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How To Make Mac Launchpad Actually Useful

Thursday May 9, 2019. 03:00 PM , from MacMost
Most Mac users avoid Launchpad and instead use Spotlight, the Dock or some other method to launch apps. However, with a change and some tips, Launchpad can be a decent app launcher. First, you'll want to assign a keyboard shortcut. Then, you'll want to organize your Launchpad screens so you can find apps easily. You can also use the keyboard to easily search for apps and get more refined results than in Spotlight.



Check out How To Make Mac Launchpad Actually Useful at YouTube for closed captioning and more options.
Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Let's take a look at one of the most despised features of Mac OS. Launchpad. I'm going to show you how it could actually be useful.
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So in general Launchpad is considered pretty useless. You have to click on something in the Dock and then there's this mess of apps and you have to navigate around in it to find the app you want to launch. It's much easier to launch an app with Spotlight or the Dock. But with a little modification and some technique you can actually make Launchpad useful. Maybe even the best way to launch apps.
So the way you're supposed to use Launchpad is you bring your cursor down to the bottom of the screen to bring up the Dock. Then you click on the Launchpad icon. Then you go and search around with the cursor to find the app you want, click on it, and it launches the app. It's not that bad of a process but it does require you to use the mouse or trackpad for the entire thing and take your hands off of the keyboard. So if you like keyboard shortcuts, forget about it. Also it's a bunch of different steps.
What most people find it easier is using Spotlight. It's just Command, Space brings up Spotlight. You start typing the name of the app you want and it brings up the app at the top of the search result. You hit return and it launches the app. Spotlight is the clear winner here for launching apps. You could also, of course, just use the Dock and actually click on the app in the Dock. The problem is that the Dock only has limited space.
So let's make a keyboard shortcut that will bring up Launchpad. It's pretty easy to do. Just go to System Preferences and then Keyboard and then Shortcuts. Look on the left and the very first item here is Launchpad & Dock. Click that and you see Show Launchpad actually has an unassigned entry here. You have to check it to turn it on and then you need to assign a shortcut. One of the things I like to use is Shift Command Space instead of Command Space which brings up Spotlight. You just add the Shift key to it and it brings up Launchpad. You can also, instead of that, use Option Space and that seems to work with the Option key right next to Command.
Once you have that it's easy to bring up Launchpad. Just use the keyboard shortcut and it comes right up. If I start just typing the name the apps with those letters come up and I can then hit return to launch the app. So just like that now it's just as good as Spotlight for launching apps.
Now there are other ways people like to trigger Launchpad as well. If you use a trackpad some people like to use all five fingers. You bring them together and that brings up Launchpad. You can also use a hot corner to bring up Launchpad. But since so many people like to bring up Spotlight with Command Space it makes sense to bring up Launchpad in a similar way.
Now in addition to typing to bring up the app that you want you can also use the arrow keys. So this is an option you just don't have with Spotlight or the Dock. I can bring up Launchpad and then I can immediately go with down arrow and it selects the very first icon. I can use the arrows to get around here very easily and then Return to launch any app. So it's quick and easy to find something if you have a good organization here because we don't always think in terms of how to spell the name of the app. Sometimes we're very visual about it. So having things arranged in Launchpad with your most common apps at the top, maybe rows that represent different categories of apps, things like that can really help.
You can even go into Folders here. So if I hit return with this folder it opens it up and if I use Escape it goes back out. Escape will also exit Launchpad as well. If I want to get to the next Launchpad screen I can use Command and right arrow and it jumps right to that. Then I can continue with the arrow keys to navigate around. I can do Command left arrow, of course, to go back to the previous screen.
So this is where Launchpad can actually be a little bit better than Spotlight because you can arrange the apps how you like. So, for instance, if you wanted to be able to type the letter p, and then hit return, and always launch Photos you can put the Photos app before Pages. In Spotlight you don't get that choice. It's going to sort them how it sees fit so you may not even get either one of those as the first choice. If you organize your Launchpad screens you can put like apps next to each other. You can put some apps into folders. You can put apps you never use on the third or fourth screen.
It still has its problems. It's kind of difficult to arrange apps in Launchpad so it takes a lot of time to do that. Even at its best it's maybe about the equivalent to Spotlight for launching apps for most people. But it's definitely a more valid option than a lot of people think.
Related Posts:
Assign a Keyboard Shortcut To Launchpad ― Add a Keyboard Shortcut for LaunchPad ― A Beginner’s Guide to LaunchPad ― LaunchPad Without LaunchPad
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