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How to reset the Launchpad on macOS

The Launchpad is a convenient way to access apps on macOS but it’s not the only way. In fact, you can open apps from both Finder and Spotlight. If you like using Launchpad to open apps though, it is an essential app for you. If you’re running into problems with it, a quick fix is to reset the Launchpad. Here’s how.

Reset the Launchpad

Before we proceed, you should know that resetting the Launchpad will remove all non-stock apps from it. It will not uninstall those apps so you will be able to add them back later. What you will lose is the layout of the Launchpad i.e., folders you’ve created etc.

Open Terminal and run the following command. Tap Enter and the Launchpad will be reset.

defaults write com.apple.dock ResetLaunchPad -bool true

killall Dock

When you open Launchpad, it will be reset to its default layout.

Adding apps back

Normally, when you install an app, it’s automatically added to the Applications folder and all apps in the Application folder show up in Launchpad (occasionally they do not).

After you reset the Launchpad, you will have to add the apps back to it. To do that, open Finder and navigate to the Applications folder. Select the apps that you want to add back to the Launchpad. You can select them one by one, or select multiple apps by holding down the Command key.

With the apps selected, drag & drop them on to the Launchpad icon on the Dock. The app will be added back to the Launchpad. You can now arrange them into folders and spread them across different pages.

Resetting Launchpad can help fix smaller macOS problems but if you’re Mac has a system wide problem e.g., apps failing to open from the Applications folder or from Spotlight, resetting Launchpad isn’t going to do much to fix it.

If app icons that appear in the Launchpad are corrupted or you’re unable to open apps from Launchpad, a reset may fix the problem. It might also help in the event Launchpad refuses to open, opens too slowly, the search doesn’t work, or it won’t remember your app arrangement.

When you reset the Launchpad, you basically delete its database which stores the apps that have been added to it, and their arrangement. In the absence of the database, the default layout of the Launchpad is used and when you add apps to it, you’re basically adding to its database.

This works on macOS Catalina.

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