a 13 inch MacBook Pro connected to two external monitors. On the right side of my desk, is the Macbook. On this display is Outlook. I usually do not display anything else on this monitor since it is only 13 inches. In the middle display is a 22 inch display that houses the applications I use most throughout the day. This includes web browsers, SQL Operations Studio, One Note, and others. On the left most display (another 22 inch monitor) I run Skype for Business (don’t get me started on how horrible this app is) and Jump Desktop. Jump Desktop is a remote connection manager that is the best RDP manager I’ve found on macOS. Because my work has historically been a Windows-only shop that is only just now starting to support other platforms, I have to do quite a few tasks on Windows. When I’m using Jump Desktop, I want my RDP connection to my Windows machine to be as large as possible so I can perform my Windows tasks effortlessly. This is where the annoying Dock following feature comes into play.
Five or six times a day I will move my mouse to my left display to click on either the Windows Start menu or the task bar and as I do that the dock pops up on the left monitor because my mouse went to the bottom of the monitor, close to where the Windows Start menu and task bar live. Not only does the Dock just appear there, but often times gets in the way of what I was trying to click. Very annoying. Today, I found out there is a way to prevent the Dock from following your mouse. If you go to System Preferences and into the settings for Mission Control, there is an option called Displays have separate Spaces.
After unchecking this box, Dock following was disabled. I thought my problem was solved, but I quickly found out that this option has several drawbacks as well. By unchecking this, the menu bar no longer spans across displays, so any time I want to do a menu action, I have to do it on the MacBook’s main display, which means sometimes I have to traverse three displays in order to get to the menu action. Also, while not a heavy user of spaces, I do use them from time to time when I’m heavily multitasking and during those times I want displays to have their own spaces. So, I’m back to the original issue of wanting a way to disable Dock following. I’ve done several Google searches and the only option to disable it that I’ve found is via the Mission Control setting. It boggles my mind that Apple does not provide a way to disable this. If anyone has a way to do this, drop me a line.