How to Reset Mac OS’ LaunchPad

The video version of this article

If you’re installing or uninstalling apps a lot in Launchpad, you may find that apps get rearranged constantly and mixed up.  That or maybe Launchpad is just malfunctioning, and you need to reset it.  To fix this, you’ll need to open your Applications Folder, go to “Utilities”, and then open Terminal.  I’ve got the command in the description below, but if you want to type it out, type in the following.

defaults write ResetLaunchPad -bool true && killall Dock

You should see the background go black and the dock reappear if you don’t have it hidden. Now when you open Launchpad again, the first page will be all the Apple and built-in apps, with the rest of the pages being all the other apps you’ve installed on your machine.  Your other apps are also supposed to be organized alphabetically automatically, but I had inconsistent results with that in my testing. This command will first go to the Dock preference file and tell it to run the built-in command to reset the Launchpad to its default settings since Launchpad is partially tied to the Dock.  Once it’s done that, it tells the machine to kill the Dock’s process, which will cause it to restart.  Keep in mind that any custom folders or pages you had setup will need to be recreated. 

This will not change the number of rows and columns in LaunchPad if you’ve customized them but running the reset command will nicely bring all the apps scattered across those screens into a smaller subset.  If you want to change the number of rows and columns back to their default numbers run the following commands, first for rows then columns

defaults write springboard-rows -int 5
defaults write springboard-columns -int 7

These commands will reset the rows back to their default 5 and columns back to 7, though you can change the number on the end to be whatever else you like.  Hitting enter will set the setting, then running killall Dock will put the settings into practice.

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