A majority of end users might not be familiar with the purpose of restarting the OS X Dock. It’s something you need to do at times should you ever decide to go tinkering with the system’s default settings or run a few Terminal commands. The method itself involves the execution of a Terminal command, as the UI provides no way to do so. Where the command is fairly simple, most regular users would prefer a one-click alternative in the form of an app or executable script. If you’re looking for such a solution, try DockRestarter, an easy solution that comes in both app and script form.
You need only click the app icon and it will instantly restart the Dock. To use the script, run the installer program, which will install the AppleScript and add it to the Menu Bar. If you’ve never restarted the Dock before; doing so will eject all drives that you’ve mounted, reset the Launchpad, and the Dock itself will disappear and reappear. Other changes will not be so apparent.
If you’re curious how you can accomplish the same via the Terminal, you need only run the following command:
DockRestarter doesn’t exactly do something that (as you can see from the Terminal command required) is difficult by any standard. As mentioned earlier, it might be preferred by users who would like to steer clear of Terminal commands or just want a quicker solution. What DockRestarter does is wrap the killall Dock command into an app. Now imagine you have several processes running and you want to restart the Dock between or at the end of any of them. A simple app launcher can be used to run DockRestarter and give you your desired outcome.
Restarting the Dock is most frequently needed after you run a defaults write command, but it can also help resolve problems like a frozen Dock, Dock icons not updating or the traffic light buttons on a window becoming unresponsive. From a simple end user’s view, DockRestarter could be more useful if it also lets you run the killall Finder and killall SystemUIServer command when needed. The same features would make it more useful for advanced users who want to use the app to top off a process that they’re running. DockRestarter has no interface to speak of; no icons and no preferences for you to manage. It runs and quits itself.