What are the Black Dots Under App Icons and How to Remove Them.
If you are new to Mac and OS X, you may have noticed that there is a small black dot underneath some of your application icons in the Dock. The black dot is usually always under the Finder icon, no matter what.
The black dot basically indicates that the application is running. This is similar to starting a program in Windows, and it appears in the taskbar with a gray line below it.
On a Mac, most installed apps are listed in the Dock, so the only way to know when something is open is to change the icon. In OS X, this is done by simply adding a small black dot.
These indicators are on by default, and in general I find them very useful. However, if you’d rather just use Mission Control or some other method to view open apps, you can turn off the black dot indicators in System Preferences.
Disable point indicators for applications in the Dock
To do this, click the Apple icon in the upper left corner, then select System Preferences.
In the top row, you should see the Dock icon.
By clicking on it, you can change several different settings related to the dock. The main thing that interests us is at the bottom: Show indicators of open applications.
After you uncheck this box, you will no longer see black dots under application icons. By clicking on the icon where the application is already open, you will, as before, move to this application.
If you still need to view the currently open applications on your Mac, you can use Mission Control. Just swipe up with three or four fingers and you’ll see all open windows that aren’t full screen in the main area, and any full screen apps at the top as icons.
Finally, another setting that I sometimes change in the Dock preferences is minimize windows to the application icon. Usually, when you minimize an application in Windows, it just navigates to the system tray icon and that’s it. On Mac, the icon is not displayed by default. Instead, another icon is added to the right side of the dock.
As you can see, if I open Calendar and Notepad at the same time and minimize them, two more icons are created in the far right corner. It annoys me as I am used to having only one icon like Windows. If you check this option in the dock preferences, these apps will be minimized to the app icon instead of individually.
Since the Finder can never be closed in OS X, there will always be a black dot under the Finder icon. Hopefully, as you start learning more about your Mac, it will become easier to use. Enjoy!