Launchpad lets you see, organize, and easily open your apps.

launchpad icon

Launchpad

Mac OS X Lion (10.7) as well as OS X Mountain Lion (10.8) includes Launchpad, a very simple and easy to use app launcher. If you use an iOS device you’ll feel right at home using it as it has a very iOS like feel. Launchpad let’s you view the icons of all your apps, move them round, search, swipe between pages, and organized them into folders. Any apps installed from the Mac App Store will automatically show up as well as all the apps that are already installed on your Mac in your Applications folder.

It’s altogether a very simple utility that can be opened with Multi-Touch gestures on a Trackpad, Hot Corners, or just by clicking the icon in the Dock.

hot corners launchpad

Hot Corners

Organizing apps in Launchpad has a very iPhone and iPad like feeling. With your mouse or Trackpad click and hold an icon to make is jiggle around allowing you to move the app, put it in a folder or delete it. There is also a search bar at the very top, for quickly finding an app. To go between pages using a Magic Mouse simply swipe one finger, for a the Magic Trackpad swipe left or right with two fingers. You can also use the keyboard arrow keys to move between pages.

When you download an app from the App Store, it shows a cool little animation of the app jumping into Launchpad, where it also shows a downloading bar over the icon. Note: Only apps downloaded from the Mac App Store can be deleted in Launchpad, for all other apps you’ll have to go to the Applications folder.

Opening & using Launchpad

launchpad gestures mac trackpad

Gestures

There are few different ways for quick access to Launchpad. Personally I just have the Launchpad icon in my Dock, however I’ll also go over the other methods. One is for when you use a trackpad. In your System Preferences go to “Trackpad” then the “More Gestures” tab. Here you’ll be able to view all the gestures available. It will tell you to “pinch with thumb and three fingers“. In the “Trackpad” options it will also show a short video preview of the the gesture in action.

Another way to quickly open it is by giving it a Hot Corner. Hot Corners allows you to move your mouse to a designated corner of your Macs screen and activate Launchpad. To set up Hot Corners, go to System Preferences -> Desktop & Screen Saver, then click the “Hot Corners” button at the bottom right. A small slide down option pane will appear allowing you to select any 1 of the 4 corners of you Mac.

Thoughts

I personally never actually go to the Applications folder anymore to launch apps. If the app isn’t in my Dock, I use Launchpad as it is a very simple and quick way of finding as well as launching apps. Since I have been using iOS devices for years, using Launchpad feels normal. For someone new to Apple products, it won’t take very long to get used to, if you do choose to use it.

There are however a few things I don’t like about it however. Only apps downloaded from the Mac App Store can be deleted within it, and you can’t store documents, folders, pictures or anything other than apps.