Using LaunchPad

The LaunchPad app is a quick way to launch applications on your Mac. You can use keyboard shortcuts and the search function to launch any app in seconds. You can also use LaunchPad to arrange your apps, group them, and even uninstall some apps. Learn for unusual tips and tricks for using LaunchPad.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Using LaunchPad.

Hi, this is Gary with Let me show you how you can use and organize LaunchPad on your Mac.

So, I'm using Mac OS 10.9. We're going to take a look at LaunchPad.

You can start LaunchPad by clicking on its icon in the Dock here and then you see icons representing all of the different apps that you have installed. Now it looks in your Applications folder for these apps so if you don't see something listed maybe it is not properly installed there or it is not compatible in some way with LaunchPad or your operating system.

At the the bottom you see a bunch of dots which shows you how many pages you've got. You can, if you use a track pad, you can use two fingers scrolling left and right to go between them. You can also use Command and the left and right arrows to look at the different pages. Or just click on one of these to jump right to the page.

The main thing that you want to do with LaunchPad, of course, is to launch apps. You can do that by simply clicking on the app and it will launch. You can go back into LaunchPad and run something else and it will quickly launch as well.

The same as clicking in the Dock except in the Dock you only have a limited number of apps that you could put here and with LaunchPad you have all of your apps.

So it is all about convenience. You want to be able to use LaunchPad quickly to get the app you want running. So you want to learn the keyboard shortcut key. For me it is the F7 key and you can see it quickly runs out there and I can hit F7 or Escape to exit it. Check in System Preferences under Keyboard and then Shortcuts. Then look at LaunchPad & Dock and you can see what your keyboard shortcut is here and make sure you have it turned on. That will let you get there really quickly.

Then you want to see which app you want to launch. Now notice there is a search field here at the top. You don't even have to click in it. You just start typing because there is no other place for the text to go. It goes in there and you see as I type it narrows down what is possible. If I can narrow it down to just one, like that, I can actually use the return key and launch it. So it is a very quick way to be able to launch an app.

For instance, if I wanted to launch Contacts I can do F7, start typing Contacts, and as soon as I see it selected I hit return and Contacts will launch.

Now you also have the ability to organize in here a bit. You can see I've got some Folders. Folders are created when you take two apps and drag one on top of the other. So, for instance, if I wanted to take say Compressor and Final Cut, put them in a folder together, just drag one onto the other, it comes up with a name it thinks might work. I can click here and change the name if I want. I can see what is in that folder. I can drag stuff out of it as well and put it where I want. I can drag things around in here to rearrange. It kind of works the same way it does in iOS.

Now LaunchPad serves another very useful function. It lets you uninstall some apps. If I were to click on any app here and hold down it is just like iOS. I see these X marks here next to apps that I can uninstall. Now if the Mac App Store did not install the app the Mac is not sure exactly how to do the uninstallation and there may be a custom uninstall application that you need to run. So a X is not going to appear. But for other things you are going to see the X. Just simply click the X and it will uninstall the app from my Mac. So uninstalling for a lot of apps is that easy.

So here is some little extra tips. I've changed my background here to be the default Mavericks background because I want to show you this. Go into LaunchPad and it will blur the background there. You can change the style of happens behind LaunchPad by using Control/Option/Command and the B key and you can cycle through and you get a clear desktop, you've got an extra blurred one, you've got a black and white one, and a blurred black and white one. You can go back to the blurred one. So you can cycle through and find out which one of those you like the best.

Also, notice here when I hold down the Option key I automatically get the wiggle and the X's so you can do it like iOS where you click and hold and wait or you can just simply hold the Option key down to do it.

Comments: 14 Responses to “Using LaunchPad”

    Shirley Allan
    5 years ago

    It is unclear what keys you are referring to to cycle through. Control+ Option + Command and the ? key. Played over and over. C? Z? Aha it is the B key!

      5 years ago

      It’s the “b” key.
      Have Fun.

    Brian O'hara
    5 years ago

    As so often happens, you have highlighted a component of the MAC OS which while I knew of its existence, I had not really learned how to exploit. Thanks … I’ll be making use of LaunchPad now especially the ability to group apps in a sub folder.

    5 years ago

    Gary, I’m using OS X Version 10.7.5. When I go to preferences to see the keystroke shortcut for Launchpad, it says none. I looked up an old video of yours to find how to create a keystroke shortcut, but I can’t do what you were able to do in 2009 when you made the video. In my system preferences, my keyboard and mouse are separate icons now. Is there a way to create keystroke shortcuts now?

      5 years ago

      10.7.5 is two versions behind. You won’t be able to do much of this.

    Jack Waddington
    5 years ago

    Nicely presented tip, but it did not refer to what I miss most: How can I alphabetize the listing without doing so manually?

      5 years ago

      You can’t. If you want an alphabetized list of your apps, just look in the Applications folder.

    5 years ago

    Do you know if there’s a search attribute that finds apps that can be uninstalled in Launchpad?

      5 years ago

      I don’t think so. What’s your need? Perhaps there is something else that you can do depending on exactly what you need this function for.

    Will Rhea
    5 years ago

    There is also a very good app called Launchpad Manager that gives you many options, including saving the current configuration (after you get the Launchpad the way you want it) so that you can reload it in case the Mac resets it – which it does sometimes for no good reason.

    Great video – thanks Gary.

    Robert Poland
    5 years ago

    This has tweaked my interest in the LaunchPad.

    I’ve been trying to change the background but the Control Option Command Plus some unknown key (not clear which) doesn’t work and it’s not in the Keyboard Shortcuts. HELP!

    I’m in OS 10.9.2.

      Robert Poland
      5 years ago

      Command, Option, Control “b” is being used elsewhere Universal Shortcut. Will have to fix that.

    Andrew Edwards
    5 years ago

    The tip on con+opt+com+b Was a great one!! Thank you

      5 years ago

      yeah, I really love it…

      Gary, where did you find this cool option?

Comments Closed.