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Launchpad as seen in OS X El Capitan.
1.0 / September 9, 2014
Launchpad is an application launcher developed by Apple Inc., and introduced in Mac OS X Lion. A labeled icon represents each application listed in Launchpad. The user starts an application by single-clicking its icon. Launchpad's fullscreen graphical user interface provides an alternative way to start applications in macOS, compared with other options such as the Dock (toolbar launcher), Finder (file manager), or Spotlight (desktop search).
Initially, the Launchpad screen is populated with the computer programs listed in the "Applications" folder in macOS. The user can add application icons to Launchpad. The user can also remove an application's icon, but the application itself might not be deleted if it was not originally downloaded from the Mac App Store. Apps can be arranged in named folders much like iOS. The user can then remove apps downloaded from the Mac App Store. In Mac OS X Lion, Launchpad had eight icons per row; this was changed[why?] in OS X Mountain Lion to seven icons per row.However, with proper root permission, by adjusting some settings users can change the number of icon rows and columns in launchpad.
Since Mac OS X Lion, the function key F4 is a keyboard shortcut to Launchpad. If enabled, Apple's gesture recognition software interprets a thumb-and-three-finger pinch on a touchpad as a command to open Launchpad.
In OS X Mavericks, Launchpad's background became a blurred version of the user's desktop background, and folders departed from the "linen" texture underlay, replaced with a darker translucent background (part of the move away from skeuomorphism).
As of OS X Yosemite, folders in Launchpad now closely resemble those of iOS; rounded translucent squares with a 3x3 icon grid preview (of the contained applications) when closed, expanding into larger rectangular variants when opened. Furthermore, folders can now be paginated to accommodate more applications.
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-  Mac Basics: Launchpad is the fast way to find and open your apps at Apple.com
- WinLaunch—Launchpad alternative for Windows
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