12/30/199:00 am What Is The Best Way To Launch Apps On Your Mac? There are many ways to launch apps on your Mac: LauncPad, Spotlight, double-clicking apps or documents, the Dock, Siri and more. So which is best? Let's look at each one of them and weigh the advantages and disadvantages. Check out What Is The Best Way To Launch Apps On Your Mac? at YouTube for closed captioning and more options. Video Transcript: Hi this is Gary with MacMost.com. Today let's figure out what's the best way to launch apps on your Mac. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than 500 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you could read more about it, join us, and get exclusive content. There are so many different ways to launch apps on your Mac. But which one is the best? Let's take a look at all of them and try to figure that out. Let's look at how many actions it takes. Whether you can do it with the mouse or the keyboard. How versatile each option is. So the most basic way to open applications is to go to the Applications folder. Let's, in the Finder, create a new finder window and in that finder window we go to the Applications folder. You may see it here on the left side of your Favorites. If not you can easily add it there. But you can also choose Go and then Applications and then you're in the Applications folder. Here I'm using List View so it's easy for me to scroll through all the different applications here. I can then launch one by double clicking it. Now this has the advantage of showing you all of your apps or at least the ones in the Applications folder. I actually have some games in the Games folder so they wouldn't be here. So it's not all applications for everybody. A disadvantage is though that you've got sometimes things in subfolders. Like here I've got a Utilities Subfolder and some publishers put their group of apps inside of a subfolder as well. So sometimes there are some extra steps to get to things. You can jump around using the keyboard just as you can in any Finder window. So hitting the letter P for instance jumps to the file with P at the beginning so you can move around a little quicker here. But clearly there's going to be too many steps to use this as the main way to launch apps. What makes a lot more sense is using the Dock. This is built for launching apps. You've got the most common apps or at least the default system apps here in the Dock. You can even add more apps to the Dock any way that you want. So you can drag an app into the Dock and add it in there and remove it just as easily. That's a great advantage. Having you most common apps there. But it's a disadvantage in that you don't have all of your apps there. So if there's an app that you occasionally have to use you may not want it in the Dock. You could rearrange things of course. I can move Pages over here for instance. So you can customize this to your liking. You also can go straight to a document in the Dock. So I can use Control click or two finger click on the trackpad and it will bring up recent documents here. So instead of launching Pages and opening a document you can tell it to go right to a document that I've recently used. Now the Dock, I think, is the clear winner if your hand is already on the mouse or keyboard and if the application is in the Dock. There's going to be no faster way to launch it than just simply clicking on the app. But you can actually use the keyboard with the Dock as well. By default it's Control F3 that will bring up the Dock with cursor control. You can use the arrow keys to go side by side. You can hit a letter to jump to an app with that first letter. Then you can hit Return to launch an app. You can even use that to access a document. So I can go over here to Pages and I can use the up arrow to go and access those. Now using it with keyboard control is a lot of steps. So it's probably not something you want to use. But it is interesting that the Dock can be fully controlled by the keyboard. Note that you have to have this enabled in System Preferences under Keyboard and then Shortcuts. Then you want to go to Keyboard, not Launchpad and Dock where you would think, and there's the Keyboard Shortcut for Move Focus to the Dock. Control F3. Note that depending upon how you have this checkbox set you may need to hold the fn key in addition to Control. Now you can combine these methods here, the Applications Folder and the Dock, by putting the Applications Folder in the Dock. So I can do Command Up Arrow to go up a level. There's my Applications Folder. I can drag that to the right side of the Dock. Now I can click here and access my Applications. It works better if you Control click on it and switch List View. Now you can go in here and see all of your applications and launch them. So it takes away that disadvantage of the Dock not listing all of your applications. You now have a way to launch less commonly used apps using the Dock. Apple does have a primary way for you to launch apps. That's Launchpad. That's in the Dock here as well. You click on Launchpad and get this grid of icons. It looks at lot like things do on the iPhone or iPad which is an advantage if you're used to switching between devices. You can click on these dots here to go to different screens or you can swipe with the trackpad or the top of the Apple mouse. You can use the arrow keys to navigate around in there. You can fully use the keyboard. So you don't have to rely on clicking to actually get there. You can launch Launchpad with a keyboard shortcut. Let's go to System Preferences again and under Keyboard Shortcuts in Keyboard you've got Launchpad and Dock. Here's is a shortcut here and I had to set it. By default it was turned off. I set it to F4. So I hit F4 and it brings up Launchpad. Now I can just start typing the name of the app. It narrows things down. Once it's narrowed enough so I can return and it will launch the app. This is a pretty quick way to launch apps. So now let's get to the one that I use. That's to use Spotlight or the Spotlight menu or Search. You've got the icon up here and you can click it there to bring it up but it's much easier to use the keyboard shortcut of Command Space. That brings up Spotlight Search and you can search typing anything like the name of the app. So let's type calc for calculator. As soon as it's the top hit there and selected you can click on it or just hit return and it will launch automatically. This has the advantage of being able to find an app anywhere it is on your Mac. It also has a huge advantage in that it can find files as well. So you can look for the document instead of the app. As a matter of fact Spotlight can be used for all sorts of things. Doing calculations. Looking things up online. So it has a huge advantage in that you remember one keyboard shortcut, Command Space, and then it can do a whole bunch of different things depending upon what you type. It's basically the same number of steps as using Launchpad with the keyboard but it's more versatile. For that reason I think it's the winner here. There are some more ways to launch apps. For instance you can use Siri. So I can click on the Siri icon or use the keyboard shortcut for Siri. If you go into System Preferences and then Siri you can see your shortcut here. In this case it's holding Command Space but you can change it to something else. So Hold Command Space and then I can ask Siri to launch an app. Launch Calculator. Now you can use Siri on newer Macs by using the words Hey and then Siri and then you can launch an app without touching the keyboard or the mouse at all. But if you have an older Mac you can still do this, kind of. If you go into System Preferences in Catalina and then go into Accessibility you can then go to Voice Control. If you have Voice Control turned on you can simply say Launch or Open and the name of the app. Launch calculator. Now the disadvantage to this is that it's going to then hear hear everything that you say. So when I'm recording this video, for instance, I can't really use it. If I'm talking to a coworker or talking on the phone then it's going to pick all of that up and try to interpret it as commands or dictation. Now I should mention one other way to launch applications that does win in certain situations. That's to simply open the document and don't worry about opening the app. For instance here I have a TextEdit document. If I double click on it will launch TextEdit automatically. So there's no need for me to launch TextEdit and then open that app. Just use the document to launch the app. It doesn't work for things like calculator, or Safari, or even Mail that don't have documents attached to them. But launching something like TextEdit or Pages or Numbers this could be the best way to launch apps especially if the document you need is right there on the screen. So I think the winner here is Spotlight. It is the way that I launch Applications and I know a lot of power users prefer it. It's easy to do with the keyboard. It's pretty quick and it's really versatile because you can not only use it to launch apps but to go directly to a document and to do all sorts of other things. So there's only one keyboard shortcut that you need to remember. But I think there are a lot of Honorable Mentions here. Launchpad isn't actually that bad and in a lot of cases it's in a tie with Spotlight in how many actions it takes to launch an app. The Dock, I think, is the clear winner as long as the app is actually in the Dock and you happen to have your hand on the mouse or trackpad. If you already have the document right there and it's easy to move your cursor on to it and double click it then that actually beats all of the other options as there's no need to actually launch the app as a separate action. So what's your preferred method of launching apps and why. Let us know in the comments below. Related Subjects: Dock (18 videos), LaunchPad (11 videos), Spotlight (8 videos) Related Video Tutorials: 12 Apple TV+ Shows To Watch At Launch and During the Next Year Comments: 9 Responses to “What Is The Best Way To Launch Apps On Your Mac?” Douglas Brace 2 years ago One that I recommend is to add the “Applications” folder to the “Dock” and set it to “Display as > Folder” and “View content as List” (or “View content as Grid”). Laraine Barker 2 years ago I’ve always liked to use keyboard shortcuts to launch an app or switch to another one. In the old days I used Now Utilities/Action Utilities and I now use Keyboard Maestro. I hated the dock when it came out and haven’t changed my mid. Kurt Szeluga 2 years ago I use the four-finger pinch on the trackpad to open the launch pad, then swipe left/right as needed to find and select the app I want. This works for me because I have arranged my apps so that most of the apps I use are on a couple of pages and I sort of have their location memorized, so I can find them quickly. I do like your Spotlight method and may use that as well. Robert Rutledge 2 years ago A mix of situation dependent methods serves me best but my main tool is Keyboard Maestro for which I have 4 row (modifiers) 20 column reference matrix mounted behind my keyboard for opening a variety of file, apps, folders, URLs, etc. – great time saver. nick 2 years ago CMD-Space is my favourite, doesn’t get much easier than that, most apps come up with auto-complete after a couple keystrokes. Philip Noguchi 2 years ago Besides the builtin keyboard shortcuts, my favorite launcher is Alfred 4. While Alfred 4 does have a Power something module that is fairly expensive, you don’t need that module to launch applications, so it is a free app launcher. The default keyboard option-space calls up a window where you can start to type in the name of an app; only a few letters are needed most of the time to get a scrolling list of potential applications.. Tim A 2 years ago 7:26 minutes in… Actually, just as double clicking on a TextEdit file opens it in TextEdit so too will double clicking a Safari .webloc open it in Safari. Gerry Taylor 2 years ago Setting up Launchpad as a “hot corner” (settings > dock > hot corners @ lower left corner) is pretty quick. Hot corners is a nice choice for lotsa things if you’re a track pad person. Ed Adams 2 years ago I’ve used Alfred for years and it easily the best way to do all of spotlight and a lot more. Comments Closed.