More on Lion’s Launchpad

Launchpad thinks Word is DiskWarrior

Launchpad thinks Word is DiskWarrior

In yesterday's "First Impressions" report on Lion, I complained that Launchpad was unusable because it grabbed every single executable program on my machine, and that there was no way to get rid of them.

It turns out, it's not as bad as I thought, but it's also worse.

Losing the Windows Apps

First off, there is a way to make Launchpad ignore the Windows executables. If I go into the virtual machine configuration settings and tell it not to share Windows applications with Mac, then Launchpad ignores all the Windows apps.

Great! Launchpad becomes somewhat usable at this point.

Grouping and Rearranging Launchpad Icons

I also discovered that it's possible to create groups of applications, by simply dragging one app on top of another. That creates the group, then you can drag additional apps on there to add them to the group. So I can group related apps together, or I can take my infrequently used apps and tuck them away in a group, so that they're not taking up premium Launchpad space.

There's apparently a limit on the number of apps you can put in a group. I didn't count; I think was somewhere around 10 or 12. Once you reach that limit, then the next icon you try to drag to that group just won't go into it. The drag will fail, with no user feedback to let you know why it failed.

And I discovered that it's possible to drag apps from one screen to another, or from one location to another location on the same screen. So I can put my most frequently used apps on the first screen, then my less-frequently-used apps on the next screen, and then my never-used and almost-never-used apps on succeeding screens.

I have an iPhone. I should have known right away that the Launchpad icons would be draggable and groupable, just like on my iPhone.

Great! I can dig it! It seems like Launchpad might be useful after all, and I use it to replace some of my other methods of getting to my favorite apps. I don't have to keep them all in the dock, or use FruitMenu to stick them under the Apple menu, or add them to my Finder sidebars. I can just use Launchpad. It's fast, and very easy to use to launch programs.

Launchpad Confusion

But.... but.... when I started dragging my Launchpad icons around to get them organized to my liking, Launchpad seemed to get confused. Take a look at the screenshot:

Launchpad is confused

Launchpad is confused

The Microsoft Word icon is clearly labeled "DiskWarrior." I think that's the DNS Updater icon that's labeled "Microsoft Word." Then the Firefox icon has the DynDNS Updater label. Launchpad thinks that Skype is named "Calculator." I think that's Google Earth that has the Skype icon at the far right in the top row. Then Windows Media Player is labeled Firefox 5, Google Chrome become WMV Player, iBank is Google Chrome, ICOMaker is iBank. I'm not sure what icon that is with the XMarks for Safari label.

Perhaps a restart will fix this confusion. I hope so.

Deleting Apps from Launchpad Deletes Them From Your Computer

And finally, it's apparently possible to remove an application from Launchpad altogether — if the app was downloaded from the App store. You simply hold your pointer down on one of the icons until they start vibrating (or press the option key), and any app from the App Store has a little X next to it that you can click to remove it from Launchpad.

The result of this action will probably catch a few people unaware. When you delete an application from Launchpad, it removes the application from your computer completely. Don't panic, though: If you want it back, you can download it again from the App Store.

What was Apple thinking? Maybe you want to keep the app on your computer, but you just don't want it to appear in Launchpad. There should be a way to do that.

Some people will probably click the X to remove apps from Launchpad, not realizing that they're removing the app from their computer. Then, sometime when they don't have Internet, they'll need that application. They'll need it very badly. And it'll be gone.


  1. Go here to control what appears in Launchpad:

    I hated launchpad when I first tried to use it. I started using it when Safari became impossible to quit when launched from the dock. Now I use launchpad like a big dock – its only drawback is you have to open it from the dock! Note to the geniuses at Macintosh: build a hotspot on the desktop that opens a combination of dock/launchpad. That’s okay, you don’t have to pay me for that duh-uh suggestion.

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