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command ⌘+tab⇥ and my Exposé shortcuts have stopped working, and clicking/mousing over dock icons has no effect.

What's wrong? What can I do to get things back?

1
  • I'm going cracy about this issue as well. It keeps re-appearing. Jun 4, 2020 at 14:45

9 Answers 9

88

Your Dock has become unresponsive. It's rare, but it does sometimes happen. To fix it you just need to kill the Dock app and it will automatically restart. To kill the Dock:

Go to Applications ➔ Utilities ➔ Terminal.app

Type killall Dock

If that doesn't work, type killall -9 Dock

The Dock will vanish for a few moments and then pop back up good as new. None of your apps should be affected.

Edit: sudo killall Dock would kill other users' docks, and isn't even more likely to work. Thanks derober for pointing that out. killall -9 Dock is the right command

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  • 2
    sudo killall Dock would kill /other/ users' docks, not at all what you intended. If Dock refuses to die, try killall -9 Dock.
    – derobert
    Jul 18, 2009 at 5:38
  • 2
    Killing others' docks is kinda funny, but you're right, it's not at all what I intended. Good eye. Jul 18, 2009 at 6:09
  • @PeterBurns It's perfectly acceptable to select your own answer as the correct one.
    – user79838
    Sep 20, 2015 at 5:36
  • This tip did not work for me immediately but after pressing ctrl-F3 it started working. So maybe there is some strange dependency there. Jun 4, 2020 at 14:50
  • And to open the terminal or to switch to any other window, minimize the current window and do it. Didn't work for me when it was full-screen
    – Ceres
    Apr 3, 2021 at 14:35
10

http://blog.peterhaza.no/cmd-tab-and-dock-not-working-in-os-x/

And so I fired up Activity Monitor and force killed Dock. Two seconds later my Dock popped up and ⌘ ⇥ worked again.

7

Another option for reference purpose for those that do not want to use terminal and this works even if the dock is hanging:

Alt+Cmd+esc will open the Force Quit Applications window and you can kill finder from there. Also right-clicking on the dock area should popup a Force Quit option if the dock is unresponsive.

This is an alternative for those that can't find their way around in the terminal

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  • Not simply an alternative, IMHO this is far better than the selected answer. It requires fewer steps and is much clearer.
    – danorton
    Jun 20, 2014 at 15:18
  • 1
    It doesn't solve it for me :-( Jun 4, 2020 at 14:47
3

Just note that you will need to be an administrator of your mac if you want to kill the Dock and fix it.

sudo killall Dock will be necessary to do this as an admin.

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  • 3
    killall Dock works just fine for me. Dec 12, 2012 at 3:03
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Glad to hear you managed to get the Dock back... often the cause of problems like that is a dodgy third-party Dashboard Widget (DashboardClient runs as a child process of the Dock). Worth bearing in mind if the problem recurs...

I find Dashboard to be a more or less useless resource hog anyway... there's an article here about how to disable it.

0

Had the exact same problem, ended up finding solution on Apple support communities https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3384782?start=30&tstart=0

Summarized below, thanks to watski

I deleted ~/Library/Application Support/Dock/*.db and killed the Dock in Activity Viewer. Now it seems to behave. For the record I tried deleting the dock .plist, setting VMWare preferences and so on but in vein. Rebooting did not help either.

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On your Mac:

Navigate to System Preferences Go to Mission Control Uncheck "When switching to an application, switch to a Space with open windows for the application"

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Just log out using the apple sign in the top left corner and then re-login, tadaaa, everything starts working. In case, this doesn't work for you, you can go for other answers and give them a try.

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    – Community Bot
    Jan 26 at 5:23
-3

Your Dock has become unresponsive. It's rare, but it does sometimes happen. To fix it you just need to kill the Dock app and it will automatically restart

The Dock is launched as part of Finder, so you can just relaunch Finder from the "Force Quit" menu, which is accessible via with Cmd + Alt + Escape

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  • This was the first thing I tried, and it didn't work. :/ Jul 18, 2009 at 6:14
  • For reference, Dock.app is it's own application that Exposé and the Command-Tab switcher both are features of.
    – Chealion
    Mar 18, 2010 at 17:33

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