A Beginner’s Guide to LaunchPad

LaunchPad is an app launcher that resides in the Dock. From LaunchPad you can view all of your installed applications. You can search for an app and use the keyboard to launch it. You can also organize your apps by re-arranging them and placing them into folders to group them. LaunchPad is also an uninstaller, allowing you to remove apps that were installed by the Mac App Store.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: A Beginner’s Guide to LaunchPad.

Let's take a look at LaunchPad. LaunchPad is a way to launch applications but you can do more with it. You find it here in the Dock as a little icon that looks like a rocket ship. You click it and you get a display of icons showing apps that you have installed on your Mac. It kind of looks like if you're using an iPad or iPhone. You get those types of icons.

The dots at the bottom represent how many pages you've got. You can see here I've got five pages and I'm looking at the first one. I can use my trackpad or magic mouse to swipe with two fingers left and right. You've got a Search box at the top which is very handy because it's automatically selected. You don't have to click in it to type something. For instance if I wanted to find the Calculator app I would just start typing c a l and you can see how it narrows it down.

I can use the arrow keys to navigate between the apps that I've got on the screen. Now to launch an app I can click it or if it's selected, like it is here with Calculator, I just hit the Return key and it launches.

Now you can also organize your apps here in Launchpad. To do that just click and drag an app and you can move it. If you want to take it to another screen then you can click and drag to the right side and then you'll get to the new screen and you can drop the app there.

You can also put them in folders. You can see I've got three folders, actually four here on this screen. You can drag an app into a folder pretty easily and drop it in. If you click on a folder you can drag something out or, of course, you can launch one of the apps in that folder. You can also create new folders by dragging on top of another app icon. So I'll do that really quickly here. You can see it created a new one and I can rename that by clicking on the name there and typing. Click outside of the folder to go back to the main view here. To take something out I can take it out like that. Once there is nothing but one app left in the folder, the folder itself disappears. So you can use that as a way to organize your apps into these folders.

Launchpad is also a way to uninstall apps. So if I click and hold on any app icon they all start to wiggle. Now you can see there's a little x next to some apps. You can click that x to uninstall that app. It's a one step uninstall and then the app is gone. Now some of the apps don't have those next to it. That means they can't be uninstalled or they are third party apps that were downloaded in a different way. They weren't downloaded via the Mac App Store. So you can't uninstall them this way. Usually there's a different way to uninstall them. Like you can look in the application itself or sometimes you go to the website for the developer and they have a special uninstall application that removes the app. But most apps on a typical Mac users machine will have these x's next to them and it's an easy way for you to get rid of an app that you no longer need.

So there are two kind of shortcuts that I wanted to tell you about. One is if you don't want to use the trackpad to go between screens you can use the Command key and the right and left arrows. Also, instead of clicking and holding an icon to make it wiggle and uninstall apps you can hold the Option key down and it will instantly do that. Makes it a little easier to access that function.

Comments: 3 Responses to “A Beginner’s Guide to LaunchPad”

    Richard Fuhr
    2 years ago

    A nice enhancement to the search functionality in LaunchPad would be to have folder names also show up in the search results. The same enhancement could apply to iOS devices, where you can also put apps into folders and give the folders appropriate names. On a related note, regular folder names already do show up in Spotlight search results on the Mac, so it seems that this functionality could also be extended to LaunchPad and to iOS.

    Phyllis Pieri
    2 years ago

    Thanks for this quick video. I have not used this feature at all and realize that I have been waiting a lot of time.
    You guys Rock!

    2 years ago

    I’ve been using LaunchPad for a decade now, it’s such an easy and user-friendly UI. I highly recommend using it with LaunchPad Manager app to remove any app from LP pages without removing it from your Mac, among other functions.
    For instance, you don’t really need to launch Acrobat Reader and so many other ones as they will auto-launch when required.

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