How to Add a Recently Used Applications Stack to your Dock

This guide will show you how to add a “Recent Items” Stack in your macOS Dock so you can quickly access recently used files.

The process is different depending on which version of macOS you’re using.

Instructions for macOS 10.14 Mojave and Earlier

Open a Terminal (found in Applications -> Utilities) and enter the following line of text:

defaults write persistent-others -array-add '{ "tile-data" = { "list-type" = 1; }; "tile-type" = "recents-tile"; }'

And then type:

killall Dock

macoS terminal with the line to add a recently used apps stack to your dock

Your dock will now have a new Stack. Give it a click.

recently used applications dock stack
click to enlarge

Instructions for macOS 10.15 Catalina and Later

Open a Finder window and locate the Recents item in the sidebar.

a Finder window with an arrow pointing to Recents in the sidebar

If your Finder doesn’t have a Recents item in the sidebar, select Finder from the menu bar and then Preferences… from the list. Click the Sidebar tab and then make sure there’s a check in the Recents box.

the Sidebar section of the Finder Preferences

Now right-click (hold down the control key and click) on Recents in the sidebar and choose Add to Dock

the contextual menu for the Recents item in the Finder Sidebar

Ta-da! Now there’s a new Stack in your Dock.

a macOS Dock with a Stack

You can choose the view this Stack will use the same way you do with other Stacks – right-click (control + click) the item and choose your preferred view.

the context menu for a Stack in the macOS Dock

Click the stack and there’s your list :)

a recently used items stack in the Dock

ps. did you know you can customize your Stack icons?

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