Love your Mac, but not the dock? Replace it with something smaller. StatusDuck ($15, free trial) lets you manage your open applications completely from the menubar.
The dock is an iconic Mac feature – one many Windows users attempt to copy – but that doesn’t mean every Mac user loves it. It takes up a lot of space, unless it’s hidden; if you hide it, you can’t see at a glance which applications are currently open. If you’d like another option, and don’t mind adding more icons to your menubar, check out StatusDuck.
Managing Apps From The Menubar
Launch StatusDuck and you’ll see all of your currently open apps in the menubar, represented as tiny icons:
You can basically use this the same way as you use your dock. Click an app’s icon and you’ll be shown the open window you’ve used most recently. Click that same icon again to cycle through windows.
But there’s also a trick here that your dock doesn’t offer. There’s a red circle above all open apps. Move your mouse to hover over this circle and it will grow, revealing an “X”:
Click this and you’ll close the application in question. And by close, I don’t mean close the currently active window, I mean close the application altogether as though you had hit Command+Q. It’s possibly a little too easy to close applications this way – I ended up doing so accidentally more than once – but it’s still nice to have a single-click means of doing so.
Some applications already offer menubar icons, meaning it’s redundant for them to show up in StatusDuck. You can right- or two-finger-click any icon to hide an icon:
You can also pin any icon to StatusDuck, meaning the icon will be visible regardless of whether an app is open or not. As with the dock, you can drag a file to any StatusDuck icon to open it with that app.
You can also add any folder, though you’ll need to hold the “Command” key while dragging in order to do so.
Clicking a folder here opens it directly in Finder – the Stacks feature of the dock is not copied. As you can see, StatusDuck can replace your dock almost completely if you want it to. It doesn’t look as nice, but it’s fast and functional. Give it a spin.
Can I Turn Off The Dock Now?
With StatusDuck you don’t really need the dock anymore – but you probably don’t want to turn your dock off. It turns out the process that manages the dock also runs a number of other Mac features, and turning it off causes the Finder to misbehave. Read more about this on StackExchange.
Having said that, you could remove all icons from the dock, set it hide and shrink it.
Replacing Your Dock?
If you don’t want to completely replace the Mac dock, but would like some new features, Hyperdock($10) can add features from Windows 7 to your Mac. You’ll get things like window previews, and the ability to control iTunes.
Will StatusDuck replace your dock? Let me know in the comments below, along with any other dock replacements you might find.