How to reset OS X Launchpad

To return to my ‘how to disable’ series, here’s something I had to do recently on a mac to fix an issue where Launchpad was not displaying Apps correctly.

For those of you who are not sure what Launchpad is, Apple have documented this very well here. Essentially it is a per-user navigational system for each user to categorise and group their apps into their own logical order.

Launchpad is not in fact a completely separate application and is in part related to the OS X Dock. Therefore, to reset Launchpad I needed to troubleshoot the Dock application.

The Dock maintains some databases that determine which Apps are displayed in Launchpad. If the Dock databases are not functioning correctly, or become corrupt, Launchpad will not display newly added Apps or existing Apps correctly.

There is a simple fix to this involving forcing the Dock to rebuild the Launchpad databases and thus encourages the Dock to recreate the default Launchpad setting of displaying all Apps in /Applications.

To reset Launchpad, all you need to do is enter one line of command in the Terminal application (located in /Applications/Utilities/) as shown below:

defaults write com.apple.dock ResetLaunchPad -bool true;killall Finder

Your /Applications folder should now be repopulated in Launchpad by showing you all the preinstalled Apps on the first page, followed by additionally installed Apps.

Please note that this is a per user setting and will destroy any customised folders you have created in Launchpad. All /Applications Apps are now displayed as Apple intended Launchpad to display them.

You just need to re-drag all your Apps on top of each other to recreate your customised Launchpad folders.

To tell Launchpad at next login to keep your settings and not keep resetting itself, just enter the following command:

defaults write com.apple.dock ResetLaunchPad -bool false;killall Finder

Disclaimer:

While the author has taken care to provide our readers with accurate information, please use your discretion before acting upon information based on the blog post. Amsys will not compensate you in any way whatsoever if you ever happen to suffer a loss/inconvenience/damage because of/while making use of information in this blog.

This feature has been tested using OS X v10.8.5 which was the latest Mac OS release at the time of writing.

2 Replies to "How to reset OS X Launchpad"

  • Nick

    Nearly right, except the two commands should be:

    defaults write com.apple.dock ResetLaunchPad -bool true;killall Dock

    and

    defaults write com.apple.dock ResetLaunchPad -bool false;killall Dock

    doing ‘killall Finder’ isn’t sufficient for the Launchpad to repopulate immediately, because Finder has nothing to do with Launchpad – but as you say the *Dock* does.

  • You are correct Nick that you can kill the Dock process independently.

    From personal experience with 10.8 i found that i sometimes had to kill the Finder for Launchpad to reload fully which is why i recommended this solution.

    You could certainly try just killing the Dock process first, then kill the Finder if required.

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