Without mouse and trackpad: Use the dock with the keyboard

Linked apps and open program windows can be selected via the macOS dock. In addition, the Launchpad and the Trash can be opened via the Mac dock. But what if the mouse doesn't work or the trackpad refuses to work? Well, in this case you can Use the macOS Dock with the keyboard. In this guide I have summarized how you can navigate in the Mac Dock using a key combination and how to control individual apps, the Launchpad and the Trash folder without a mouse.

You want to jump into the Mac dock with your keyboard without a trackpad and without a mouse? Then you will find the right instructions here. Here you can find the key combination and diagrams to navigate with the keyboard in the macOS Dock.
You want to jump into the Mac dock with your keyboard without a trackpad and without a mouse? Then you will find the right instructions here. Here you can find the key combination and diagrams to navigate with the keyboard in the macOS Dock.

Using the Mac Dock with the keyboard: Here's how!

To use the dock without a mouse and trackpad, all you need is a small key combination that is easy to remember: control + F3. However, if you are working on the MacBook or using an external Apple keyboard, the function keys may execute certain system commands. In this case, you also press the fn key to use the secondary assignment of the function keys (i.e. the regular F assignment): control + fn + F3. If you use a Windows keyboard on a Mac, iMac or MacBook like I do, the fn key is omitted, but instead of the control key you press Ctrl + F3. Here's a little clearer:

  • Apple or MacBook keyboard: control + fn + F3 (^+fn+F3)
  • Apple keyboard without second assignment of the F-keys: control + F3 (^+F3)
  • Windows keyboard with single function keys: Ctrl + F3
If you want to navigate on the Mac, iMac or MacBook with the keyboard in the dock, you can use the key combination control + F3 or control + fn +F3.
If you want to navigate on the Mac, iMac or MacBook with the keyboard in the dock, you can use the key combination control + F3 or control + fn + F3.

Navigating the macOS Dock with the keyboard

If you have used the shortcut to call up the dock, you will already see that the first icon is highlighted in color and the program name appears above it (see above). To navigate to the desired tile and interact with it, use the left and right arrow keys and Enter on the keyboard. Use the arrow keys to select the tile whose App or folder you want to go to, and then press Enter. The corresponding window will open. In order to be able to use the menus of the menu bar in turn, take a look at these instructions: Without a mouse and trackpad - Use the Mac menu and menu bar with the keyboard.

You can navigate and select individual tiles with the arrow keys. You can then open an app or a folder with the Enter key.
You can navigate and select individual tiles with the arrow keys. You can then open an app or a folder with the Enter key.

Assign Mac function keys differently: F functions instead of system functions

If you don't use the printed functions of the F-keys, which affect the MacBook or macOS, you can also give them their pure F-functions for the system and apps. Instead of display brightness, volume, media control and the like, the keys then become F1, F2, F3, F4 and so on. If you then want to use the other function, you have to press the fn key as well. To change the whole thing, open the system settings, click on the keyboard and then check the "Use the keys F1, F2, etc. as standard function keys" checkbox in the "Keyboard" tab. Then you save yourself with the above shortcut pressing the fn key.

 Menu -> System Preferences… -> Keyboard -> "Keyboard" tab (screenshot created under macOS Monterey 12.5)
 Menu -> System Preferences… -> Keyboard -> Keyboard tab (screenshot created under macOS Monterey 12.5)
-
Did you like the article and did the instructions on the blog help you? Then I would be happy if you the blog via a Steady Membership or at Patreon would support.

The page contains affiliate links / images: Amazon.de

2 thoughts on “Without mouse and trackpad: Use the dock with the keyboard”

  1. Wolfram Heitmeier

    Unfortunately, that doesn't work for me.
    Apple Bluetooth keyboard on Mini 2018, MacOS up-to-date.
    Kontrol F3 shows the dock without highlighting any program icon.
    Window of the active application is shown (if several windows of an application are open). The arrow keys then navigate through the windows opened by the program.

    1. Hello Wolfram,

      this is probably because the macOS function "Mission Control" is on the F3 key. You can get a similar view of the app windows by just pressing F3 without control. It is therefore important to press the fn key in addition to control and F3 to select the dock or to change the assignment in the system settings beforehand (see article).

      Best regards
      John

Post a comment

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked with * marked

In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.