Jeff Johnson (My apps, PayPal.Me)

Hide System Preferences Dock badge

November 28 2022

Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!

System Preferences Dock badge

If you're like me (lord help you) and still running macOS Monterey, avoiding Ventura and System Settings like the pandemic, you may have noticed that macOS shows you an "advertisement" for the Ventura update, in the form of a persistent Dock badge on the System Preferences app. Needless to say, this is annoying. Thankfully, there are at least two different ways to get rid of this annoying Dock badge. First, there's a "nice" way, which I got from a nice person named Tom Hagopian on Twitter. My view now, having quit Twitter, is that if something is worth tweeting, it's worth blogging. (Conversely, if it's not worth blogging, it may not be worth tweeting.) Blogs are documentation in a way that tweets are not. One tweet gets lost in the vast ocean of tweets, most of which aren't worth saving (or even reading). Tweets can get deleted (by me). Twitter accounts can get deleted (by me, perhaps in near the future). Twitter itself can shut down (perhaps in the near future). In contrast, my blog posts are preserved on the open web going back all the way to my first post in 2006. And all of my blog posts are worth reading (or so I claim).

Back to the business at hand. The nice way to hide the System Preferences Dock badge is to edit your ~/Preferences/ file. This can be done in BBEdit for example. There are also dedicated property list editing apps such as Prefs Editor. If System Preferences is in your Dock, then it will be in the persistent-apps array.


Here's the key bit you want to edit.


Just change the dock-extra value from <true/> to <false/>. Then run the command killall Dock in Terminal to terminate and relaunch the Dock.

System Preferences without Dock badge

Ah yes, the sweet sound of silence!

One problem with the "nice" method is that it still leaves a badge on the Software Update pane in System Preferences.

System Preferences Software Update pane

One solution to that problem would be to hide the Software Update pane by customizing System Preferences.

System Preferences View menu

Out of sight, out of mind. Not out of contact, though. In my testing, the process softwareupdated seems to periodically phone home to Apple regardless of your Software Update System Preferences. In order to stop that, you need to block the softwareupdated connections using an extension like Little Snitch (which is currently on sale for 50% off).

softwareupdated Deny outgoing connections to port 443 in domain

If you block those connections and then run softwareupdate --list in Terminal, the badges will disappear on both the Dock and the Software Update preference pane! This is harsh, but effective. Of course you'll still want to know when software updates are available. If you don't follow the Apple media closely (as I do), you can follow Apple's software releases RSS feed.

Speaking of sales and software updates, my own software is still on sale until the end of November! Happy Cyber Monday.

Jeff Johnson (My apps, PayPal.Me)