Get Started with Mac OS X Lion: Launchpad

August 14, 2011, By Christian Cawley

If you use an iPad or iPhone then you will be familiar with the way in which the Launchpad – an important new element of Mac OS X Lion – affords control over apps on your computer.

Just as an iPad will display a view of all your applications as icons, so the Launchpad echoes the iPad home screen and allows you to create folders by dragging icons together and discard them when necessary.

The Launchpad is, of course, just one of the great new user interface enhancements that have been introduced with Mac OS X Lion. Coupled with the Mission Control tool and a focus on making the most out of the desktop space with full screen apps, the Launchpad is a very useful aspect of the new Mac OS X.

Get Started with Mac OS X Lion: Launchpad

Opening the Launchpad

To get started with the Launchpad and to help you to understand why Apple introduced this key element of iOS to Mac OS X, click the Dock icon on your desktop or pinch your thumb and three fingers together on your trackpad.

Instantly a view of you applications will be displayed, just like on an iPad home screen, although in fairness the view isn’t too different from the old Applications shortcut in Mac OS X 10.6.4

The difference here, of course, is that the list of app icons is horizontal, just as it is on an iPad. You can check how many screens wide the list is via the small dots below the apps list, and browse these using a swipe gesture or by simply tapping an arrow key on your keyboard.

Sorting and Managing Launchpad Apps

Naturally a new user interface brings a few new rules to how you manage your apps. While the Finder is still available in Mac OS X, the Launchpad is more than likely going to be your number one choice for finding and launching apps.

With the Launchpad open you can sort apps by clicking and dragging them. Similar apps can be grouped into a folder by dragging one onto the other, and the folder can be renamed by opening it and clicking the folder name.

Holding the COMMAND key while using the Launchpad will bring your app icons to life – they will wriggle about slightly and you can delete them from the Launchpad using the X button displayed next to each one.

Deleting apps from the Launchpad doesn’t just drop them from that view – they’re also removed from your Mac entirely. While this might not matter too much with the typical Mac App Store fare that you have been downloading, it might impact your computer more if you use this method to discard something more important such as iWork, for instance. As such, take care deleting items from the Launchpad!

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