How to clean up Launchpad on the Apple Mac and remove apps

Apple Mac keyboard

Do you use Launchpad on the Apple Mac? How do you delete apps from it? What if you cannot delete an app from it? Top tips for managing and cleaning up Launchpad and restoring its health.

Launchpad is an OS X utility that provides an iOS-like interface for apps. When an ap is installed an icon is added to the Launchpad screen and this makes it easy to find and start apps. Just press the hotkey on the keyboard (usually F4) and then click an app icon.

It is very similar to the iPhone and iPad and you can drag icons around the screen to change the order of them and put your most used apps first.

Delete apps in Launchpad

You can delete apps by long clicking (click and hold) on an icon. They begin to wiggle like they do on iOS devices, and then you can click the cross icon to delete them.

Delete apps in OS X using Launchpad

If only it were that simple.

Launchpad icons can't be deleted

If you try clicking and holding an icon till they wiggle, you will see that some apps have a cross icon, but others don’t. Why is this?

Delete apps in Launchpad on the Apple Mac

It can be confusing for people and the reason is that it depends where you got the app from. If you download and install an app from the Mac App Store, it can be deleted in Launchpad by clicking and holding, then clicking the cross.

If you download an app outside of the Mac App Store, such as a website, the icon in Launchpad does not have a cross to delete it when you click and hold on it. It cannot be removed from Launchpad unless it came from the Mac App Store.

Related: How to  customise the Launchpad screen

For apps downloaded directly from websites, you can just drag the app to the Trash. That tends to leave behind files and preferences and other junk, so it is better to use AppCleaner or a similar tool. It searches for all files belonging to an app and deletes them.

In fact, you can use AppCleaner for everything and it is not worth the bother deleting from within Launchpad, or long clicking an app only to discover it wasn’t one from the Mac App Store and it can’t be removed that way.

So the mystery of why some apps have a cross and some don’t in Launchpad is solved.

Launchpad problems

Some people have found that there are one of more icons in Launchpad that cannot be deleted, but the app has been deleted from the Applications folder. It is like a rogue icon that should have been removed with the app, but was forgotten about.

The best way to clean up Launchpad is to reset it. Go to the Applications/Utilities folder and open Terminal. At the command prompt enter:

defaults write ResetLaunchPad -bool true

killall Dock

That should clear icons that shouldn't be there.



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