Opening apps is a frequent activity for most every macOS user. Here’s how to best employ Mac Launchpad to speed daily access to commonly used programs.

Launchpad icon on macos dock
Image: PixieMe/Adobe Stock

While you may not often consider the process, the way you interact with your Mac makes a tremendous difference in how quickly you open apps, access files and complete tasks. Shortcuts, such as using Mission Control to quickly lock the display, and keystroke combinations (COMMAND+TAB remains a favorite for rapidly switching between open applications) can become major conveniences if you first become familiar with and build habits using these features.

SEE: Windows, Linux, and Mac commands everyone needs to know (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Take time to learn new ways of working, and I predict you’ll find one macOS tip pays continuing ergonomic and time-saving dividends. Launchpad, when employed, eliminates multiple traditional steps locating and opening applications. The macOS app can even prove more convenient than selecting a program from the Dock, which can quickly become cluttered.

Instead of opening Finder, navigating to the correct directory and then locating the corresponding application, which you must then double-click to open, Launchpad permits opening an app with as little as a single click. By configuring Mission Control to provide quick access to Launchpad — such as automatically opening Launchpad whenever the mouse is placed in the top-left corner of the display — individual apps can be opened quickly, truly with a single click.

To implement such a setup, first configure Mission Control to activate Launchpad whenever you place the mouse in a specific corner of the display. Follow these steps to configure Mission Control:

  1. Open System Preferences by clicking the Apple icon from the macOS menu bar and clicking System Preferences.
  2. Click Mission Control.
  3. Click the Hot Corners button, as shown in Figure A, in the lower left corner.
  4. Select Launchpad from the drop-down menu for one of the respected corners (such as the top left corner, as shown in Figure B).

Figure A

macOS users can configure Mission Control to provide quick access to activating Launchpad.

Figure B

Hot Corners permits customizing multiple actions when the cursor is moved to a respective corner of the display.

Subsequently, whenever you move the cursor to the Mac’s top left corner, Launchpad will open, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

Launchpad collects apps and permits creating program folders for organizing and quickly opening commonly used applications.

Launchpad itself can be customized, too. With Launchpad open, just long click on an icon or folder. After two seconds, the icons and folders will begin shaking, an X will appear within each removable app or folder’s top-left corner and you can begin placing apps on top of one another to create folders or on top of existing folders to move the corresponding program to that grouping. Clicking the X removes the app from Launchpad but does not delete the program from macOS.

You can group applications adjacent to one another based on type, such as productivity apps. Or you can create folders that collect specific programs, such as a Microsoft folder for containing Edge, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Remote Desktop, To Do and Word. Just remember that when creating folders within Launchpad, an additional click is required to access the applications within those folders.

Other ways of opening Launchpad exist too: You can always press the F4 button. Alternatively, you can open Finder, select the Applications directory, navigate to the Launchpad entry and double click it. Or, if you’re like me and use a programmable mouse, you can program a gesture or button to activate Launchpad.

Whichever method you choose, try making a habit of using Launchpad. The macOS program speeds and simplifies opening commonly used apps. While admittedly only a few moments are saved each time you open an app using Launchpad, considering how often you open apps, the convenience soon adds up, becomes second nature and quickens your efficiencies while eliminating unnecessary movements and clicks.