How to Add Your Favorite Preferences Panes to the Mac Dock

Apple Mac Hero system preferences icon

If you are using a System Preferences frequently on your Mac, you can easily place a link to it in your Dock for quick access. In fact, you can link as many preference sections to it as you want. Here’s how.

On a Mac, each section of System Preferences is traditionally referred to as the “preferences window”. The behavior of each preference pane is managed by a file located in your macOS System Library folder. The cool thing about these files is that if you open them, they act as links that take you directly to their corresponding section in System Preferences. This means that you can drag the files to your Dock and use them for quick access to various system settings.

Several preferences pane shortcuts located in the Mac Dock.

RELATED: How to quickly find specific system preferences on a Mac

To do this, we first need to locate the preference pane files using Finder. Activate Finder and select Go> Go to Folder from the menu bar.

In the “Go to Folder” window or slider that appears, type (or paste) / System / Library / PreferencePanes.

Next, you’ll see a Finder window filled with files representing the various preference panes. These are the system preferences provided by default with macOS. (If you’re looking for a third-party preference pane file, visit / Library / PreferencePanes instead.) Each of these has a “.prefPane” extension.

Mac preference pane files as shown in Finder.

Scroll down the window until you find the file representing the preferences pane that you want to add to your Dock. For example, “DateAndTime.prefPane” is the file in the “Date and Time” preference pane. Click and drag the file from the Preferences pane onto the Files and Folders shortcuts area of ​​your Dock, which is located near the Trash.

Drag a file from the preferences pane to the Dock on Mac.

You’ll notice that if you try to drag files to the left side (or the top, depending on the orientation of your Dock) of the Dock, you won’t be able to do so. This section is for applications only.

After that, whenever you want to change a particular setting in any of the preference panes, just click on its icon in the Dock and System Preferences will automatically open in that section.

Click a link in the Preferences pane in the Dock on a Mac.

If you want to remove a preference pane from the Dock, just drag its icon away from the Dock, hold for a moment, then release.

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